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Can I sanitize all my large fermentation equipment (buckets, lids, tubes...) by spraying it down with a spray bottle of starsan? Just wondering, because so far I have just been filling the 5+ gallon bucket with starsan solution and sanitizing everything in the bucket. The problem with this is that I feel like it wastes so much starsan, and that stuff isn't exactly cheap.

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You can probably achieve adequate sanitation with some very thorough spraying, but the spray from a bottle is not exactly uniform. And I'm not sure how you'd get the inside of tubing effectively besides filling it and sloshing it around, which is certainly an option.

You don't need to dispose of Star-San after using it. You can keep it around for a while, and it will remain effective so long as the pH stays low. Additionally, if you mix it with distilled water, it will last for quite a long time. Months, at least.

You might also find a wallpaper tray to be convenient for sanitizing long items (tubes, canes, spoons, &c.) in a minimal amount of Star-San.

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Thank you for the suggestion on the wallpaper tray. I understand that it is possible to reuse star-san solution, but I live in a small condo and have no area to be constantly storing a 5+ gallon of sanitizer, when I have the space I will start doing this. –  anton2g Sep 17 '13 at 15:23
    
Starsan is still effective if the pH is under pH 3.5 –  mdma Sep 17 '13 at 16:32
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You don't need to mix 5 gallons of StarSan for a 5 gallon fermenter. When I mix it fresh I make about a gallon, seal up the fermenter and shake and slosh to get coverage. I also spread it by hand and use a spray bottle on individual components as necessary. I store the leftovers in old LME jugs. –  Galapagos Jim Sep 17 '13 at 17:31
    
@Jim, have you ever had any problems with bacteria with this method? How many times have you done it? I would love to try it but am always afraid of losing a 5 gallon batch due to poor sanitization. –  anton2g Sep 17 '13 at 19:34
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I've never had an infected batch. Star San only requires wet contact with the surface for a few minutes, not extended soaking, so it's not necessary to fill the fermenter. While it's reasonable to be thorough with sanitation, there's no need to be paranoid. My method is to clean equipment ASAP after use, dry thoroughly, and rinse briefly before using again (and before sanitizing). And remember that most undesirable microbes aren't able to compete with the relatively huge colony of brewer's yeast that you pitch. –  Galapagos Jim Sep 18 '13 at 3:35
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I always have a spray bottle of Star San made up. It's definitely adequate for small items and touch-ups, but I slosh around a gallon of Star San in my carboys since it's easier.

The other thing I do to sanitize some things is to wet a paper towel and then wipe the surface.

The only thing that matters is that you wet all the surfaces and then give it a minute or so to do its thing.

I regularly make very small batches of Star San solution. I use a syringe (not to be confused with a hypodermic needle) to measure out a few mL of concentrate. At this rate my bottle of Star San concentrate is going to last for years.

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