Hard Cider Tip #8: Bottle Cleaning

One of the most critical processes in making hard cider is cleaning and sanitizing. It’s the easiest way to make a bad batch of hard cider and ruin the best hard cider recipe. Officially, this is a two-step process. There are cleansers and there are sanitizers on the market. Why not one product to do it all? Partly because you must pass specific standards to label a product as a sanitizer, which costs a fair amount of money.

One Step is a no rinse cleanser developed specifically for home fermenters. It doesn’t foam, it doesn’t need rinsing, and it actually has some sanitizing characteristics. However, it can’t be called a sanitizer or marketed as one. That doesn’t mean I haven’t successfully used it for cleaning and sanitizing. However, I have adapted my cleansing and sanitizing practices to be more inline with the official classifications. I use One Step for cleaning, which it does phenomenally, and I currently use Star San for sanitizing (but that’s a future post).

One Step: No Rinse Cleanser For Cleaning Hard Cider Equipment
One Step: No Rinse Cleanser For Cleaning Hard Cider Equipment

For this post, I’m highlighting the cleansing process. Specifically, cleansing the bottles you intend to use for your hard cider. If you are like me, you hoard bottles for your hard cider. This means they’ve had cider, beer, or some other beverage in them. They are dirty and if you didn’t remember to rinse your bottles before they dried up inside, you need to clean them.

I’ve put together a short video clip walking you through the process for cleaning bottles for your next hard cider batch. Watch it below to get a feel for the cleaning process. It’s straightforward and can be duplicated for all your equipment. If you are cleaning bottles or carboys, a good brush is a must. Kegs, spoons, cups, fittings and other equipment can be cleaned with brushes or sponges. The most challenging can be tubing. I bought a 3 foot tubing brush for that.

Check out the following video for an overview of the cleaning process for hard cider bottles.

Cleaning Bottles for Hard Cider

If you have questions, need other tips, or want advice on making your own hard cider, check out other tips or you can purchase my book.

If you need some hard cider recipes or ideas for making your own hard cider, check out my recipes sections. As always, thanks for reading.

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