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Can the sanitizer liquid used to sterilize your equipment be used for several containers in a row?

I got told that I can add my equipment to my larger fermentation vessels to sanitize all at once. But if I have two containers and let one of them soak over night in sanitizer, can I then just fill it into the second container and let it stand for a while? I would add some hot water to warm it up again.

I'm using the "VWP cleaner / steriliser" if its matters. It's labeled "contains chlorine donor" but doesn't tell what ingredients it is made from.

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First of all, IMO it's a bad idea to use any chlorine based sanitizer. You're setting yourself up to possibly end up with chlorophenols in your beer. In addition, it needs to be rinsed and if you don't use boiled water to rinse, you're undoing your sanitation routine. Percarbonate based sanitizers lose their ability to produce O2 quickly, which makes them ineffective. You shouldn't reuse these. Iodophor sanitizers (which are no rinse) can be reused if you're careful in your use of them. Proteins, which are present in beer, denature Iodophor and make it ineffective, you have to make sure that that the stuff you put into it is clean. StarSan, a phosphoric acid based no rinse sanitizer, can be reused as long as the pH of the solution remains below 3. A good way to ensure that is to mix it with distilled water.

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StarSan sounds interesting. Unfortunately it isn't sold in Europe it seems. –  Martin Scharrer Apr 14 '11 at 20:55
    
Also note that light will render your Iodophor solution ineffective. I have successfully kept some in a dark cabinet for a few days (haven't tried past that) with it still being effective. You can tell fairly easily with Iodophor by checking the color - if it's still brown, there is enough iodine free in the solution to sanitize. –  sarumont Apr 25 '11 at 17:16

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