What is the difference between sanitization, sterilization and cleaning?

Often times people wonder if these are the same when related to brewing. You want to make sure all your equipment is clean and sanitized but what exactly are you doing and when?

So first off sterilization is the process of killing all living organisms on a surface, think like surgical instruments and stuff like that. This is not something that we use in brewing. When you are preparing your brewing equipment you will cleaning and sanitizing.

Alight so the first thing you are going to do when brewing is sanitization. This is a reduction or impairment of invasive, and or harmful pathogens, usually up to 99%.

This is what you want to do with your fermenter, bottles, and other equipment that you are going to use during the brewing process.

We always say that it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to sanitizing your equipment. So, sanitize anything and everything that you might even be considering using on your brew day or bottling day.

There is nothing worse than having an infected batch of beer! So, sanitize everything!

So now the next part of this cleaning. This is the act of removing unwanted substances, such as infective agents, dirt, and other contaminants from an item or environment. It is normally done as the first step for preventing cross-contamination.

The best time to clean your fermenter or bottles is right after you use them.

So after you bottle your beer you will want to clean out your fermenter right away. The best way to do this is first to give it a good rinse with warm water to make sure you get all the trub and all that junk out.

Make sure to run some water through your spigot and take it apart to rinse well.

Then I will usually get a paper towel or a soft cloth and make sure to wipe the inside really well to be sure that you are not leaving anything behind.

You can also you Brewery Wash. We sell the Craftmesiter Oxygen Brewery Wash which works great and I highly recommend that.

Now when it comes to bottles you will want to rinse these really well in warm water after you drink the beer that was in them.

Also, it never hurts to soak your bottles every so often in some brewery wash just to make sure there is nothing hanging out in there.