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I've noticed a little build up of gunk (for lack of a better term) in the curve of my racking cane. I can use a cleaning brush to get most of the cane but I don't have anything on hand to get into the curve of the cane.

What's a good brush/tool for cleaning the inside of a racking cane?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can do a pretty good job with soap and a high-pressure water, as long as you rinse it right away. As I mentioned in a comment on @BrianV's answer, Percarbonate dissolves best when the water is 140°F or higher, but the plastic they use in a lot of racking canes (esp. the auto-siphon) will begin to get cracks in it very quickly if you clean it with hot water. If you use hot water, you will go through a lot of plastic racking canes, because once they get cracks they can harbor bacteria. A wallpaper tray can be helpful if soaking.

I try to use cool to lukewarm water when cleaning my autosiphon. Using a high-pressure water stream helps. Two easy ways to do this are with a 'jet' bottle washer faucet attachment or a 'sweeper' garden hose attachment. The Jet on the sink may be tough, for practical reasons of spraying the water everywhere.

Jet bottle washer

sweeper hose attachment

Another option is to get a stainless steel racking cane, then you can use oxiclean, PBW and any temp water.

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FWIW, I've used the same plastic racking cane for 15 years and over 400 batches. It gets soaked in how Oxiclean solution every time and has never had any problems. The Autosiphon may be different. I don't use one so I don't knpow. –  Denny Conn Apr 1 at 15:28
    
Good to know. My first auto-siphon developed cracks in it within a year. A lot of people on forums say it's caused by hot water. Since then I haven't used hot water and haven't had a problem (yet). Maybe they use different plastic in other racking canes, like the one you have, and it's more heat resistant. –  paul Apr 2 at 16:51
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What I ended up doing was starting with a soak in soapy water followed by a pressure wash. This got most everything. Then I did a soak in PBW (used hot water to dissolve the PBW, let it cool to warm, then dropped the racking cane in) overnight. Followed the PBW soak up with a presssure wash. The racking cane is looking pretty good. –  NoobsArePeople2 Apr 4 at 16:49

Have you tried using a percarbonate-based cleaner first? Usually an Oxyclean or PBW solution will break up the gunk in my tubing with a few hours of soaking.

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Just rinse after the soak? –  NoobsArePeople2 Mar 31 at 18:23
    
Just be careful with the temperature of the water. Percarbonate dissolves best when the water is 140°F or higher, but the plastic they use in a lot of racking canes (esp. the auto-siphon) will begin to get cracks in it very quickly if you clean it with hot water. You can use a percarbonate cleaner if you let the water cool down, or do a long soak (several hours) in warm, but not hot water. In the warm water, the cleaner will eventually dissolve. –  paul Mar 31 at 18:36
    
You should also rinse with warm water after a PBW type cleaning. It tends to precipitate minerals in the water and leave those on your glass/plastic-ware. Obviously its dependent on the mineral content of your base water. –  brewchez Apr 4 at 11:39

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