Cleaning Your Still Parts: Interior and Exterior

With StillDragon’s modular systems, it is super easy to clean your still in between runs. The following cleaning tips can help you ensure that your product is consistent and your still looks beautiful for display – for tours and in your showroom:

4 Still Cleaning Tips

1. Vinegar Run for New Stills

Charge your kettle with a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water, and then run your still. The vinegar will help clean out those hard-to-reach places in your still parts that water can’t always get to – especially in your product condenser, where water cohesion (the sticking of water molecules) occurs and reduces the surface area of which water can reach. The boiling point of vinegar is about 32°F higher than water’s boiling point, so it won’t change back to liquid as quickly, leaving the vapor to attack more grime within your still.

2. Steam Cleaning (Water Vapor) After a Run

Before steaming, use a cleaner such as Powdered Brewery Wash (PBW), which is perfect for safely cleaning metals, rubber gaskets, tubing, plastic parts, and similar distilling components. It’s also safe on your skin! Simply apply this to the inside of your disassembled still parts, then scrub with a metal pipe cleaning tool and rinse with a high-pressure hose (or place your finger on the hose to generate backpressure).

Using steam to clean your still first is much safer than starting with a sacrificial spirit run because you can run water vapor through your still for a fairly long time without having to worry about highly flammable vapor leaking out into your distillery. Then you can do a shorter, sacrificial run with alcohol to kill off anything that the water vapor and vinegar did not eliminate.

Let’s say you just ran rum through your still, and now you want to do a vodka run. The rum and vodka flavors are very different from one another, so steaming your still will be optimal if you want to continuously replicate your desired flavor. Steaming will (mostly) remove odors and flavors from your last run. Plus, steaming in between runs keeps your palate consistent. Simply charge your kettle with water and run your still until the previous odor dissipates – or until you’re comfortable with the smell of the steam.

3. Cleaning Copper Still Parts (Exterior)

Making the outside of your copper piping nice and shiny for display is simple. We suggest using gloves to clean your copper because the oils on your hands will discolor it, leaving smudges and fingerprints. Using mineral spirits is an affordable and effective way to clean your copper. You can also try soaking your copper in white vinegar and salt, and then scrubbing your copper still parts with a brillo pad.

4. Cleaning Stainless Steel Distilling Components (Exterior)

This is as simple as using a microfiber cloth and a simple stainless steel cleaner. We use Misty Aspire® Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish (but any brand of stainless steel cleaner should do) to polish off parts so that they look shiny and beautiful once they arrive. You can do the same to keep your still looking squeaky clean.

> Need help choosing among our many different distilling components? Contact the StillDragon team today at 561-264-6490. We’re happy to help!