I typically accumulate a lot of commercial bottles because I have a hard time tossing out a non-twist-off beer bottle (it is an obsession and I've promised my wife I'll seek help). I will clean them by filling a 5-gallon bucket with a PBW solution and soaking the bottles in batches of about a dozen (it cleans them up and takes the labels right off). Obviously the PBW solution gets dirtier with each batch.

One can monitor the efficacy of Star-San just by measuring the pH; is there a simple way to monitor the efficacy of PBW or similar cleaners, or is one stuck making subjective judgements by how murky the solution looks?


The chemical reaction that develops the oxidizing reactions is fairly quick. Certainly an overnight soak and its done. That's not to say however that the chelators and surfactants in the mix don't still have function at loosening certain soil deposits and more over, labels on commercial bottles.

If you want to save it you could use the spent stuff for getting labels free and getting that first pass of dirt out. Then use a smaller volume of fresh solution for true effective cleaning prior to sanitizing.

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