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Cleaners, sanitizers and sterilizers... Clarification please

Hi all.

Well, just recently got a couple of kegs sorted and had a couple of kegs down for our local pc gaming group LAN. Went well and the kegs were a big hit.

I intended to go to the LHBS and score some starsan for the sanitizing part of the process.Unfortunately there was none left, and the owner said his suppliers are not importing it any more,and he'd personally hardly sold any,and said most homebrewers are not familiar with the product.This left me a tad dumbfounded as I thought it was common knowledge among the homebrewing community that starsan is THE best product available.

So this left me in the position of finding alternatives to starsan.

Ive read and read, and read some more,to spare you all from the inevitable questions, but I do need your input please.

I gather essentials are divided into the "cleaning" group, and the "sanitizing" group..

The LHBS tells me just to use the  Coppertun/Brewcraft ECD Cold Water Cleaner/Detergent Sachet 25g, then the 25gram coppertun no rinse steriliser, both at $1.50 each. Now aside from this being too expensive for my liking, I dont get it,its saying the "no rinse steriliser" is basically sodium percarbonate based.Which,from what ive gathered, is generally classified as a cleaning agent, rather than a sterilizer or sanitiser although i gather it has certain sanitizing qualities..

If this is the case why not just use nappysan, or a similar oxyclean type product and leave it at that?

My dairy farming buddy has access to the product they use to keep the lines clean in the milking sheds, which ive read is ok (of course we have a farmlands too), also the local Specialist Cleaning Services has this:


So to avoid a credit card purchase(as i dont have a credit card) and try to acquire something local that i can pay cash for, whats the best way to go ?

I know this has probably been covered a trillion times on all the homebrew sites, but ive read soo much info my tiny brain is frazzled ^^

Our LHBS also has 2 of the fivestar PBW tins there, of which he said hes never sold one, and theyve been there so long he doesnt even know what price was on them!!

Ive been brewing for a year now, and never had an infection (although the thought terrifies me lol) , i only wash and scrub out with hot water, and use bleach once every 3-4 brews per fermenter with a mega rinse out, same goes for my bottling.This is from at least 2 brews a week, all kits,moving towards specialty grains,eventually all grain.So weve done a HUGE amount really ,with no adverse effect from our semi blase cleaning n sanitizing program.

Can anyone help a numpty like me out please!!?   :D


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Any brand of sodium percarbonate (nappysan/oxyclean) from the supermarket for your cleaning and get yourself some starsan from here http://www.thebrewhouse.co.nz/webapps/category/88908/215726/51894

I agree with JackoNZ.  I use sodium percarbonate for a 20-30min soak & brush for cleaning and starsan for sterilizing.  Just make sure the sodium percarbonate product is unscented.  

Yup. Any Sodium Percarbonate product is good for cleaning. I think PBW is basically sodium percarbonate as well. Unscented homebrand type nappysan products are generally the cheapest way to get hold of Sodium Percarbonate for cleaning. Sodium Percarbonate does have sanitising qualities as well as good cleaning properties. Something in the compound makes Sodium Hydroxide in solution which is what is doing the sanitising. To sanitise with this stuff I think you would need to leave to soak for 24 hours or so though? Something like Starsan only needs a couple of minutes to do the sterilising as long as the vessel is basically clean and so is an easier to use option.

Both the dairy cleaner and the beer line cleaner sound to me like cleaners. Unless it is a "no rinse food grade sanitiser" I would try my hardest to find something like Starsan.

Having said that I know one of the local brewers here does not even bother with Sanitiser and turns out some great beer. 

I see your profile says you are in Palmy? Do you have any mates in Welly that could call into the Brewshop and grab Starsan? Otherwise give the Brewshop a call... they may do bank deposit and ship to you? Same with Brewers Coop in Auckland. The guys at those shops seem willing to work with people to figure it all out...

Good luck!

Clorox Oxy Magic (Sodium Percarbonate) from PackNSave is 33% active ingredient against 14% for NappySan so you only need half as much for only a $ extra.

StarSan rules, "Love the Foam". I always keep some mixed up in a spray bottle and spray the hell out of fermenter taps etc. I've bought StarSan from Tom before but got the same story last time about not being able to get it anymore so I got my last lot from Mike at Brewer's Coop. Next time my son goes to Welly he's going to pick up a couple of the larger bottles from there.

Ok.Thank you gentlemen, for your very prompt and comprehensive replies.

I like the sound of the Clorox Oxy Magic as im a stickler for bang for buck, thanks for that Pilgrim! 33% is kickass :)    Yeh Tom and Rueben are top blokes who do try and bend over backwards for all of their customers, however, nothing compares to the combined knowledge here. I will definately get in touch with Brewers Coop for a price including shipping. Everything ive read lauds starsan as a great product, and you guys have certainly helped with your advice.

Thanks MrC, I will follow that regime in futureand cheers Jacko and Ralph for all your input.

Very much appreciated


A couple of the homebrand plain label nappy sans are at about 33% sod. percarb too. The info is on the label if you search for it. I just pick which ever of the home brand ones is going for cheapest...

Fantastic Ralph , cheers!

How far does a bottle of starsan go? Cause Ive honestly had this 750ml bottle of iodophor coming on a year now, and its still half full!

Check out the sodium percarbonate on trademe. It's sold in 4.5 kg bags. They call it Eco-Friendly Pure Oxygen Cleaner. I don't know how the price stacks up with other brands but it's convenient for me.

$31 for 4.5kg I think.


Can anyone clarify which cleaners / sanitisers are or are not stainless steel friendly?

I know bleach will rust stainless and I read that long exsposer of iodophor will corrode as well. I have never had a problem with sodium percarbonate.

I can only tell you what IS good with stainless. I use caustic soda for cleaning. 100g/litre for cleaning out kegs which had mould growing inside, 25g/litre for normal cleaning. Last time I needed some, I got it from Mitre 10, labelled "Drain Unblocker" "caustic soda" "100% Sodium Hydroxide". It is powerful stuff and you need to take care. For sterilizing, I use peracetic acid which I got from my local brewery, 5ml/litre with 10 minutes contact then drain.No rinse required after the sterilizer. Copious rinsing after the caustic though.

(Caustic is also great for cleaning oven shelves with years of burnt on food.


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