Every good establishment has an equipment-cleaning schedule as part of its regular maintenance calendar. Cleaning your kegerator is one of the items that should be on the schedule. A quick clean of the beer lines and the exterior should take place at least twice a week, while a thorough clean with an acid-based solution should be done every quarter.
The beer lines are cleaned with a specialized kegerator beer line cleaning kit, so make sure you purchase one together with your kegerator.
Cleaning your kegerator not only ensures that the system is hygienic, but also prevents your beer from spoiling. It stops bacteria from affecting the taste and ultimate enjoyment of the beer.
What exactly is a kegerator, and what is it used for?
Most bar owners or pub owners will know that a kegerator is a beer dispenser and refrigerator. It stores cold, fresh draft beer, home-brewed beer, coffee or wine.
To keep your beverages tasting fresh and ensure the flavors aren’t affected by unwanted bacteria and germs, the kegerator needs to be stored in hygienic conditions, and its parts need to be cleaned regularly.
If you don't know how to clean a kegerator, then this article is just for you.
How to effectively clean a kegerator
There are eight steps to effectively cleaning your kegerator. We’ve outlined the details below so that you can ensure your beer lines and your kegerator are clean and hygienic for the benefit of yourself and your customers.
Step 1: Clean the exterior
To start the cleaning process, turn off the kegerator completely. Unplug the machine and make sure that the CO2 or nitrogen is also turned off. You must also disengage the tap and remove the keg.
The first major step in maintaining your kegerator is wiping down the exterior. Make sure to clean any spills that may have accumulated. You can use a damp cloth with soap and warm water to wipe each surface.
While the beer lines should be cleaned at least twice a week, we always recommend cleaning the kegerator after each keg. This ensures that they don’t contaminate each other. Beer residue, bacteria, and mold can easily build up if not properly cleaned between uses.
Step 2: Use your kegerator beer lines cleaning kit
Once the exterior is sparkling, the next step is to clean the removable parts of your kegerator. For this purpose, you must purchase the kegerator cleaning kit mentioned earlier.
These kits include all the tools you need to ensure that your beer lines remain clean and ready for use. It will come with tools, cleansers, and brushes that can be used after each tap is cleaned.
One of the important things about this kit is its simplicity. The instructions included in it are very straightforward and easy to understand, which makes it quite convenient for those who don't know how to clean a kegerator properly.
Step 3: Remove the faucet and keg coupler
Use the wrench that comes with the kegerator to remove the faucet and keg coupler.
After removing all of these parts, place them in a bowl of warm water and add specialized kegerator cleaner. Once you have let these parts soak for some time, you can use a small brush to scrub away the debris. Any residue left on the parts could contaminate your brew so make sure you give them a good scrub before rinsing and letting them dry.
Step 4: Prepare the cleaning solution
Beer is a delicious beverage, but it's no fun when your beer tubes are dirty. Dirty kegerator beer lines can make the flavor funky and ruin an entire keg full of beer if you’re not careful.
If you are not cleaning your beer lines regularly, it can collect all sorts of nasty things, including bacteria and mold, to ruin a perfect brew. In order to clean the tubes, you must first prepare the beer line cleaner. Mix the solution with warm water and transfer it into the cleaning bottle.
Step 5: Attach the beer lines to the cleaning bottle
Carefully attach your beer lines to the cleaning bottle and ensure they are on tightly so that the cleaning liquid doesn’t spill out at the seal. Don't forget to stick the loose end of your beer line into an empty bucket so that you can collect the cleaning solution.
Step 6: Start pumping
After setting up the cleaning solution, and connecting the beer lines to the cleaning bottle, you can start pumping the cleaning solution through your beer lines. Use the pump mechanism that comes with the cleaning bottle. Let the cleaning solution stay in the beer tubes for a couple of minutes before letting it run out into your bucket.
Step 7: Remove the residual cleaning solution
Once you finish flushing out the cleaning solution, remove any excess cleaning agents that may be left inside or on the tubes. Run lukewarm water through the beer tubes at least three times in order to clear away any remaining chemicals.
Step 8: Reassemble
Once you have cleaned and rinsed the tubes, you can put your clean kegerator back together.
Replace the faucet and keg coupler and reassemble the kegerator. Put the parts back in their proper places and make sure they're secure so no leaks can occur from them.
How often should kegerator beer lines be cleaned?
If you have your very own kegerator, please do not neglect it! It is essential to clean the draft lines on a regular basis – every two weeks is highly recommended. Cleaning your beer tubes is not negotiable, it’s a matter of health and hygiene.
It is also recommended that you clean your draft lines quarterly with an acid-based solution. This will help keep them free of bacteria growth that can cause off-flavors or spoil the taste of your delicious home craft brews.
Should I use a powder cleanser or a liquid cleanser?
There are two main types of cleansers, both with their own benefits and drawbacks. Both need to be dissolved in water before use.
- The liquid cleanser is easier to dissolve in water.
- The powder cleaner is travel-friendly but is messier to handle, and may leave behind a residue if not properly dissolved.
Regardless of what type of cleanser you choose, make sure that you thoroughly rinse your kegerator lines with water to remove all the cleaner residue.
A kegerator is an essential piece of equipment, especially for bars and pubs. It helps deliver the best-tasting beer for your customers to enjoy.
However, the taste of your beer could get compromised if you are too lazy to clean your kegerator. Cleaning your kegerator regularly is not a choice or an option. It is a must!
After reading this guide on how to clean a kegerator, you’ll realize that it doesn’t take more than 20 minutes of your time if you follow the easy steps above.
Always note the date of cleaning so that you can run an accurate cleaning schedule. This is especially important if you're running a bar or restaurant with multiple people on staff. This will ensure that line cleaning is followed up on regularly, and everything runs smoothly.
Maintain a cleaning log and post it inside the cooler or anywhere else where employees can easily find it, so they know how often their equipment needs an overhaul.
Browse all our commercial refrigeration equipment.