Making sure all our brewing equipment is clean and sanitized before using is important. If we don’t do this important step in the brewing process, then things can go bad. So can you use bleach to sanitize brewing equipment?
All equipment should be cleaned first to make sure there is no visible dirt or dust. Then each piece of equipment is sanitized before it is used with an appropriate sanitizing solution. I am not sure that bleach makes the appropriate solution to sanitize the brewing kit. Or does it?
Can You Use Bleach To Sanitize Brewing Equipment?
Yes it is possible to use bleach to sanitize the brewing kit, as long as it is used in the right way. Using bleach mixed into water can be a sanitizer. However it will need to be thoroughly rinsed before using, as it could taint the beer. Having said that, there is a way that a bleach solution can be a no rinse sanitizer, read on to find out more.
I would never have even thought to use a bleach solution to sanitize my brewing equipment. Mainly because I don’t want my beer to taste of bleach. But there is a way to do it without it contaminating our precious brew.
WARNING: Never add vinegar to bleach, NEVER.
Is Diluted Bleach A Good Sanitizer For Brewing?
Bleach and water does make a good cleaning solution in theory. However bleach apparently does not kill bacteria.
I am no scientist, so how do I know this?
By chance I came across an interview with Charlie Talley, who is the man behind the sanitizing product Star San. A popular product used by many homebrewers.
Back to the bleach, so as I said bleach doesn’t kill bacteria, that is until the PH level is down to 8.
So how do we get the PH level down to 8?
This is the solution that will get the PH level to 8 and become a great no rinse sanitizer.
- First fill a container with 5 gallons of water.
- Second add 1oz of bleach to the water.
- Third add 1oz of white vinegar.
Note: Again never add vinegar to bleach, start with the water, add the bleach and then the vinegar.
Also stick to the amounts set above, never be tempted to add more vinegar than stated. Too much vinegar could make gas. As will bleach and vinegar mixed together, which you must never do.
According to Charlie this 5 gallon water, 1oz bleach and 1oz vinegar (always in that order) solution will be as good as any other sanitizer, and there is no need to rinse.
It seems obvious, but don’t use a scented bleach. Just the cheapest thin bleach available in the store.
So bleach can be used for effectively sanitizing brewing equipment.
Using A Sanitizing Product For Brewing
A product such as Star San is ideal for sanitizing brewing equipment. After all it was made for the job.
Although it wasn’t, initially it was made for the farming industry. However Charlie introduced it into the home brew scene back in the early nineties.
It has now become the go to sanitizer for many home brewers. Therefore it makes sense to use a product that will sanitize your brewing equipment.
No need to mix a combination of chemicals that if used wrongly can be dangerous.
Star San is not the only sanitizer available, I just use this as an example because the man behind it was the source of the information for this post.
Other sanitizers include VWP Cleaner Steriliser and Iodophor Sanitizer, however there are plenty on the market.
I would recommend using a product sanitizer, such as Star San or Iodophor to sanitize your brewing equipment.
Why mess around making up your own solution. I guess it may workout cheaper, however a good sanitizer can go a long way. They aren’t that expensive either, and bleach used wrongly can be dangerous.
However if you decide to go down the route of using bleach. It only kills germs when you get the PH level to 8.
This is done by starting with 5 gallons of water, then adding 1oz of bleach and then 1oz of white vinegar. It only needs 30 seconds contact to do the job (according to Charlie Talley).
My advice is to stick to the products produced for sanitizing.
WARNING: Never mix vinegar and bleach, it produces gas.
Charlie Talley of 5 Star Chemicals has worked in the chemical industry since the late 1960’s. He has developed many products, including Star San.
For a full understanding of the subject in this post I recommend listening to the interview I found at Podbay. Charlie discusses sanitizing with bleach and Star San.