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keepitlow
12-15-2011, 04:49 PM
Is it normal to get black mold in the airlock? I'm using this type:

http://candlewineproject.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/airlock.jpg

I was going to trash the moldy locks. I don't see any way to get in the tubes to clean them out well.

YogiBearMead726
12-15-2011, 05:20 PM
It happens from time to time. Some people use a neutral spirit like vodka or everclear with a bit of oil floating on top to prevent/slow down the evaporation, and the spirits do a good job of staying pretty mold-free. Otherwise, the best solution is to regularly change the water and clean the airlock.

Hope that helps! :)

Duracell
12-15-2011, 05:33 PM
I use Starsan in mine, I always have them in Starsan before I put them in the bung anyway. I believe I've seen a pipe cleaner looking device to clean those S airlocks but I don't own any of them so I've never used it. IMO throw them out, airlocks are cheap.

web Search airlock brush and you'll get about 5 good hits right off the top.

Lawpaw
12-15-2011, 05:43 PM
I use Starsan in mine, I always have them in Starsan before I put them in the bung anyway. I believe I've seen a pipe cleaner looking device to clean those S airlocks but I don't own any of them so I've never used it. IMO throw them out, airlocks are cheap.

web Search airlock brush and you'll get about 5 good hits right off the top.

I've used Kmeta. The problem with star San and Kmeta is that they'll lose their effectiveness almost immediately. Vodka won't, but you don't want to suck it in the carboy accidentally.

YogiBearMead726
12-15-2011, 06:27 PM
<snip>...Vodka won't, but you don't want to suck it in the carboy accidentally.

I dunno about you, but a few mL of alcohol sounds better to me than a few mL of sanitizer. Just sayin'. ;)

Braxton
12-15-2011, 06:43 PM
I do have some mold problems with those. It usually happens when there is some foam from the brew that gets into the airlock. That's why I've switched to the other type of airlock (three-piece) for primary fermentations. They dry out much quicker, though, so I use the bubbler style for secondary fermentations and long aging.

Chevette Girl
12-15-2011, 09:17 PM
I've used a dollar store pipecleaner to get scunge out of the bottom of the S-type airlocks. Oddly enough I've only had one of those get black slime in it, the rest of the airlocks I've had go fuzzy, it's been the three-piecers. Oh, and a handy hint to keep them from evaporating? I put a piece of plastic wrap under the cap. Works with both types, recommended against if you've got a vigorous fermentation though. And since I started doing that I haven't had any go fuzzy either, I guess maybe it keeps the sulphites in? (I fill mine with my sanitizing solution)

skunkboy
12-15-2011, 11:21 PM
I never had a problem like this until this fall, and then I started to use vodka in my airlocks, which means that I have to fill them more often, but no more mold...

jlerner
12-16-2011, 03:47 PM
Some people use glycerin in the airlock - it will not evaporate as quickly as vodka, though I don't know if it will inhibit mold.

When foam reaches my airlock, I just replace it with a clean/sanitized one. Have not had any mold problems yet.