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How do you sanitize and prepare a bung for stopping a carboy? While making sure that it will maintain a good seal and not POP off sometime later.

In depth
I removed and sterilized my bung and airlock (from a 170 day batch of JAOM) last night (due to a fruit fly infestation of the lock: Q: Fruit Flies in Airlock).

I had a difficult time replacing the bung after sterilizing it with Star San sanitize. My right brain wanted to dry the bung and bung hole with a paper towel while my left brain believed this would lead to possible contamination.

I eventually air-dried the bung in my hand, fearful of contaminating it if I let it rest anywhere. After a few attempts the bung appeared to fit into place. I affixed the airlock and cleaned up. I went to bed 90 minutes later, all appeared fine. However, when I woke this morning I noticed the bung and airlock POPPED off!

This time I just placed the bung into the hole and topped off my airlock. I cannot help but feel that I do not know what I am doing, that I have bought an inferior bung, or that my mead is now on a dooms day count down.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Paper towels right off the roll are sanitary, so you could have dried things with them. I have done that many times without a problem. I have also used duct tape to hold the stopper in the carboy.

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I've also used zip ties. You can also buy a carboy cap instead. – kenyabob May 14 '13 at 19:37

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