Anything that comes in contact with your beer or wine must be both clean and sterile. This would include fermenting vessels, all equipment, hoses, bottles, etc. This is an easy task but must be done at each stage of your brewing process.
To clean your fermentor and other equipment, place about two inches of warm/hot tap water into the fermentor and add about 1/2 tsp. of either a chlorinated cleaner or PBW. Thoroughly wash all of the equipment being used. If using a chlorinated cleaner rinse all equipment well with clear water. Your equipment is now clean but it still must be sterilized.
To create your sterilizing solution, pour a little less than 4 liters of warm tap water and 50g of Sodium Metabisulphite or Potassium Metabisulphite into a cleaned and rinsed 4 litre container with a tight fitting lid. This type of container is easier to pour and allows you to easily drop your thermometer and hydrometer into the solution for sterilizing. Mix the Metabisulphite and water well. Be careful not to breathe the sulphur dioxide vapours and be sure to keep children and pets away from this container. Always keep this container tightly sealed.
For winemakers, pour about half of the sterilizing solution you first made into your fermenter. Move the bucket around to coat all interior surfaces with the sulphite solution. Pour the solution back into the storage container. This solution can be re-used up to about four times or until the sulphite smell has disappeared. Once the smell has disappeared this solution is no longer effective and must be thrown out.
Take a paper towel, wet it in the sulphite sterilizing solution and wipe the inside of the bucket cover. Rinse with clear water. Place the sterilized bucket cover face up on the counter.
In turn, take the other equipment you previously cleaned, dip them into the sulphite solution, rinse and lay on the already sterilized bucket cover. Now all the equipment you need to start is clean and sterilized.
If you are making beer and boiling the water, the boiling process will acutally help sterilize the equipment being used. If you are not boiling, We recommend using a sterilizer like Oxy-San or Iodophor.
To sanitize using Iodophor, add 1 tablespoon to 5 gallons of water. I usually add this in my primary fermentor. Iodophor will sanitize in 10 minutes using this amount and does not need to be rinsed but will leave an orangeish hue to your equipment if not.
“Oxy-San™ Sanitizer” is a propietary, eco-friendly, non toxic, biodegradable, sterilizer. It is 3 times stronger than sulphite, but contains no sulphites, soaps or phosphates. Dissolve 1 tbsp. (15g) in 4 liters of hot water. Rinse your equipment with the Oxy-San™ solution and empty out the excess solution. There is no need to rinse your equipment as the residue contains brewing nutrients. This sanitizer can be used for wine, beer, or even your cheese making.
Remember that you can clean your equipment in advance but you cannot sterilize in advance. You must sterilize your equipment at the time you are going to use it.
After you have cleaned and sanitized your equipment, start making your hand crafted beverage or food.