Saturday, August 02, 2008

Cleaning "second hand" glass!

You may (or not) recall me posting about the small mountain of second hand glassware I got from ebay (24 x 1 gallon DJ's and 409 x half gallon DJ's).

Second hand glassware can be a bit of a worry for some, because you have to get it clean and sterilised/sanitised. As a result of my purchase, I have a lot of cleaning to do. The DJ's had sat around in a barn (or possibly out in the weather) for many years. I suspect, that as they came from a commercial cider producer that they were actually ones that had been used, returned (you used to get a deposit of a couple of pence or so) and then left over from when plastic bottles/kegs etc came into use.

Hence some of them were really stinking dirty. Dried on dirt, sediment from the original contents and a fair amount of other detritus.

Now most of the crap comes off, by cleaning with hot water and soap/washing up liquid/detergent/bleach, but I've noticed that there's often white deposits inside when they've dried. The white deposits look like limescale/water stains.

Last weekend I did a bit of experimenting to see about removing them - maybe unnecessary, but I like things to be as perfect as I can get them i.e. it maybe that it's ok to leave the water stains and just make sure that the inside of the bottles is sanitised/sterilised, but it looks a little unsightly.

Firstly, I made up a batch of "Ritchies Cleaning/Sterilising solution" (the crystaline cleaner is available from Home Brew shops) and filled one. After a while, I noticed that the white stains hadn't moved. So I did a bit of googling about limescale, only to find that the best descaler is hydrochloric acid, but that's "rocking horse shit" in small quantities of sufficient concentration. There's a number of other acids that will also do the job, too numerous to list here (google is your friend), but you might also have one of the more basic ones in your home brewing kit. Citric acid! - so I made up a gallon of water with a 100 gramme pot of citric acid to see if that worked. While it was "doing it's thing", I also checked out what household chemicals we had that might work.

After a couple of hours, I checked the DJ which had started to clear, but was still stained. So I got the bottle of "Mr Muscle" kitchen cleaner and lime scale remover, tipped out a bit of the citric acid mix and poured in a couple of fluid ounces of that. That worked a treat, cleaning the glass completely in a couple of hours. But I figured that'd work out quite expensive.

At the same time I'd also got another DJ and, thanks to finding an article on google, rinsed it out so it just had the lime scale/white stains on the glass, then put just under a litre of cheap malt vinegar in it and topped the DJ off with hot water.

This also seemed to have worked well. So I binned the citric/Mr Muscle mix completely and tried just the vinegar/water mix of some more of the DJ's. It seems to work.

So I've found that Tesco's do "value range" malt vinegar for 14 pence for 250 ml's and got 4 of them ready to do some more of the glassware. It seems to be about the cheapest way of cleaning glassware that has water stains/lime scale (though in truth, I'm at a loss as to where the water stains/lime scale actually come from - yes, we do have very hard water locally, but if the DJ's were just left in a barn or out in the rain, I don't know where it might have come from ???).

Ah well, who cares as long as I can remove it.

I just thought it might help someone..............

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