How to clean and sanitise a Cornelius keg

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Feb 6, 2009
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This is how I clean and sanitise my cornelius kegs using readily available cleaners and sanitisers, there are other ways and if you have found a way that works well for you then feel free to post it here :thumb:
This is going to be a very picture heavy post so if you are trying to view on a mobile device or dial up I apologise :)

So here is your used keg ready to be cleaned

and after removing the lid and looking inside you find some residue to clean (ignore the dip tube, this cornie had been butchered by it's previous owner :roll: )

After a rinse with cold water it looks ok, but there are plenty of nooks and cranny's that need a thorough clean

To thoroughly clean the inside of the keg I use unscented oxygen based laundry stain remover, which is basically Sodium percarbonate either this one from Lidl at £1.89 a tub

or this one from Wilkinson at £2ish but any of the unscented laundry stain removers will work

I drop 3 scoops into the keg

Then begin to fill the keg with hot water, foam will form when filling

I stop filling when the foam reaches the mouth of the keg, I know at this point that the cleaning agent is wetting the whole of the inside of the keg

Then fit the lid

The oxygen that is released by the stain remover will pressurise keg, sealing the lid. I then use a tool, in this case the handle of a teaspoon to depress the poppets on both posts to ensure that the cleaning solution in inside both dip tubes

Make sure your face isn't over the post as you depress the poppet, remember, the keg is pressurised and the cleaning solution will come out at speed, don't ask how I know what happens if you do :lol:

After leaving the cleaning solution to work it's magic for 20 minutes or so it's time to empty the keg, I have a spare disconnect with a bit of pipe attached that I use for this job but you can use your tap ;)

As I don't want to waste the solution today I used it to clean out an FV

But I also use it to clean out the lines and taps on my kegerator, if the pressure starts to drop while emptying the keg give it a shake to release some more oxygen and the solution should start to flow again.
When the keg is empty of the cleaning solution I rinse with cold water until the foam has gone and we are left with a lovely clean corny :D (Can you see the difference in the colour of the plastic pipe on the dip tube?)

The only part of the keg that has not been thoroughly rinsed clean of chemicals at this point is the dip tubes, to combat this I boil a kettle of water and add to the keg

Then I replace the lid and shake the keg, the steam generated will pressurise the keg, fitting the disconnect or tap then allows you to push near boiling water through the dip tube. When the keg is empty again if you remove the lid and look inside the keg while depressing the poppet on the gas in post you should see water drop out of the gas dip tube showing that this has been rinsed too.

To sanitise the keg I use Videne

Which I make up to a slightly stronger than no rinse solution of 2ml per litre and add to the keg

The keg is shaken to wet all internal parts of the keg with the Videne solution, then it is pressurised with CO2 to force the solution up the dip tube, although the sanitising properties of Videne are almost instant I leave it to stand for a couple of minutes, again using my "waste not want not" attitude I transfer the videne solution to a spray bottle for later use.

I use it for quickly sanitising small items like a corny lid ;)

The keg is then given a quick rinse with cold water and then another litre or so of boiling water is added and forced out through the dip tube using the steam generated.
Inside the keg, cleaned and sanitised

Finally the cleaned and sanitised keg accepting some lovely pale ale :D

I hope this is of use to someone :)