How to clean stainless steel brewing equipment?

How to clean stainless steel brewing equipment?

Stainless steel is the best material for making brewing equipment. Because stainless steel is corrosion-resistant, easy to weld, reasonably priced, and malleable. Because of its unique properties, stainless steel has become the material of choice for knowledgeable winemakers. Micet Group will trigger from the composition and characteristics of stainless steel to discuss cleaning and disinfection methods. We hope to provide tips for anyone who manufactures and repairs stainless steel equipment.

Is your brewing equipment rusty? Do you know how to properly clean stainless steel and other beer equipment? It is very difficult to keep the equipment clean, especially if you do not use stainless steel brewing equipment. Compared with other metal materials, stainless steel is easier to clean and very hygienic. Upgrading your brewing equipment to stainless steel can reduce maintenance requirements and get advanced fermentation technology. Fermentation tanks made of stainless steel are more conducive to heat dissipation. For many brewers who use second-hand equipment or rust-prone brewing equipment, the production time can be longer.

Some people’s stainless steel equipment began to rust, this is due to the surface protective chromium oxide problems. Scrubbing stainless steel cans with bleach will cause the protective coating to decompose, exposing the iron in the stainless steel to the air and forming rust.

The stainless steel brewing equipment and stainless steel fermentation tanks manufactured by Micet Group are of superior quality to other equipment on the market. The equipment we produce is powerful and easy to use. Because the equipment is made of high-quality stainless steel, it can be used for a long time. Our price is also very competitive. If you have an idea to buy stainless steel brewery equipment, you can contact us directly. Micet Group is looking forward to cooperating with you!


Passivated steel

What should you do if your brewing equipment starts to rust? Since the protective coating is removed and the iron is exposed, the only way to repair it is to fix the stainless steel by passivating it. In the passivation process, the stainless steel needs to be immersed in nitric acid, which helps to dissolve free iron and other contaminants on the metal surface. This process will allow the stainless steel to re-oxidized the chromium and provide a protective coating. The process of passivating steel usually takes up to 30 minutes. Many people choose to use nitric acid to clean stainless steel because it is a stronger protective layer.

Clean stainless steel brewing equipment

If you can’t use nitric acid to passivate stainless steel, what should you do? Cleaning the stainless steel will directly contact the bare metal. To clean stainless steel properly, you need to use an oxalic acid cleaner, don’t use steel wool, it will peel off the stainless steel metal. The best way to clean stainless steel is to use oxalic acid cleaners and non-metallic green or white scrubbing pads for scrubbing. Use a towel to scrub and dry the stainless steel. Keep it clean and dry. Oxygen will automatically passivate and re-form the chromium oxide coating.

Because stainless steel is passivated again every time it is cleaned. So, upgrading the brewing equipment to stainless steel is a good way to prevent rust and ensure the pure flavor of the beer. The most common material for brewing equipment is 304/316 stainless steel. Appropriate stainless steel has good corrosion resistance and is very easy to weld. Try not to use brewery equipment made of 303 stainless steel because it is difficult to weld and prone to cleaning problems.

Stainless steel brewing equipment is a nickel alloy, so as long as it is cleaned correctly, it will not rust. In some cases, you can identify rust by reddish-brown or pink. When you find rust earlier, use simple polishing to remove the rust. Deeper corrosion marks may appear in the fermenter, which can be challenging to handle.

Why not use bleach to clean stainless steel brewing equipment?

Although bleach is usually the cleaning method of choice for many people, bleach can be one of the worst disinfectants for the brewing industry that uses stainless steel. The bleaching agent is suitable for cleaning plastic or glass fermentation tanks. As just said, the bleach will peel off the stainless steel, and the heated bleach will deposit on the surface of the stainless steel container. Bleaching agents not only damage stainless steel but also cause calcium deposits on stainless steel.

Beer stone

One of the biggest problems faced by beer brewers is how to remove beer stones from aging tanks or barrels. Because the beer stone will slowly accumulate over time, it is difficult to remove it when you can find it. Beer stone is a kind of calcium oxalate dirt, it will appear together with hard water minerals and protein. If the beer stone is not removed, it will change the taste of the beer or shorten the shelf life. If you don’t clean the beer stone properly, it will cause the equipment surface to be unhygienic and even ruin the entire batch of beer.

How to clean the beer stone on the surface of the equipment?

If you want to clean the beer stone, please add a corrosive solution to the hot water first. It will neutralize the beer stone and remove the beer stone from stainless steel, glass, or plastic. Then, use phosphoric acid to disinfect the equipment after the lye is cleaned. This is to remove microorganisms from the equipment. Remember, you must make sure to remove all the beer stones, because microorganisms may hide in the gaps in the equipment.

How to prevent the formation of beer stones?

To prevent the formation of beer stones, first, need to use hot water to rinse the beer and yeast. Then use 1-2 ounces of phosphoric acid/nitric acid mixture per gallon. This mixture will remain in the device for approximately 30 minutes. In the third step, add a non-corrosive alkaline cleaner for another 30 minutes. Finally, use the ambient water temperature to rinse the equipment until the pH balance is neutral to complete the cleaning process. Normally, light deposits can be cleaned in a few minutes, but large deposits may take an hour or scrub vigorously in the jar with your hands. Some cans with heavy dirt accumulation can be soaked in the cans for several hours to make the beer fall off, and they can be removed by manual cleaning.

What are the commonly used cleaners for brewery equipment?

Commonly used brewery equipment cleaners include bleaching agents, caustic alkali, etc., depending on the brewing equipment of different materials, there are different choices.


Although bleach (potassium hypochlorite) is a trusted disinfection backup for home brewers who use plastic and glass fermentation tanks. However, it is a poor choice for stainless steel brewing equipment. The stainless steel brewing equipment is exposed to the bleach solution for a long time, especially the heated bleach solution, which will cause pits on the surface of the container.


Caustic alkali (sodium hydroxide) is an alkaline cleaner commonly used in commercial brewery cleaning-in-place (CIP) systems and is very effective in removing organic matter on stainless steel surfaces. However, caustic is a poor choice for household use. Sodium hydroxide comes in liquid and dry forms, both of which can cause severe skin burns, so sodium hydroxide is very dangerous. It is very difficult to store and use caustic properly in a home brewing environment.

There is another disadvantage of using caustic. Although caustic is effective for dissolving organic carbon-based compounds, it increases calcium-based deposits on stainless steel. In addition, caustic solutions must be used with care. Because of high concentration and prolonged contact, caustic alkali will damage the surface of stainless steel.


Some acids can be used for various stainless steel cleaning tasks. For example, phosphoric acid and hydrochloric acid are very effective in removing beer stone. They are generally used to neutralize the effects of corrosive cleaning solutions. Another advantage of using acid to clean stainless steel fermentation equipment is that the pH value of any residue on the surface of the container can be closer to the pH value of the incoming beer, thereby reducing the impact on the beer and the yeast in it. Food-grade acids are usually provided in liquid form and should be stored and used with care. Too high concentration and too long contact time will also damage the surface finish of stainless steel.


Recently, the use of iodophor for disinfection is very popular among homebrewers, which is a very good solution. Iodophor is mainly composed of iodine, phosphoric acid, and alcohol. Some iodophors do not contain phosphoric acid and are mainly used for cleaning acid-sensitive materials. Dilute the iodophor concentration to 12.5ppm, and the contact time is 2 minutes, which is enough to meet the needs of most home brewing. Iodophor can also disinfect more items by immersing and circulating the solution. Because sunlight will decompose iodophors and greatly reduce their effectiveness. Therefore, it is necessary to store the iodophor solution in a dark place.

These chemicals are available from various industrial and agricultural suppliers. When purchasing any of these chemicals (or similar chemicals), please request a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). OSHA requires the supplier to provide you with MSDS, but you usually still need to request it from the supplier. When you get the MSDS, please read it and make sure you understand it. Because most compounds, if handled improperly or abused, can be harmful to you and the environment.

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