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Cleaning Bottles With Oxyclean And Citric Acid


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#1 freshgrapes

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 12:14 PM

I am a home hobby winemaker and believe in re-using wine bottles, and prior to using the bottle brush I soak the bottles in hot water with a good dosage of OxyClean in it. I like the idea of using OxyClean since it is a relatively inexpensive cleaner (I buy the big container sold at Costco). The "dirty" bottles I refer to were rinsed after being emptied of wine and stored dry prior to cleaning. I can get three tubsfull done with the single application of Oxyclean(up to 5 cases of bottles). The problem is that the OxyClean solution is, and gets progressively more, slimey.

After an approximately 30 to 60-minute soak, I apply the bottle brush, hot rinse the outside of the bottles and then bottle blast them inside with hot tap water, but am afraid that some OxyClean residue will be left in the bottles. A winery owner mentioned offhand that in addition to the OxyClean I should use citric acid, but he did not explain the process. How is this done? Do I add the citric acid in with the OxyClean solution in the tub? If so, how much do I add?

I have some citric acid on order currently. I recently followed the process described above, and since I didn't have citric acid, I went ahead and mixed some ascorbic acid powder in with the Oxyclean solution, and that seemed to reduce the slimeyness enough to get a pretty good rinse out.

Or, should I Oxy-soak, brush, and bottle blast the bottles, and then injector rinse with a separate water/citric acid solution, prior to sanitizing the bottles? Whew, a long post but I wanted to paint a clear picture of my process. Thanks for any clarification on the appropriate procedure! Also, I would be glad to use a different cost-effective, more effective or less problematic detergent if you have a good recommendation for that.

#2 gregorio

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 01:23 PM

Use the citric as a rinse AFTER the oxyclean. It neutralizes it as percarbonates are basic.
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#3 Hammered

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 01:35 PM

I am a home hobby winemaker and believe in re-using wine bottles, and prior to using the bottle brush I soak the bottles in hot water with a good dosage of OxyClean in it. I like the idea of using OxyClean since it is a relatively inexpensive cleaner (I buy the big container sold at Costco). The "dirty" bottles I refer to were rinsed after being emptied of wine and stored dry prior to cleaning. I can get three tubsfull done with the single application of Oxyclean(up to 5 cases of bottles). The problem is that the OxyClean solution is, and gets progressively more, slimey.

After an approximately 30 to 60-minute soak, I apply the bottle brush, hot rinse the outside of the bottles and then bottle blast them inside with hot tap water, but am afraid that some OxyClean residue will be left in the bottles. A winery owner mentioned offhand that in addition to the OxyClean I should use citric acid, but he did not explain the process. How is this done? Do I add the citric acid in with the OxyClean solution in the tub? If so, how much do I add?

I have some citric acid on order currently. I recently followed the process described above, and since I didn't have citric acid, I went ahead and mixed some ascorbic acid powder in with the Oxyclean solution, and that seemed to reduce the slimeyness enough to get a pretty good rinse out.

Or, should I Oxy-soak, brush, and bottle blast the bottles, and then injector rinse with a separate water/citric acid solution, prior to sanitizing the bottles? Whew, a long post but I wanted to paint a clear picture of my process. Thanks for any clarification on the appropriate procedure! Also, I would be glad to use a different cost-effective, more effective or less problematic detergent if you have a good recommendation for that.

I do it very similarly to the way you describe, except I have a sink in the winery that holds a couple of cases at a time. De-labeled bottles get laid on their sides in the sink with a stopper in the drain and when it's full of bottles, then I fill the sink with hot tap water and just a bit of oxyclean. I never put in so much oxyclean so as to get many bubbles for the reasons you site. I fill the sink after the bottles are in place because the weight of the top bottles holds the lower ones down while they are filling with hot water.

If they need it, then I'll use a brush, but most of them had been rinsed so they just need a shake and dump. While they are emptying, I rinse the outside and then give the insides a couple rinses and place them on the bottle tree. At this point I consider them "clean". Once they are all clean, I drain the water and start another batch with clean water.

Just before bottling I give them a blast of Kmeta at cleaning strength (1000 ppm) along with a sparge of Nitrogen at which time I consider them "sanitized" and ready to fill. I don't use citric acid for this purpose as I've read that citric acid can cause problems later on.

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#4 freshgrapes

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 02:02 PM

Gregorio and Steve,

Thank you! I may imitate Steve's process. Thanks for helping me tweak mine! BTW, I use delabeled bottles as well.

#5 Doyle

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 10:20 AM

Greg has a key point that some of you may be missing. Percarbonates are basic and if you Clean with a percarbonate and then do not fully rinse that percarbonate out, your wine could see an increase in pH due to the percarbonate. This is especially true with barrels and larger containers. If you check the pH of your Kmeta bottle rinsing solution, it should be around 3.0. If it is not, you should add some citric to get it there. For Kmeta to be effective as a sanitizer, the pH needs to be acidic. Keep in mind that we use Kmeta for two different tasks. One is to scavenge oxygen from our wine and the second is as a sanitizing agent. The latter requires a low pH to be effective.

#6 bushrinker

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Posted 11 April 2011 - 10:27 AM

Thanks for the tip Doyle. I did not know about the ph bit, but I do now. I'm learning somthing new every day. smileycheers.gif" />
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#7 vindee

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 07:53 PM

Also great for removing labels. After soaking in the OxyClean most of the labels just fall off.
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#8 Wade's Wines

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 08:08 PM

Greg has a key point that some of you may be missing. Percarbonates are basic and if you Clean with a percarbonate and then do not fully rinse that percarbonate out, your wine could see an increase in pH due to the percarbonate. This is especially true with barrels and larger containers. If you check the pH of your Kmeta bottle rinsing solution, it should be around 3.0. If it is not, you should add some citric to get it there. For Kmeta to be effective as a sanitizer, the pH needs to be acidic. Keep in mind that we use Kmeta for two different tasks. One is to scavenge oxygen from our wine and the second is as a sanitizing agent. The latter requires a low pH to be effective.

Very insightful! Thanks Doyle!
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#9 bantam9

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 08:38 AM

Oxy overnight in 5 gal pails. I get 6-7 bottles in each of 2 pails. Oxy cleans the inside, and removes the labels on the outside in most cases. If the labell is still on there, a razor blade quickly removes it. Several blasts of water to clean the inside, and a quick rinse of the outside. Bottle tree until dry. Store upside down in wine boxes with fresh newspaper on the bottom. Upon bottling, a quick blast or two with metabisulfite and your good to go. Never had problems I can tell of yet.

#10 rpage53

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Posted 26 October 2011 - 11:07 PM

Its too bad that the TV commercials have made Oxiclean so popular. Its a stain remover (bleach) and is neither a good cleaner nor detergent. You really need to add some detergent like TSP to it for cleaning. The problem is that dirt may still be present but less visible. If you only use Oxiclean you need to scrub inside a bottle. Otherwise, its just the water that's doing the cleaning.

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#11 bantam9

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Posted 27 October 2011 - 01:10 PM

rick,
I must admit I have had to use a bottle brush to scrub the inside of bottles on occassion.

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#12 rpage53

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 01:22 AM

If you look at commercial products, relatively few are CIP (clean in place) meaning you can just run the solution through the line or into a carboy without mechanical abrasion. Not surprisingly, they tend to be pretty strong. PBW is a good one that isn't caustic.
http://www.fivestarc...ewers/products/

Water is a great solvent to use with a scrub brush. Whether you add Oxiclean to the water isn't that critical. TSP in the water as a detergent helps a lot and citric acid in the rinse water is anti-microbial. Adding hydrogen peroxide to the rinse water is also anti-microbial. Using Oxiclean to generate hydrogen peroxide requires another rinse. Obviously I'm not a fan of Oxiclean in the winery, though I do add Bleach for the Unbleachables to my laundry.

However if you really want to use a powdered oxygen bleach, you should be able to buy bulk percarbonate for a fraction of the cost of the commercial products. And it doesn't contain fillers or pay for TV time.

Rick.

#13 hz3gzy

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 10:31 AM

Use the citric as a rinse AFTER the oxyclean. It neutralizes it as percarbonates are basic.


Do you have to rinse twice. The ladder to rinse the citric acid out?

#14 gregorio

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 12:17 PM


Do you have to rinse twice. The ladder to rinse the citric acid out?


Yes unless you don't care about a minor amount of Citric in your wine. Pre-MLF would be a bad idea or maybe a small barrel that is getting a delicate grape like Pinot Noir. .
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#15 hz3gzy

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 04:41 AM

Can you add the citric acid along with the detergent when cleaning bottles? Then maybe only one rinse required?




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