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My sanitiser/cleanser (VWP) says that I need to leave it submersed for at least 5-10 minutes. Is this the case for it?

I've seen in a few videos people just swirl the sanitiser around the fermenting vessel and I was wondering if I could just do the same. In the videos they usually use star stan or similar.

Sanitiser Instructions

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Before I write my answer, let me say that I'm not sure what's available in the UK. Here in the US, many of us use a product called StarSan, a no rinse sanitizer. However, you can't sanitize a surface until you've removed all of the organic material from in, so many brewers use a product with the brand name "OxyClean" - the generic version works as well - to do that actual cleaning. After things like fermenters are clean of detritus, we'll sanitize with StarSan. It's very quick and easy and works well.

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    Also, the instructions on this VWP product conclude with rinsing with water. Which may jeopardize the sanitary surface if done incorrectly. – brewchez Feb 2 '16 at 14:32
  • @brewchez that is interesting. I've not used it. It does say it's a sterilizer not sanitizer, maybe a rinse still leaves enough residual product to dilute and still act as a sterilizer. I would still feel better giving a full rinse and then starsan after. If challenged they would probably fall back on the instructions of "clean cold water" claiming clean should be sterile. – Evil Zymurgist Feb 3 '16 at 17:15
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Note that this product is both a cleaner and sterilizer. The contact times on the label seem to be more directed at cleaning so it's difficult to figure how much time is required for sterilization of a surface that is already clean. Lacking any better information, you must trust the manufacturer's instructions.

The sanitizer that you see people swishing about is indeed Star San. It contains a surfactant so it coats the surface, which allows for proper contact time without total immersion. The official recommended contact time for Star San is two minutes, but Jon Herskovits of Five Star Chemicals has said on the Brew Strong podcast that 30 seconds is sufficient.

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I would always recommend following the labeled instructions.

Most sanitizers work by oxidizing or rupturing the cell walls of microbes. This doesn't happen instantly.

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A lot depends on how clean your equipment is when you store and how clean the storing environment is. I often will just give something a spritz of star-san if I know it was kept clean and closed up in storage, because I have an all-indoor environment. If I kept my equipment in the garage, I would always use full submersion and full contact time.

what's more of your time, the 10 minutes to wait for sanitization, or the 10 minutes spend pouring bottle after infected bottle down the drain?

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