Posted by Moonshiner Chuck on

When it comes to cleaning stills, believe it or not, it's relatively simple. The first thing to remember is that at the very end of the run, get you some mix, dump out the pot so you don't burn yourself and rinse it out or get all the old get all that stuff out to start with before you go any further and that'll help that'll set you up for a really good clean still and maintaining a Clean steel for a long period of time. But it doesn't negate the necessity for washing the thing. 

Number two is when you get a new Still, if you get a stainless steel still, or you get a copper still, of course, they're both clean differently because you have different resin residuals or residues in both of those. So please, first of all, follow the manufacturer's recommended process for your first run. Whether that be vinegar and water, whether it be a lemon juice and water, it doesn't really matter and then when all else fails, I mean you just do the following because this is really simple. 

First we need it, let's take copper. We all know that copper stills used a long time ago but keep it around because it's just kind of neat. It is made out of copper. And you know what copper does. It's the patina. It does that because it interacts as it interacts with the atmosphere. And it's sort of like an oxidation process, but it develops this patina. And it doesn't own the inside too. Now, when you first get one of these that you purchase or you put together, you notice that all these solder joints, you used flux, so you have some flux residue in there as well. And you need to get all of that out. 

Well, what's the easiest way to get that out, first wash it out, you get all the big stuff out. And then you need to use some kind of a cleaning solvent in order to get all the other stuff out. Because anything left in left behind when you do make your run it Trust me, it's going to come out and that's not what you want. So let me share with you how you do this. Of course there's a bunch of different commercially available cleaning products for copper and stainless steel.

I like to profess, we have what we call 551. It's pretty well known throughout the distilling community. 500 millilitres of water 50 millilitres of hydrogen peroxide and one ounce of citric acid and that makes one, it makes a wonderful copper cleaning solution. Besides that, the end of the day costs you that much, that's about a little bit more than a cup. That's going to cost you probably about two and a half cents. But if you're going to clean one of these, just make that solution and put it in there and then we'll just swish it around and let it sit for about 20 minutes and then wash it out with dawn dish soap. And that's all there is to it. 

This is a Bought 32 fluid ounces of a three out of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution 72 cents of less than a buck a bottle. I've got a one over to the canning section, you know where they sell the mason jars and all those stuff for canning. Their citrus citric acid. I can't remember I paid less than two bucks for this. But this is a great big old bottle, I guess water is relatively cheap too. It takes 500 millilitres, 500 millilitres is a little bit more than a pint, a little bit more it's like 17 ounces or so of water and you pour that then get a graduated cylinder, that's 550 millilitres is about 1.7 ounces of hydrogen peroxide and one ounce of citric acid. One ounce of citric acid gets it out of there. 

Get a little baggie too is about one half tablespoons. For those of you who have used citric acid to drop the pH in your mash, you're probably thinking right now. Wow, that's got to be a really low pH. It drops a pH all the way it really drops it dramatically. Shake it up and mix it and that is your will let that settle. It should be clear. That is your 551 cleaning solution for copper, it works. It's amazing stuff. Acidity of your mash when it goes into your pot is low because of course it adjusts on its own during the fermentation process. It's going to be less than seven. So it's going to be low on the pH scale which makes it acidic, if you're using copper still It comes out and you don't clean your worm, the inside of the worm. 

That acidic liquid that passes and vapor that passes through there, along with a little bit of thermal activity which kind of makes things a little bit more aggressive starts to peel off the patina that's inside that naturally that's going to grow or develop inside that worm. It's going to come out looking like this. And that's of course something that you don't want. I use vinegar in it. The vinegar does not do a great job. They're in a pinch. You can run some vinegar through it, but it takes vinegar and doesn't have the low pH level like an ounce of citric acid in this mixture does.

On others take for instance a stainless steel still in a stainless steel just wash it out with a soft cloth and some dawn dish soap wash that out. Same thing with the lid and in the column. Now I use dondre soap in the column. That column is and this still, this particular still is four or five years old it just fits perfectly of a two inch column just put some don't disappoint with warm water and run it back and forth that kind of does the job rinse it out

Now that leaves us with the condenser. Well, you don't build up any patina, or anything inside the condenser, but you can get crud and stuff just kind of builds up in there that you just don't want in there. So how do you get that out?

 Because that's a small tube. What I did is I cut off a piece of that copper mesh and just put it on the end of a piece of wire. straight wire for some dawn dish soap and warm water in here, just to wet it run. 

This is just like if those of you familiar with cleaning a shotgun the same way we a lot of times the same way we clean a shotgun and you bring that all the way down there and then just pull it through and that'll clean out the inside of your condenser. Those are my tips for you. You can see already how clean that has become that's been sitting here that period of time that I had been discussing this with you will leave me 551 500 millilitres of water 50 millilitres of hydrogen peroxide and one ounce of citric acid.

Want more? just double it and make goodies or just Do the math. Simple dirt cheap and as always!