You need more than a bit of Fizz
So, you have spent the best part of the morning making sure that your beverage dispense system is clean and in perfect condition ready for your customers to come in, but you may have forgotten something.
Nozzles, Sparklers, Creamers spout ends, whatever you may call them or whichever you use, need to be cleaned and they are one of the most overlooked pieces of kit in the beverage dispense system.
Many publicans or bar owners simply soak sparklers, nozzles and creamers in Soda Water overnight and re-attach them the next day, but is the soda water actually doing anything? It may shock you to know that the answer is no.
What is Soda Water?
Quite simply Soda Water is just tap water with added carbon dioxide (CO²). Everyone of a certain age remembers the old soda syphon bottles that were filled with water from the tap a little green cartridge was screwed into the top and when the trigger was pulled ‘Hey Presto’ fizzy water for your drink!
The post-mix dispenser used in pubs works in a similar way except the water is taken directly from the mains water system and the CO² taken from the same source as the beer pumps, but pushed into the water.
So what does soda water do to clean? In reality, nothing any different to normal water, it has a more acidic pH than tap water and it’s fizzy, nothing more. The problem here is that while stronger acids such as lemon juice will dissolve sugars, the carbonic acid in soda water (caused by the CO² being forced to dissolve into the water) is very weak and when this reacts with any sugar residue merely makes it stick onto the plastic. Soda water has some anti-microbial properties but these are not very strong and when compared to the beer residues you are trying to clean from nozzles it’s not effective enough. If you think beer has antibacterial properties think again – bacteria still grow in it!
So what can you do?
Firstly, don’t even bother wasting the gas needed to dispense the soda water to soak the nozzles, sparklers and creamers. This is a waste of time, effort and money.
Don’t use beerline cleaners to disinfect or clean nozzles, sparklers etc. Even when diluted for use in cleaning beer lines, the detergent is dangerous stuff. Think about it, sat there in your bar, probably in a pint glass either a clear or purple colour (‘Oh look Blackcurrant squash’) of cleaning chemical, capable of dissolving your throat (as seen recently in a Leeds bar , why would anyone want that sat around in the bar? Even when the bar is closed another member of staff could accidentally drink it causing major health issues.
Use a gentle cleaner, but not Milton as this will damage the plastic fittings by bleaching them white.
The best and safest method is to use a low concentration chlorine tablet dissolved in water. Don’t use a glass when using any chemical, always have a dedicated, properly labelled cleaning tub, always think safety first, followed by cleanliness. Use a small brush to remove any built-up proteins, yeasts and sugars, this should also be performed with any fixed spouts where you cannot remove the end and soak.
For more expert advice on best practice to keep your establishment safe and clean ask CellarCraft
Download the entire CellarCraft guide