Sanitizing Bottles What do you use (Poll)

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What do you use Star San or SO2


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winemaker81

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maybe it’s me—- but i’ve never noticed this mysterious bottle shock i always read about.
Bottle shock is real, but it doesn't happen all the time, maybe 25% in my experience. Enough that I don't touch bottles for a few months. But that's a good idea, in general.

Cleanliness isn't taken lightly but also isn't taken to the extremes we are taught to do.
I used to know a dozen or so winery owners in the Finger Lakes of NY. More than a few laughed at the extremes home winemakers went to, in various areas. It's easy to take what we're told at face value. I did that, and had to unlearn a lot of things over the years. This is why I try to explain why I do things, so others can make informed decisions.

Are you willing to make a few batches with no sanitization and document the results? I'm not.
I've been cleaning, sanitizing, and storing bottles, then doing nothing extra at bottling since ~1990. I've never had a bad bottle that can be attributed to anything beyond the cork, although I've had a few batches go bad. [If there is a lot of rain before harvest, enough that grapes are bursting on the vine and yellow jackets are feasting, DO NOT try to pick the good berries. There aren't any ...]

We all can make our own choice about the tradeoffs between safety and extra cost or time. We make the choices and live with any consequences.
Excellent point.
 

Ivywoods

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Star san, Kmeta, One step.
What is the difference?
Is Kmeta the same chemical compound as One step? I have one step. It says you don't need to rinse. I am assuming that it's safe to do it this way.
 

dralarms

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Star san, Kmeta, One step.
What is the difference?
Is Kmeta the same chemical compound as One step? I have one step. It says you don't need to rinse. I am assuming that it's safe to do it this way.
One step is a type of oxiclean. Kmeta is potassium metabisulfite. Stan San I’m not sure about what it actually it
 

Ivywoods

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Thank you dralarms! I've heard people say they will not use an oxiclean sanitizer. Does anyone know the reason ?
 

reeflections

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I've heard people say they will not use an oxiclean sanitizer. Does anyone know the reason ?
I have never used oxiclean but I was of the understanding that it is a cleaner - NOT a sanitizer. Star San and K-meta are sanitizers and not cleaners. Cleaning and sanitizing being 2 different operations.

I use PBW for cleaning and K-meta or Star San for sanitizing.
 

cmason1957

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Thank you dralarms! I've heard people say they will not use an oxiclean sanitizer. Does anyone know the reason ?
One Step is sold as both a cleaner and sanitizer. I have cognitive dissonance that says one product cannot do both of those tasks. I use oxyclean (Free of scents) for cleaning and then either KMeta or Star San for sanitizing.

Some folks don't like the "slimy" feel that oxyclean based cleaners leave on products.

Those folks who say I've never used Oxyclean, I use PBW might want to read up on the differences between PBW and Oxyclean. The active ingredient in PBW is 30% Sodium Metasilicate and the rest composed primarily of percarbonate (Oxyclean) and sodium bicarbonate.
 

reeflections

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Those folks who say I've never used Oxyclean, I use PBW might want to read up on the differences between PBW and Oxyclean. The active ingredient in PBW is 30% Sodium Metasilicate and the rest composed primarily of percarbonate (Oxyclean) and sodium bicarbonate.
I guess that's referring to me. I have nothing against Oxyclean - just never used it. I bought a jar of PBW a year ago and haven't used it up yet. Is Oxyclean cheaper? Better?
 

cmason1957

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I guess that's referring to me. I have nothing against Oxyclean - just never used it. I bought a jar of PBW a year ago and haven't used it up yet. Is Oxyclean cheaper? Better?
Oh sorry, no that wasn't directed at anyone in particular, your message wasn't displayed on my screen when I typed it up. Others have said the same thing and I just wanted to point that out.

Yes, Oxiclean is cheaper, by a lot. Costco Price is $20/nearly 12 lbs. PBW is $25/4lbs at labelpeelers. Maybe less expensive other places. PBW is the beer industry cleaner of choice, I will say that. Is it better, that I can't really say, having never used it. I do know Oxyclean (the scent-free type) does a great job cleaning anything I have ever needed to clean.

And no I don't work for Oxyclean or any other company that makes something like that. Software Developer, in case anyone wonders if there is a conflict of interest.
 

VinesnBines

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I'm not sure how many folks on the forum ever had a chance to work at a winery or even been exposed to the operation. Cleanliness isn't taken lightly but also isn't taken to the extremes we are taught to do. A T-bin that has been exposed to all the outside elements all summer long is simply hosed down then filled with either crushed grapes or pressed juice. The crusher and pressed are hosed down to remove any pulp, seeds or stem and that's it. As you said bottles, although they are always new in boxes, are just sent to the bottling line. Sometimes a little puff of nitrogen or argon is placed in the bottle to remove dust and some oxygen. I've been building and helping out at wineries for several years now and although I take a little more care in sanitation and cleanliness than they do I do keep it to a happy medium.
Exactly! I've only been a cellar rat - harvest helper for a couple days at two wineries but hosing down with water was the most cleaning that I observed. Picking lugs and t-bins had been power washed or hosed out; fermenters were hosed out; crushers were hosed off; grapes were not sorted before crushing (unless there was extra - free help); bottles taken from the box to bottling line.

My favorite story is when as part of a class exercise we crushed a few bunches of grapes to test pre-harvest; after testing we all tasted the fresh juice (eight people drank out of the same pitcher) and the vineyard manager/winemaker took the pitcher and poured the remaining juice into an active fermentation. At that pint I realized that wine is a preservative and active fermentation kills plenty of bad bugs. This was pre-COVID - not sure we would drink after each other now. Not sure if the winemaker would do anything differently.
 

winemaker81

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Star san, Kmeta, One step. What is the difference?
There are two purposes here: cleaning and sanitizing.

Cleaning is, well, cleaning -- removing visible and not-so-visible particles and residue from equipment.

Sanitizing is killing most of the yeast, bacteria, and the like.

BTW, sterilizing is killing all of the yeast, bacteria, and the like.

I have cognitive dissonance that says one product cannot do both of those tasks.
H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) is a sterilizing agent, and Oxyclean produces H2O2 when dissolved. It makes sense to use OneStep or Oxyclean for both cleaning and sanitizing. HOWEVER -- the H2O2 concentration matters, e.g., this is why standard 3% H2O2 can't be used to sterilize COVID-19, it can't guarantee 100% removal. [I don't know if 3% H2O2 is a good enough sanitizing agent for wine making, and am not recommending it without further investigation.]

My understanding is that OneStep, if reconstituted according to directions (1 Tbsp in 1 gallon water), will sanitize. However, I have no idea what concentration of Oxyclean is required to achieve the same effect. That needs to be investigated.

I racked a bunch of small containers yesterday -- before starting I made a gallon of OneStep and ran it through my wine pump. I could see discoloration, so I pumped that gallon from container to container. The first time through wiped out all discoloration in the pump.

It appears I did not clean the pump as well as I should have. My new process is to pump a gallon of OneStep through the pump, at least once, before use. And to pump OneStep through it again before putting it away. During pumping I sprayed the inside of all primary fermenters -- one touch and discoloration wiped away.

OneStep is strong. My son (chemical engineer) looked at it, said it's essentially industrial grade H2O2. He advised washing it off if it gets on your skin. It's not going to burn like acid, but he said long term exposure may not be a good thing, so better safe than sorry. His job includes working in a testing lab, so he's very cautious with any and all chemicals.
 

CDrew

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Star san, Kmeta, One step.
What is the difference?
Is Kmeta the same chemical compound as One step? I have one step. It says you don't need to rinse. I am assuming that it's safe to do it this way.

OxiClean is an excellent cleaner and you can make it even more similar to PBW by adding about 1/3 by volume of TSP/90. But plain OxiClean (Free) is great on it's own. One step is the same percarbonate chemical as OxiClean. Neither are sanitizers. And, One Step no longer says it is a sanitizer. Back in the day, it did. But it never was a true sanitizer.

I think the reason that Oxiclean feels slippery, is that as an alkaline cleaner, it forms a soap on contact with the oils of your skin. And,I've never found it hard to rinse off of equipment.

Sanitizers only work after the surfaces are clean. StarSan is mostly phosphoric acid and works by lowering the pH below where most bacteria can survive.
 

winemaker81

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According to the US FDA, a product containing 7.5% H2O2 is a sterilizing agent. Search for "peroxide" on the page. According to the vendor docs, 30 minute exposure is required for high level disinfection. Sterilization takes a lot longer, but we're sanitizing, not sterilizing.

We should question how ALL sanitizing products are supposed to be used.

I've been rinsing equipment in K-meta water for decades, shaking it off, and using it. However, I read recently that the water isn't the sanitizing agent, it's the SO2 vapor. So -- like most home winemakers -- I've been doing it wrong. We should probably rinse the equipment and then let it set to allow the residual K-meta water vaporize. For how long? I have no idea [yet].

This requires research, so we're working from facts, and not blogs and other hearsay.

This discussion has reinforced my belief that the best first step to sanitizing is to put all equipment away clean. If there's nothing to grow on, microbial life has a much lesser chance of being present, so all sanitizing methods will work better.
 

cmason1957

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I found this article from Winemaker mag, which is very good reading, not a technical journal, but very technical minded. It talks about both cleaning and sanitizing. Cleaning is basically what has been said above PBW, OxyClean same base, PBW is stronger than Oxyclean. Chlorine is also mentioned, primarily for glass and then rinsed very, very, very, very well.

Sanitizing:
In stronger doses, potassium metabisulfite works well to sanitize your equipment, with no negative consequences. Make a solution of 8 teaspoons dry measure of potassium metabisulfite added to 1 gallon (4 liters) of warm water. Rinse your equipment in this solution for about 5 minutes, and let drip dry. {/QUOTE]

Keep it Clean - WineMakerMag.com


I go with 2 Tablespoons + 1 tablespoon of Acid per gallon. That's a whole nother area of discussion and opinions.
 

TurkeyHollow

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When friends and family save bottles to be filled, sometimes they're not as clean as they would be if they would have been rinsed as soon as they were emptied. I found this article awhile back that can save you money on PBW: Super-charge your Oxiclean – Bertus Brewery . Sometimes I use this to get all the heavy material off the bottles or carboys. I ALWAYS follow up with cleaning them before sanitizing. On the wine side, after cleaning, I'll sanitize everything (except my stainless) with SO2 then let dry until I'm ready to use again. I'll sanitize once again just before use. Maybe a little overkill but I would hate to lose a batch of wine because I didn't spend the extra 5 minutes.
 

Bossbaby

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When friends and family save bottles to be filled, sometimes they're not as clean as they would be if they would have been rinsed as soon as they were emptied. I found this article awhile back that can save you money on PBW: Super-charge your Oxiclean – Bertus Brewery . Sometimes I use this to get all the heavy material off the bottles or carboys. I ALWAYS follow up with cleaning them before sanitizing. On the wine side, after cleaning, I'll sanitize everything (except my stainless) with SO2 then let dry until I'm ready to use again. I'll sanitize once again just before use. Maybe a little overkill but I would hate to lose a batch of wine because I didn't spend the extra 5 minutes.
what does SO2 do to stainless ??
 

Old Corker

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I use Oxyclean when I have a heavy cleaning job. Like a Craigs List carboy or bottles from friends. Also use it when I’m out of One Step. After reading all of this I’m wondering why I don’t just use it for all cleaning jobs. I may have just evolved again.
 

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