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Thread: sanitizing question

  1. #1

    Default sanitizing question

    I have ok tap water where I live, and so decided to boil some to add Starsan to for sanitizing and wanted to know if others do this too, isn't that as good as using distilled water?
    And for those that do boil tap water for this purpose, how long do you boil it for?
    All thoughts/opinions appreciated.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by hepcat View Post
    I have ok tap water where I live, and so decided to boil some to add Starsan to for sanitizing and wanted to know if others do this too, isn't that as good as using distilled water?
    And for those that do boil tap water for this purpose, how long do you boil it for?
    All thoughts/opinions appreciated.
    For sanitizing purposes you don't need to bother boiling your water. Just mix fresh tap water with your sanitizing agent and you're off to the races. In quite a few places the tap water is even clean enough to brew with straight from the tap.
    Politicians and diapers need to be changed regularly, and for the same reason.

  3. #3
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    Since we're talking about sanitizing, how do people take care of the racking hoses? I mean what do you do with them after you've sanitized them?

    It takes that plastic forever to dry and I don't know about putting them in my dark pantry with moisture still on them, even if it is sanitizing solution.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sadie Lady View Post
    Since we're talking about sanitizing, how do people take care of the racking hoses? I mean what do you do with them after you've sanitized them?

    It takes that plastic forever to dry and I don't know about putting them in my dark pantry with moisture still on them, even if it is sanitizing solution.
    I usually spin half of mine in a circle to try to remove water/etc from the outside and inside, then spin the other half. Then let air dry the rest of the way on the counter for 24 hours...
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  5. #5
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    I shake the bejeesus out of my racking cane, and I usually twirl both ends of the hose, I figure that the sulphites in the solution I use will linger long enough for it to dry out. Haven't had fuzzies grow in a racking cane yet... I hang my hoses and my racking equipment on a pot lid holder that used to live on the kitchen wall and now lives on the side of my basement brewing cabinet so it's open to the air. I wish I could leave it upright so stuff drains, but I'd rather risk the horizontal hanging than having my bucket of clean equipment kicked over again. "Was that shattered plastic bit important?" "Oh, that was half of my auto-siphon. Not anymore."

    Maybe you could hang your hose over the pantry door until it's dry, before putting it away? I used to loop mine over the cupboard over the sink for a while so it could drain somewhere other than my floor.

    And hepcat, the stuff you're adding to the water to make your sanitizing solution should easily kill anything found in a municipal water supply within seconds of being mixed in.

    I think the reason they might want you to use distilled water (if it specifies that on the label) might be for pH reasons, municipal and well water tend to be alkaline to varying degrees (if memory serves, Ottawa water tends to be around pH 8 and my mom's well water was around 9) and distilled water tends to be slightly acidic (from dissolved carbon dioxide). Boiling it likely won't affect the pH. But I don't use the same stuff as you do so this is just a wild guess...
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  6. #6
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    Yes, hanging them over the door would work. If I got motivated enough, I could get some hooks and put them on one side of the pantry wall to hang other stuff on when it's dry.

    hepcat, i just use water out of the tap to mix my sanitizers in

  7. #7

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    OK, thanks everyone. I thought I saw someone knowledgeable on here say that the Starsan solution with distilled water lasts longer? So, good to know, plain tap water is ok. Is there a shelf life/max time to keep it once you mix it with tap water before it's not good any more?

    And I'm using store bought jugs of Spring water for my musts, but could probably use the tap water. The gallon jugs of Spring water are less than a dollar each, .79 cents I think.

    And the inside of my siphon hose and auto siphon never fully dry out before I use them again. I just rinse them thoroughly after using (and then of course, thoroughly wash/rinse/sanitize before using again after that) and hang them on a closet clothes rod (in a closet that is now my brew closet) and have not had any problems. They do drip a bit right after I've used them but not enough to be a problem.
    Last edited by hepcat; 03-28-2012 at 09:24 PM.

  8. #8
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    Tap water in most of North America is pretty high in pH (i.e. somewhat alkaline) and since the antimicrobial action of StarSan relies on organic acids bringing down the pH to somewhere below 3.0, if you mix it with tap water it may have a more limited shelf life, since the organic acids in it break down with exposure to oxygen. SO mixing the concentrate with tap water it may start out fine for sanitizing, but not work for very long.

    One rule of thumb is to use it only until it becomes cloudy, since once it clouds up the pH may have risen to the point where it no longer works as a sanitizer.
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  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by hepcat View Post
    Is there a shelf life/max time to keep it once you mix it with tap water before it's not good any more?
    a solution of Star San will remain effective for up to three to four weeks in a sealed container; it is effective as long as the pH is 3 or lower.
    It is safe for use on all surfaces, but use caution since it is an acid; contact with soft metals, rubber, and plastic should be kept to a minimum. Star San is environmentally friendly, biodegradable, and will not harm septic systems. (company website)

  10. #10

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    Good info thanks. It's easy enough to watch for cloudiness and to check the pH.

    So does boiling the tap water affect alkalinity at all? Lower it maybe?

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    http://www.basicbrewing.com/radio/radio.rss

    Check the one for date 3-29-07 : Interview with guy from Five Star Chemicals
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by skunkboy View Post
    http://www.basicbrewing.com/radio/radio.rss

    Check the one for date 3-29-07 : Interview with guy from Five Star Chemicals
    Good Find!!
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

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