Ask Wine Wizard

One Step Cleaning


Bob Kyle — Michigan asks,

I use One Step to clean and sanitize my bottles. I fill the sink, wash bottles, then rinse with tap water. I use bottle brushes to scrub and then let them soak in the solution. Am I cleaning and sanitizing correctly? I use bottled water for everything, except while rinsing. During washing (with One Step), and then rinsing the carboys and bottles, I use my city tap water for convenience. I rinse the One Step, because it seems to have a slippery feeling when I work with it. The package says I don’t have to rinse, but I do. After rinsing the One Step, am I leaving a coating of water in the carboy and bottles with chorine that could impact the wine?

One Step is a proprietary cleaning (and somewhat sanitizing) solution that is a secret formula; even the Wine Wizard will never know exactly what it’s made out of. From what I can find out, though, it sounds very similar to products I’ve used in my wineries which often go by trade names like Peroxycarb. Essentially, these products are a basic (high pH) powder of sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate that also releases hydrogen peroxide when water is added. The basic nature of the solution loosens scale and detritus (the cleaning action) and releases hydrogen peroxide, which is a strong oxidizer and disrupts microbial cellular function to such a degree it can repress or kill yeast and bacteria. The makers of One Step and similar products usually will give a recommended concentration and contact time in order to maximize their cell-slaying power. For One Step, it’s 1 tablespoon per gallon (4 L) of water. One Step claims, by its very name, to be a “one and done” kind of cleaner and sanitizer. From what I can learn about it, it is
Response by Alison Crowe.