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Foam Cleaning, Part 1

May 1, 2021 | Professional Brewery

It’s safe to say that you’re already mindful of the cleanliness inside your brewery’s tanks and lines, but with the rising popularity in breweries as tourist destinations, ensuring a presentable appearance outside of your tanks is more important than ever before. Cleaning the entirety of your brewing space may seem like a daunting task, a rag and a bucket may not get the job done, that’s where foam cleaning comes in. 

How to Get Started with Foam Cleaning 

Foaming chemicals and equipment help clean and maintain the exterior of your equipment far better than other methods but using them correctly is essential to success. Many brewers may try foam cleaning but report that soil remains, leaving employees questioning whether the effort was worth their time.  

Understanding soil types before foam cleaning can help your brewery avoid these frustrations and ensure your brewing equipment is in top condition. 

How To Think About Soil Types  

 There are two basic types of soil: organic and inorganic. A poor outcome with an initial foam cleaning typically means that you only removed one soil type. 

It’s easy to see how a brewery could generate plenty of organic soils from hops, barley and yeast; however, the water you use for almost every part of your brewing process contains plenty of inorganic soils, calcium and magnesium being the most common. Unfortunately, there isn’t an effective way to eliminate both organic and inorganic soils in one step. Your brewery will need two product types to effectively target and remove these different soils. 

How To Target Organic Soils 

Organic soils are the most common. To correctly target these, you will need an alkaline foaming cleaner. These cleaners are often chlorinated, meaning you will want to keep them out of the interior of your equipment. The alkaline foam will be the workhorse; use it every time you foam clean. These products also have the added benefit of removing blockages and opening floor drains. 

How To Target Inorganic Soils 

Inorganic soil can be difficult to eliminate without the right product. Acid-based foaming cleaners, often called descalers, are the best products to use for this soil type. These products are typically formulated with nitric and phosphoric acids. Although acid foam cleaning is an important part of the process, you will not need to include this step every time you foam clean. 

How To Play the Waiting Game 

The last step of the foam cleaning process is dwell time. Most manufacturers recommend 10-15 minutes of contact time for both alkaline and acid foaming cleaning to work effectively. Spray the foam on and let it work on its own. If your equipment does not produce thick foam that clings well, you may have to reapply during this period. Just like brewing a great beer, the key to this process is not rushing it. Let the chemical work hard so that you don’t have to.  

Sweetwater Innovative Solutions can provide your brewery with the processes and products needed to start a successful foam cleaning program within your facility. Contact us today for a free facility review where we’ll customize a program to fit your brewery’s unique needs. 

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