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effective way to clean (not sanitize, but clean) the LBK?

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I am sure that this question must have been asked thousands of times but is there a really effective method of cleaning the LBK?.

I just bottled a batch of fra'och last night I made from American Light to which I added some crystal malt and a tea made of 2 oz of heather tips boiled in a gallon of water (even before carbonation this tastes quite drinkable). I used a saison yeast I harvested from a a saison batch I bottled a few weeks ago. Anyway, the insides of my LBK were spotted with trub and I don't have a good sense whether to use the same kind of brush I use to clean my glass carboys on this plastic. My concern is that the brushes are likely to scratch the plastic and so encourage sites that are difficult if not impossible to sanitize. Is there some preferred method of cleaning the insides of LBKs that removes all traces of trub without in fact damaging the surface of the plastic? (I used the hose in my sink but I do think some more friction may really be necessary)... Thoughts? Thanks. 

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I use the Mr. Beer No-Rinse cleanser or Craftmeister oxygen wash. Either one will clean the keg. I use half to a whole pack of No-Rinse (depending on how soiled it is) and warm water. Add the packet of cleanser, fill the keg to the top with warm (not hot) water, stir it well to dissolve, and let it sit for an hour. Then rinse it out a few times. I know it's called "No-Rinse", but that's when using as a sanitizer. When cleaning, you'll obviously need to rinse the soils away. The Craftmeister is a stronger version of the No-Rinse and has added detergents. It's a great product for cleaning. Much better than Oxiclean. You could use a brush, just be very careful. I use a high pressure water nozzle here at the office to clean out the grime. It works well without scratching.

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I use Five Star PBW (powdered brewers wash). This stuff works insanely well at cleaning fermenting vessels. Just mix accordingly to the amount you need. I do as Josh said, fill the fermenter and then let it sit until all traces of trub or dried on Krausen are gone. If you're in a hurry, you can rub some of the more stubborn spots with a soft clean wash rag, but this really isn't necessary. Just a good soaking will do it. It's strong stuff: then all that is required is a thorough rinsing. Easy as... Well, brewing with Mr. Beer!

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Asked many times and answered many times.  The key to washing an LBK is the same key to brewing - patience.

 

NEVER use a brush, or an abrasive sponge or cloth.  The plastic will scratch and that's all she wrote.

 

Today I bottled 5 gallons from 2 LBKs.  As soon as my slimline is full, I take the LBK over to the sink and wash out the trub.  Then, I fill the LBK to the top with warm water and a few drops of unscented dish soap.  Then I bottle.  I then do the same with the second LBK.

 

After bottling I now have two LBKs full of warm water with a bit of soap in them.  I open each, stick in my hand with the sponge, and rub the krausen ring all the way around.  If it comes off, I move on to the next step.  If not, I fill it to the top again AND TURN IT UPSIDE DOWN in the sink and leave.

 

Next I empty the LBK, then take my sponge with a good amount of unscented dish soap on it and soap each and every inch of the LBK - methodically, starting at the bottom.  Then I put some water in, put the lid on, and shake.  Empty, repeat with water and shake.  I repeat until it rinses clean, then I remove the spigot and wash the inside of the spigot hole and the outside, rinse again, and then it's done (now I disassemble the spigot into two parts and clean it with a small bottle brush.

 

Rarely have I had to do an Oxiclean soak.

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I always turn mine upside down in the sink for a few hours. Just makes them easier to clean.

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I have always managed to get mine clean with a little soap and a soft sponge - with running warm water in just a few minutes. I take the spigot out first and clean it.  I test it 3 ways, hold it p to the light & look for debris , look inside and then smell it. This is one of the few cases where no beer smell is a good thing.

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I got 6 LBKs but only use 2 every 3 weeks. So I rotate them, My LBKs sit for 9 weeks, sans spigot(it's laying, disassembled, on a paper towel inside the LBK), between uses. No beer smell there

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I've always used unscented non-antibacterial ivory hand soap! Also I use face cloths nothing to abrasive to clean the inside of the LBK.Then just rinse really well and towel dry.

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After washing it out with soap and water, I take the left over sanitizer from bottling and give it a final rinse before letting it dry and putting it away.

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This is why the forum is so great. I never thought of filling it up with warm water and few drops of unscented dish soap and let it set. Granted, I have only cleaned an LBK like seven times. But still. 

 

I wipe down the inside with a sponge and warm water and dish soap. Then use my sprayer to clean out the inside until clear. The filling up method seems like it woiuld save time cleaning, and water. 

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It really doesn't matter what soap you use, how long you let it sit, or if its unscented or not

 

The real keys to washing your LBK is:

  • wash immediately after bottling
  • visually inspect to make sure all trub has been removed
  • don't use anything that can scratch
  • don't use scalding hot water
  • rinse, rinse, rinse then rinse 1 more time
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Don't agree. Scented soap can leave a scent in the plastic. And soaking removes most debris, and softens the rest.

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I just give it a quick rinse to get the bulk of the gunk out, then toss in a tablespoon of Oxyclean Free, fill up to the top with hot tap water (i.e. 120F or so), and walk away for an hour.  Take a soft rag to it, rinse out, done.

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Using scented soap once or twice when you have nothing else won't hurt anything as long as you thoroughly rinse whatever you're cleaning. But prolonged use of scented soaps can leave permanent scents in your LBK. Using any soap can leave a residue behind that will inhibit yeast performance unless you rinse several times, therefore, in my opinion, it's best to just not use soap at all.

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many thanks for all this advice- So, hot soak, soapy soak, soft cloth and rinse, rinse rinse...

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many thanks for all this advice- So, hot soak, soapy soak, soft cloth and rinse, rinse rinse...

 

 

No.  WARM SOAK.  Not hot.  Do not fill your LBK with hot tap water.  Why?

 

1) Hot water bakes flavors into plastic, whether they be beer flavors or soap flavors.  You don't want any flavors baked in.

 

2) Very hot water (depends what you set your water heater on) can deform the LBK.  Maybe 2 months ago a new brewer posted a picture of how his LBK deformed from doing exactly that.

 

Same for PET bottles.  Warm water.

 

For glass bottles, go as hot as you can.

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If you can let it set for a few days full that is the ticket.  I then dump about half of the solution out (non scented whatever) and shake the bejeepers outta it.  In most cases it then only requires a quick rub on some trouble spots, another shake, rinse, and voila.

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I've been using the same random dish soaps that my wife buys without consideration of scent for years.

 

I've found that if don't bake in the soap with hot water and I rinse, rinse, and re-rinse, then I don't have any issues with residual scents.

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