Tip: Using Star San In a Spray Bottle

883157 - Star-San - 32oz.

Star San is my sanitizer of choice.  It’s a food safe and no rinse.  Required contact time is one minute.  It has worked very well for me for quite some time and I’m convinced that it’s one of the most economical solutions available if you use the spray bottle method outlined here.  I’ve used a single 32 oz bottle for years.  Like 5+ years.

How long is Star San good for?
Star San (diluted sanitizing solution) needs to remain under pH 3 AND be crystal clear.  If your solution of Star San gets cloudy, it’s (according to Five Star) no good.  Hard water will make the solution go cloudy quickly.  If this is happening to you, use distilled water.

Some will say that the clear part is not important.  Here’s the information I’ve gotten from Five Star Chemicals on that:  “The cloudy solution could be okay, but it could be bad. The cloudiness is the surfactant coming out of solution. It has reacted, or is reacting with the metals in the water. I don’t know if it is still good, because I don’t know how much surfactant has reacted. I error on the side of caution and suggest that you don’t even mess with it. Use DI water.

So, as long as it’s clear and the pH is below 3 it’s effective.

Cleaning, Sanitizing and… Sterilizing
The first step in sanitizing is cleaning.  Cleaning and sanitizing are two separate steps.  Cleaning gets the physical dirt off, sanitizing kills (many, not all) of germs on an already clean surface.  I typically use a mixture of PBW for cleaning.  Sterilizing is killing everything.  Typically, we’re not interested in sterilizing, we’re only interested in sanitizing.  I use a syringe to dose Star San.

1 Gallon of Star San
I mix up one gallon of Star San at a time.  Just add 6 CCs of Star San to one gallon of distilled or soft water.  How did I come up with 6 CC/ml?  Dosing rate for Star San is 1 ounce per 5 gallons.  That’s .2 ounces for 1 gallon.  .2 ounces = 5.91 ml.  I round that up to 6 CC/ml.

I use a glass gallon jug for storage.  It takes a while but Star San will eat through plastic gallon jugs.  I’ve had it happen and it’s not cool.

The Spray Bottle Method
The key is using what you need.  That fact of the matter is… there’s no need to submerge your equipment in gallons of this stuff.  The middle of your carboy does not need to be sanitized.  Just the surfaces do.

Fill up a spray bottle and you’re good to go.  Liberally coat surfaces in need of sanitizing.  If you have a larger job, like a keg or a carboy, use what you need to sanitize (already clean items) and pour the Star San mixture back in the gallon jug for re-use.  That’s it.  Spray liberally, let stand and drain any excess.

Measuring 6 CCs/mLs10 CC Luer Lock Syringes

I use a syringe to measure the 6 CCs needed.  I’ve used a couple different models over the years.  Some with luer locks and some without.  If you get some with luer lock connections, there’s no need to put anything on the luer lock.

Some syringes…

Spray Bottle  31oRQjzJdPL._SX425_As mentioned previously, Star San can dissolve plastic over time.  The ACC130 is a professional quality, chemical resistant bottle and sprayer.  Check out my [Hands on Review]

Chemical Guys ACC130 Professional Chemical Guys Chemical Resistant Heavy Duty Bottle and Sprayer – 32 oz.

Also ConsiderRubbermaid 32oz Heavy-Duty Spray Bottle


PBW  An important part of sanitizing effectively is starting with something that’s already clean.  I use PBW.11054

Unlike Star San, I go through a lot of PBW.  Under the premise of, buy things in bulk that you use in bulk, I suggest buying the largest size of PBW that makes sense for your budget.

Star San15412


1 Gallon Glass Jug for Star San Storage8158


Testing pHPlastic pH Test Strips, Universal Application (pH 0-14), 100 strips

If you want to test your Star San solution to make sure it’s under 3 make sure your pH test papers or meter read in that range.

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7 thoughts on “Tip: Using Star San In a Spray Bottle

  1. Anonymous

    I put starsan into a corny keg, and have it on tap next to my brewstand. Use distilled water and it will keep forever. I use a spray bottle too, but I just refill it from the keg, it also allows me to flush hoses and anything else without any problems.

  2. Anonymous

    There’s been quite a few tests done on the PH of starsan that has been used in hard water or gotten cloudy after a period of time and the PH level stays where it needs to be. I think it’s a marketing ploy to make you dump it and use more! :-) Check out all the threads at HomeBrewTalk for discussions about it.

  3. Homebrew Finds

    I don’t completely understand the chemistry, but there are two components to the sanitizing power of star san. One is pH.

    The other is some other thing that I don’t know what it’s called. :) But whatever that thing is, when the solution gets cloudy, it’s that thing coming out of solution.

    So, pH is not the only indicator of effectiveness.

    I used cloudy star san for quite a while before learning about this without an issue. I don’t think anyone is saying it does no good at all. I think it has something to do with how much of the whatever it’s called has come out of solution.

    I say better safe than sorry. Distilled water costs under a buck and with this technique a gallon last a long, long time.

  4. Anonymous

    how does cloudiness negatively affect star san? i’ve seen videos of experimentation on this subject. as long as the pH stays balance it should work just fine

  5. Anonymous

    i would also find out exactly what the “cloudy” “thing” is that you speak of that is not chemically good for sanitization, rather than saying “cloudy thing”..sounds less credible..

  6. Anonymous

    I keep a StarSan solution in an old 5 G bottling bucket. Its easy to dispense into a tray to soak stuff in on brewday and then I just pour it back in the bucket (provided it didnt get mucked up). Its really decreased my sanitzer waste.
    By the way, I emailed Five Star and they reported that starsan will not dissolve plastic buckets.

  7. Noiz Boy

    The “thing” is mentioned in their email to you. It’s the surfactant. What that is, is a chemical that lets another chemical coat and get into the knocks and crannies.

    SO the problem is that while the PH is fine and it will kill whatever it touches, if it’s surfactant is not working it won’t touch everything it needs to. THAT is the problem.

    You are talking about saving a few pennies by putting 5 gal of homebrew at risk. Hmmm the math isn’t that hard.


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