Kegerators are a great way to keep the party going. But with improper care, they can get dirty and lead to illnesses involving nausea, headaches, cramps, and fevers. That being said, it’s important to clean your home kegerator every now and then; on the outside, and the inside.
Before cleaning your kegerator, make sure you have the kits and equipment to do so. There are specific kits for cleaning them, which usually range anywhere from $20-$80 at hardware stores and online stores like Amazon. Obviously, the more expensive the kit, the better clean you’ll be able to get.
Other things you’ll need that don’t necessarily come in kits are:
When buying materials, try to get ones that don’t have a lot of scent to them (for example, the soap). When you’re cleaning, one of the best ways to judge cleanliness is to smell the kegerator. A lot of the time, grime and bacteria that have built up and may cause a problem will have a certain stench to them.
The first thing you need to do is make sure your kegerator is turned off and the CO2 tanks are turned off and taken out. Not doing this may damage the wires and or gas tubes that are inside the device.
Now that you have your equipment in order, it’s time to wash all of the open surfaces. For this, you can use your disinfecting wipes or a cloth soaked in warm water and soap. It’s important to get all of the surfaces, as some of the least likely spots can create the most bacteria.
Main areas of focus should be the CO2 tanks, beer taps, the outside of beer lines, regulators, the main body itself, and other areas where grime can build up (ex. Drip trays and on the floor of the kegerator). If need be, use multiple cloths or wipes to effectively clean these areas.
In order to be able to access that beer lines and clean them, you’ll need to remove the faucets and coupler. As there are many different types of kegerators, it’s important to check the manual to see how to do this properly. Removing them in a way that is meant for another model may damage your kegerator, forcing you to buy expensive replacement parts.
NOTE: Most manuals are available online if you have thrown away the original one that came with the original packaging.
Once this is done, you should have a tube that runs from the top of the kegerator down out one of the sides. You’ll want to place a bucket under the open end of the tube, as this is where the liquid will come out as you clean the lines.
Using beer line cleaning pump that is located in your cleaning kit, fill the container part with a mixture of warm water and beer line cleaning solution. From here, use the pump to pass the cleaning solution through the tube and into the bucket underneath. This will thoroughly clean the sides of the beer line and remove any built up grime that may be contaminating the lines.
Once this is done, simply run water through the lines a couple of times to remove any extra cleaner that may still be attached to the inside. You will notice that there will be a lack of bubbles coming out of the beer line. This is usually a good indicator that the cleaning solution has been cleaned out.
After you’ve cleaned the beer lines, it’s important to clean the faucets and couplers as well, seeing as they are breeding ground for bacteria.
Carefully disassemble the faucets and couplers. Similar to the beer line, it’s important to follow the owner’s manual to see how to do this properly- improperly doing it may damage the pieces all together.
Once you have the pieces separated, fill a bowl with very hot water and a little bit of beer line solution. Put all of the parts into the bowl and let them sit for about 30 minutes to an hour. Make sure to know which parts go with each device; the last thing you want to do is realize you’re missing a piece when you go to reassemble it.
NOTE: Make sure to wash the washers that come with the faucets. Some people claim that it’s not important, but these washers can be the source of a lot of bacteria build-up.
Once you’ve removed the pieces, carefully dry them and scrub them with the little brush that comes in your cleaning kit. If you’re not satisfied with the cleanliness of the pieces, put them back in the water for a little longer. If the water starts to turn a different color, replace it.
Now that you’ve cleaned your kegerator inside and out, it’s time to reassemble it. Using the owner’s manual, you should easily be able to put all of the pieces back together and reassemble the entire thing without much trouble. It’s important to reassemble the kegerator the same way you disassembled it.
However, if you are having trouble, or the manual isn’t very clear, look online for videos of other people doing it. If you’re missing a part, search inside the kegerator to see if it got lodged somewhere it’s not supposed to be. If you can’t find it, put the device away in a safe place and order a spare part.
NOTE: Make sure that the pieces are all tight. The last thing you want is beer leaking when you pour, forcing you to redo the entire process over again.
If you don’t have a kit on hand to clean your kegerator, don’t worry - it’s possible to clean without one.
The first thing to do is clean it as you would if you have a kit; using warm water, soap, and disinfecting wipes. This is to ensure that no buildup is sitting around on the visible surfaces.
Next, disassemble the faucets and couplers as you would with a kit. You can do this using a wrench from your local hardware store (make sure to check the size of the screws beforehand). Make a warm-water solution to clean these parts in a large bowl and let them sit for around 30 minutes to an hour. You can use steel wool to clean any tough-to-remove grime that you may still see after you let them sit.
To clean the beer lines, you’ll need to create a hand-pump. This can be a difficult process, so be sure to look online to find out how to create one. Most of the time, you’ll be able to find a tutorial on creating a hand-pump for your model specifically. If possible, follow those instructions as they will be able to ensure that you’re not damaging you beer lines or kegerator as a whole.
Then, using the same method as with a kit, pump a cleaning solution through the beer lines and into the bucket, flushing it with water afterwards to ensure it’s clean and clear. Once this is done, simply reassemble your kegerator and start using it again.
Sometimes, the keg taps can get very dirty, therefore contaminating your beer. In order to clean these thoroughly, you’ll want to buy a detergent that focuses on cleaning taps (they can be found at hardware stores or online).
Once you’ve removed and the parts of the tap, soak them in cleaning solution and warm water. Then, using the pump you use to clean the beer lines, clean the insides. Follow this by rinsing them all out in cold water.
If there’s any build-up, use a brush or steel wool to clean them. Resoak in cold water and let them dry thoroughly. Not letting the pieces dry properly may lead to the buildup of mold and other bacteria that may cause illnesses.
Now that you have all of the steps to properly clean your kegerator, it’s time to get out there and do it yourself. The importance of keeping the entire device clean can’t be stressed enough- neglecting to clean it regularly or after many uses can lead to severe illnesses. It’s important that, if you don't understand something, go online or search the manual for answers.