Draft Beer 101: The Basics of Beer Line Cleaning

Protect the flavor of your beer when you learn how to clean beer lines. 

cleaning kit

There’s no faster way to ruin the taste of your draft beer, then by not keeping your draft lines clean. All sorts of nasty things can collect or grow in lines that aren’t kept clean, including bacteria, mold, yeast and sediment (beer stone). This contaminants can create foaming and taint the taste and aroma of your beer.

If you are among the lucky souls with your very own kegerator, please, for the love of all that is good and holy in this world, clean your lines. It’s really not an optional thing.

How Often Should Beer Lines Be Cleaned?

It is recommended that you clean your draft lines with caustic beer line cleaning solution a minimum every two weeks or, at least, every time you change kegs.

Once a quarter (every three months) your draft lines should also be cleaned with an acid-based beer line cleaner to remove inorganic materials, such as beer stone and sediment, from your draft lines. 


How To Clean Beer Lines

How To Clean Beer Lines with a Hand Pump Cleaning Kit 

beer line cleaning

For home use, we suggest beer line cleaning kits that use air pressure (either hand-pumped or powered by your CO2 tank) to push a cleaning solution through the beer lines of your kegerator or draft system. Doing this is simple, quick, and it wipes out all the gunk that harms the taste of your beer and can cause excess foaming. Check out our step-by-step video guide on how to use a hand pumped beer line cleaning kit below.

Tools You’ll Need

Step-by-Step Instructions for using a Beer Line Cleaning Kit

Step 1: Turn off your CO2 tank and regulator

how to clean draft beer lines, step 1

Step 2: Disconnect your faucet using your spanner wrench

how to clean draft beer lines, step 2

Step 3: Disconnect the coupler from your keg, and run the beer line into the bucket

how to clean draft beer lines, step 3

Step 4: Fill your cleaning keg with cleaning solution and water, and connect it to the faucet shank

how to clean draft beer lines, step 4

Step 5: Pump the cleaning solution through your system until jar is empty

how to clean draft beer lines, step 5

Step 6: Disconnect cleaning jar, rinse out any remaining solution and fill with clean water

how to clean draft beer lines, step 6

Step 7: Reconnect the jar, and flush the beer lines by pumping water through the system (do two times)

how to clean draft beer lines, step 7

Step 8: Disconnect the jar, and reconnect your faucet and coupler

how to clean draft beer lines, step 8

Step 9: Turn your CO2 and regulator back on 

how to clean draft beer lines, step 9


How to Clean Beer Lines With A Cleaning Keg

cleaning keg

If you don’t want to pump your cleaning solution through your system by hand, then you can get a pressurized cleaning keg that uses your CO2 to flush and clean your system.

Tools You’ll Need

Step-by-step Instruction for using a Cleaning Keg

Step 1: Place bucket under your draft faucet

how to clean beer lines with a cleaning keg, step 1

Step 2: Remove cap from the cleaning keg, and fill it with a mixture of warm water and the proper amount of cleaning solution

how to clean beer lines with a cleaning keg, step 2

Step 3: Disconnect your couple from your keg, and connect to the cleaning keg. Bottle will pressurize and fill the line with cleaning solution

how to clean beer lines with a cleaning keg, step 3

Step 4: Open your faucet and allow liquid to flow until you can begin to see cleaning solution coming out. Then close the faucet and allow the solution to soak inside your lines for 5-10 minutes 

how to clean beer lines with a cleaning keg, step 4

Step 5: After letting your lines soak, open the faucet and allow at least 2 liters of solution to flush through your system

how to clean beer lines with a cleaning keg, step 5

Step 6: Once you’ve run enough solution through your lines, disconnect the keg coupler from the cleaning bottle

how to clean beer lines with a cleaning keg, step 6

Step 7: Pull the pressure relief valve on bottle to relieve pressure. Unscrew the cap on the bottle and empty out any remaining cleaning solution, and thoroughly rinse the cleaning keg

how to clean beer lines with a cleaning keg, step 7

Step 8: Refill the cleaning keg with cold, fresh water, and cover keg with cap. Reattach your keg coupler

how to clean beer lines with a cleaning keg, step 8

Step 9: Open faucet to allow the fresh water to flush out any remaining cleaning solution. You should allow at least 2 liters of fresh water to flow through your lines

how to clean beer lines with a cleaning keg, step 9

Step 10: Disconnect coupler from cleaning keg, and reattach to your beer keg

how to clean beer lines with a cleaning keg, step 10


Cleaning Beer Lines with an Electric Recirculating Cleaning Pump

recirculating beer line cleaning pump

An optimal solution for commercial and long draw draft systems is an Electric Recirculating Line Cleaning Pump. When using the electric recirculation pump, your draft lines are connected together to create a loop that allows cleaning solution and water to flow through the pump and system. The turbulent flow created by the pump is a much more thorough way to clean than simply soaking the lines in the cleaning solution. Electric pumps are simple to use with an on/off switch and built-in timer that shuts the pump off automatically. 


How To Clean Your Draft Faucets 

cleaning beer faucet

When working on your lines, we also suggest cleaning your faucet and coupler. This will save time and keep all your parts on the same schedule. You will want to completely disassemble both pieces and let them soak in cleaning solution. Use a faucet cleaning brush to clean out your faucet body to remove any build-up or debris. 

Tools You’ll Need

How-To Clean Draft Beer Faucets 

Step 1: Disconnect your faucet from the shank using your spanner wrench

how to clean a draft faucet, step 1

Step 2: Completely disassemble faucet, including washers

how to clean a draft faucet, step 2

Step 3: Fill the bowl with hot water and a tablespoon of cleaning solution

how to clean a draft faucet, step 3

Step 4: Place your faucet parts in the bowl and let soak for about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how often you clean your lines

how to clean a draft faucet, step 4

Step 5: Once your parts have soaked, clean out the faucet body using the brush to remove any debris or build up

how to clean a draft faucet, step 5

Step 6: Rinse the faucet parts once they are clean, and then reassemble your faucet

how to clean a draft faucet, step 6

Step 7: Reconnect your faucet to the shank with the spanner wrench

how to clean a draft faucet, step 1


Draft Beer Cleaning Log

A draft beer cleaning log helps to keep track of when your draft system was cleaned. This is especially important for bars, restaurants and breweries with multiple people on staff. This ensures that line cleaning will be followed up on a regular basis. Keep a draft beer line cleaning log posted inside your cooler or near your draft system so that the information is readily available.

Public ‘Last Cleaned’ Date

Publicly posting when your draft system was last cleaned lets your friends and customers know you are serious about providing them with the freshest product possible from your draft system. A great way to deliver this message is by posting it on your beer menu, especially if you use a chalkboard or white board to show what is on tap. You can also share the information through your social media channels.


Beer Clean Glassware

While you’re at it, keep your glassware clean, too. Every part of the draft beer dispensing process is imperative to quality taste, and dirty (i.e., not “beer clean”) glassware is an all-too-common mistake in home and commercial bars alike.

beer clean glassware

Think of it this way: if you were dining at a restaurant, and you saw your fork had some crusted food on it from a previous customer, would you use it? Probably not. Drink residue, or worse, detergent residue on a glass will affect the visual presentation and the taste of your beer, much like food residue on an eating utensil. So when you’re cleaning your drinking vessels, do not use dish soap. Use a glassware cleaner, rinse with hot water, and drip-dry completely before use. Learn more about beer clean glassware in our guide.


Follow these tips at home or at your bar, and we guarantee you’ll be serving the freshest, most flavorful beer possible. 

Thirsty For More? Shop Beer Line Cleaning Supplies.

3 Comments

  • Zequek Estrada March 9, 2016 @ 11:55pm

    I didn’t think that a perfect pint of beer is actually more technical than I thought. I guess like all things that are awesome, it takes work, proper handling, and upkeep. I would say the most important factor for me would be to keep it clean.

  • Sagemaya Dandi April 19, 2016 @ 1:58pm

    Good accurate info. As an unartful soul with 28 yrs of HB experience, I would like inclusion of instrn

  • Sagemaya Dandi April 19, 2016 @ 2:00pm

    Good accurate info. As an unartful soul with 28 yrs of HB experience, I would like inclusion of instrn on keeping the line from keg to tap cool.

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