How to Clean Your Kegerator
A kegerator delivers the best tasting beer you can enjoy but you have to take care of it and ensure it’s clean, so you can get the perfect pour every time. Cleaning your kegerator regularly isn’t as difficult or as exhausting as it may seem. It can actually only take 15 minutes, if you have the right equipment! So, do yourself and your kegerator a favor by cleaning it regularly.
Why do you need to clean your kegerator?
Maintaining your kegerator not only ensures your beer will taste great every pour but it will increase the longevity of your dispense parts. While a kegerator is a big investment, they can last a lifetime with proper care. It minimizes the times you need to replace the parts and keeps your beer tasting fresh.
Dirty beer lines can contaminante your beer with bad flavors, bacteria, and cause excessive foaming when poured. Cleaning kits contain equipment that easily flushes through the beer lines and essential dispense parts. Using food-grade sanitizer, it breaks down buildup and eliminates bacteria for clean and fresh tasting beer.
While bacteria buildup seems like the worst thing that can occur from dirty beer lines, it is actually beer stones that you should be worried about. Known as calcium oxalate, this toxic precipitate promotes the growth of microbes and is known to cause sores if ingested! Cleaning kits contain everything you need to prevent blockage in your beer lines, horrible tasting beer, and severe illness. We can’t emphasize enough how important it is to keep your kegerator clean.
How often should you clean your kegerator?
We highly recommend cleaning your kegerator after every keg or every two weeks at a minimum. Cleansing your system in between kegs ensures your previous keg will not contaminate your new keg and new beer. It is also important to clean your kegerator if you haven’t used it in a while to ensure your beer parts are not blocked and any bacteria or particulates will not end up in your beer.
Liquid versus Powder Cleanser
Both forms of cleanser are effective ways to clean your kegerator and both need to be dissolved in water prior to use. The liquid cleanser is much easier to dissolve into water and isn’t as messy, therefore, it’s more convenient. Also, powder cleansers have the potential to leave behind residue but if properly dissolved, this shouldn’t be a problem. Powder solutions are more travel-friendly and easier to store.
No-Rinse Cleanser versus Standard Cleanser
Standard cleansers require you to flush your system with water afterwards to remove any remnants of cleanser in the system. No-rinse cleansers don’t require a flushing step but it is still highly recommended to ensure all particulates and dirt is removed from the beer lines. No-rise cleansers save time and resources. It is ideal for when you have limited time in between kegs, like in a restaurant or commercial setting.
Types of Cleaning Kits
Gravity Cleaning Kit
An economical method, gravity cleaning kits uses gravity to flow the cleaning solution through the kegerator dispense system, exiting from the keg coupler. These kits include a bottle of cleaning solution that should be connected to the draft tower and using your dispense system's check ball lifter to hold the bottle upright, the liquid will drain through your beer lines. The solution will run through the system and into a bucket under your keg coupler. It is important to rinse through the beer lines with fresh water after running the solution through to ensure there is no solution residue in the system.
Hand Pump Cleaning Kit
This method uses a manual hand pump to push solution quickly through the dispense system. Hand pump kits use pressure to rapidly push solution through the system, removing buildup and particles in the beer lines. Just like with the gravity cleaning kit, you’ll need to pace a bucket at the end of the coupler as you pump the solution through the system. When you are done, a thorough rinse with clean water is highly recommended to ensure there is no cleaning solution in your line.
Pressurized Cleaning Kit
This is the fastest and most efficient method for cleaning a kegerator. A pressurized cleaning kit uses a large bottle, which acts as a keg full of solution. When tapped to your system, it uses the gas tank from your system to rapidly flush solution through your dispense system, blasting away build up and sanitizing your system. This cleaning method doesn’t require you to remove the faucet, saving you additional time. Flushing your system with clean water after the solution is still recommended. While this is an expensive cleaning option, it is very fast and saves you so much time.
Additional Kegerator Cleaning Essentials
There are a few additional products that will help you clean and maintain your kegerator. These little pieces will increase the longevity of the parts in your system.
Constructed of nylon or stainless steel, these brushes are designed to get into small and narrow spaces in your system. These help to thoroughly scrub areas that tend to have stubborn buildup. This is especially important if you are using a gravity or hand pump kit because these systems are not as forceful as a pressurized kit.
Probe lubricant maintains a single-valve keg coupler's moving parts. This lubricant is a food grade, odorless, tasteless, and safe to consume product. This is very important to ensure your system is working as it should.
Faucet Spanner Wrench
In order to get into your system and clean it thoroughly, you will often need to remove the faucet. A faucet wrench is designed for removing your faucet, so you can get into the tower and clean all the parts properly.
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