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Can anyone comment on the suitability of Baby Bottle sanitiser for cleaning brew kit?

Milton is a popular brand name of such in the UK. I'd like to put a brew on this eve or tomorrow morning and have none of the usual 'Homebrew Sanitizer' left. Milton is however sold everywhere :)

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

"Milton Sterilising Fluid allows you to sterilise in just 15 minutes, killing bacteria, viruses, fungi and spores (tough dormant bacteria). It has been used in hospitals for many years as a simple and very reliable method."

Wow. Sounds way stronger than needed for brewing! I wonder whats in it?

"Milton Fluid is made of an aqueous solution of sodium hypochlorite and 16.5% sodium chloride. The Milton Fluid that is available to buy is a strength of 2% sodium hypochlorite."

Ahhh. Sodium Chloride is, of course, plain old salt, and Sodium Hypochlorite is bleach. This stuff uses some other chemicals so that it is a 'no rinse' cleaner for the baby products, meaning that it won't hurt the kid. According to their site, the presence of any protein will immediately denature the sterilizer into plain ol' salt.

HOWEVER, this sounds great for baby bottles, but perhaps not for brewing. Here's my thinking:

1) Bleach is troublesome as a cleanser because any active bleach that makes it into the fermentor can trigger a host of terrible flavors from the yeast. For this reason, bleach is always, always rinsed away with clean water after it is used to clean/sterilize brewing gear.

2) This particular product is basically just highly packaged bleach with a lot of marketing, and as such I expect that it is VERY COSTLY comparred to (a) regular bleach, or (b) the wide range of other BETTER sanitizers out there. I see on Amazon that a 28-tablet box of their "sterilizing tablets" goes for $3, but I am not sure how many tablets you'd need to use to generate a gallon or so of sterilizing liquid.

Summary: Yes, this product SHOULD be fine for brewing, but only if you rinse with sterile water after to ensure that no bleach is left on the gear. And its probably WAY more expensive than using plain bleach, or a proven brewing sanitizer.

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Some great research here. – mdma Apr 18 '13 at 22:55
Brilliant, thanks for explaining so much. It works out cheap enough in bulk, and VWP / Youngs steriliser is expensive and rare so I'll try Milton. – Mere Development Apr 19 '13 at 20:23
Cool, just be sure to rinse away any residual cleanser, or maybe allow it to drip dry, and you should be fine. – Graham Apr 22 '13 at 12:33

Just a little add on to Grahams comment. Yes Sodium hypochlorite is a bleach because of its basic chlorine base. However it deteriorates rapidly. It is not typically offered in large bottles because of it's short shelf life of less than six months. Extending past the shelf life means it becomes a poor cleaning agent as it becomes predominately salty water. Secondly it is light sensitive. It needs to be stored in dark bottles in a cool dark place to maximise it's life. It is most often recommended for butcher's trays and bench cleaning not homebrew hardware cleaning. In fact it is actually more expensive to use than Sodium Percarbonate, Sodium Metasilicate, or acid salt no rinse foam sanitisers you will find in local home brew stores. Beware of the brewing foibles, there are a lot out there and solely based on saving a few cents.

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