Iodophor and Star San are two popular options available to brewers to use as methods for sanitizing.
They both are acid chemicals that, when used correctly, are highly efficient at sanitizing both brewing equipment and other surfaces.
Star San is one that we recommend. Although they are both effective products, with both being acid-based, the aroma and pigmentation left behind when using Iodophor may have a negative impact on the quality of your beer.
Iodophor is a federally approved contact sanitizer used in both the foodservice and production industries. It is also one of the more common sanitizing methods that breweries and home brewers use. It is available at Walmart, Amazon, and most drug stores.
The ingredients present in Iodophor are an iodine complex with a solubilizing agent, such as polyacrylic acids, poly(oxyalkylene) derived nonionic or polyvinylpyrrolidone.
Iodophor works very well when used to sanitize brewing equipment, and it is more cost-effective and gentler on the skin. Iodophor is very reliable at killing yeast, mold, and other fungus’s requiring a minimum contact time of two minutes.
– Less expensive – Rinse free when used at 12.5 ppm – Effective at killing wild yeasts and bacteria – The sustained release effect helps to keep equipment and surfaces sanitized longer. – Relatively non-toxic – Stores well (up to two years)
– Leaves behind a yellowish residue – Has an aroma – Longer contact time – Stains plastics, and other equipment – One time use
Star San is an acid-based sanitizer that only requires a 30 second contact time. It is a thicker material that is both odorless and colorless. When diluted, it creates a foam that is environmentally friendly and less toxic. The heavy foam is capable of sanitizing any crevices and other hidden areas effectively.
The two active ingredients that make Star San are 15% Dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid and 50% Phosphoric acid.
Star San is very effective at sanitizing brewing equipment and surfaces. This odorless and colorless sanitizer creates a heavy foam when diluted in water.
– Odorle – Less contact time (30 seconds) – Foam is just as effective as the solution (Don’t fear the foam) – Stores well long term – The bottle provided has measurable doses that, when squeezed, helps to ensure proper dosing – Environmentally friendly
– Foams (some brewers like visibility when sanitizing) – More costly – A slight residue left behind on surface – Harmful if gotten on skin, eyes, or swallowed at full strength – Requires frequent testing to ensure proper sanitation levels.