I'd love to hear the creative ways which folks have come up with to sanitize the outside of their racking cane.

Sanitizing the inside is straightforward - siphon some sanitizing solution through the cane, then let it sit for a while. Getting the upper part of the outside of the cane in constant contact with santizing solution seems less straightforward. I don't really want to fill an entire 5gal container with solution just so that I can get the racking cane fully immersed.

The best trick I've come up with is to use a narrow tube closed at one end, and fill that up with solution. I then insert the racking cane into that tube. Here's my crappy diagram illustrating the process.

  • good question!! – brewchez Jun 29 '10 at 13:20
  • 1
    good ASCII art =D – STW Feb 2 '11 at 0:34

My technique

Stick it in the carboy/bucket/keg that is full of sanitizer. You only have to get the part of the cane that will touch wort, but it doesn't hurt to splash or wipe sanitizer on the entire cane.

A better way

You can build a dirt cheap dedicated sanitizing vessel. Go to the hardware store and get a length of 2-4 inch diameter PVC pipe and a matching slip-fit plug or cap. Cut the pipe longer than your racking cane. Glue the plug in one end and, viola, you have a water-tight tube for sanitizing tall, narrow things.

Your diagram is almost perfect. Picture it made of PVC pipe with a large enough diameter to allow the entire cane to fit.

  • I have been meaning to try the tall PVC pipe thing too. Then you could put your racking cane and brewing spoon in there too. I also have an aeration stone on the end of a cane that would be easier to deal with if I had the PVC pipe thingy set up. – brewchez Jul 1 '10 at 10:48

Go to your local hardware store and buy a wallpapering tray to use as a sanitizing bucket for these long tools. They're normally about 30" long, which is long enough to hold all my awkward tools like tubing, racking cane, autosyphon, thief, etc.

Here's an example of one: Amazon.com - Standard Weight Wallpaper Tray

  • I just got one and it is extremely handy. I don't know how I got along without one. – Nicholas Trandem Feb 1 '11 at 23:41

I just wipe some sanitizing solution on the outside of the cane either with my hand or a damp paper towel. Maybe that's not the best way to do it but I haven't had an infection yet.

  • I do this too and it seems to be fine. – brewchez Feb 3 '11 at 23:39

I usually have a bucket of sanitizer made up with 3-4 gallons in it. I am constantly dipping things in and out of it. I tend to just flip the racking cane upside down in that bucket to get the top part AND all the tubing submerged in sanitizer. So it sits in sanitizer up side down and right side up for a time while I do other things.

On a racking only day where I don't have a big bucket made up, I just use a spray bottle of sanitizer. I keep a little fresh sanitizer around from the last session in a used windex sprayer. I spray the heck out of the exterior of the racking cane until its dripping. I do it a couple times to be sure.


I use StarSan, which creates a wonderful foam when agitated that sanitizes on contact. I spread foam all on the outside of the racking cane, as well as any other "tricky" areas (like the bottom of my fermenting bucket lid). I also keep a spray bottle of sanitizer on hand at all times - this is a lifesaver. Need a bit of sanitizer on something? Spritz it a couple of times and you're set.

If you are using another sanitizer and do need to soak it, look into getting a long, shallow plastic pan from Home Depot or somewhere - paint department should have something you can use, or maybe a long drywall mud trough.

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    I also keep a spray bottle of StarSan around. Works great on both the inside and outside of the racking cane with minimal sanitizer use. – Denny Conn Feb 1 '11 at 0:57
  • Great idea, but I wouldn't say it sanitizes on contact StarSan requires a 30 second contact time (foam or liquid) to be sanitized. – Casey Feb 2 '11 at 21:17

I have a long plastic bin that I use for sanitizing. It is long enough to lay all of my racking cane's, auto siphons, hoses, anything can lay flat lengthwise in the bin to soak, then you just rinse with cold water. I guess you could have another bin the same size filled with clean cold water to rinse the stuff. I usually just do that in the sink though.

Also, I get a deeper bin that use to sanitize bottles, carboys, pales, just fill it up and lay then in sideways to soak.

These also work wonders to get labels off of beer bottles. Fill it with hot water and sanitizer and submerge all bottles, then put the lid on and in a few days all the label fall off an just float to the top. Incredibly easy.


I always have a 5-gallon bucket of sanitizer around so I keep my racking cane in the bucket of sanitizer until I'm ready to use it. A great alternative is a spray bottle filled with sanitizer. You can quickly and effectively spot-sanitize your equipment.

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