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A key way to save water and chemicals is to reduce the number of cleaning steps, for example by eliminating the neutralization step or intermediate rinses. Switching to products with lower salt content, or replacing sodium with potassium ingredients, can also be a wise water quality sustainability practice. Avoiding chemical usage altogether through the application of hot water or steam can markedly improve water quality outcomes, but may come with trade-offs. 

When evaluating a new cleaning chemical or product, it is important to understand its chemical composition (e.g., potassium and sodium content), what are its intended cleaning tasks (e.g., tartrate removal), and how it works to achieve its intended result.

Cleaning and sanitation needs are facility-specific, so be sure to trial any new products to ensure they suit the winery’s purposes. Consult your chemical vendor to learn what options may be appropriate to your operation. Ask your vendor to clarify or provide more information if your questions about product composition, purpose, and applicability are not sufficiently answered.

A few of the common 'generic' cleaning and sanitizing agents with potential to lower water use or eliminate rinses include:

Some modern ‘alternative’ cleaning products are specially formulated to conserve water and lower salt loading while still delivering sufficient cleaning power for many uses. Although these products are often more expensive, the savings from reduced water use and lower wastewater treatment costs may yield a net financial benefit.

Note: Discussion of the products listed below does NOT amount to an endorsement by CSWA. These are examples of products that have been deployed with some success at California wineries. During the Water Tool's development period, these products were referenced by key advisors as example products for illustrative purposes only. 

Filmaway from Napa-based Heritage Systems uses a potassium hydroxide base (also known as caustic potash). This product eliminates the neutralization step and requires a single intermediate rinse requiring only water. For applications requiring sanitization, Heritage recommends use of a peroxyacetic acid (PAA) sanitizer as a final step. Filmaway is suitable for cleaning tanks, transfer lines, bottling lines, tanker trucks, floors, walls and walkways.

Destainex from Scott Laboratories is formulated from a sodium percarbonate base. The manufacturer claims Destainex has sanitizing abilities, in addition to cleaning, which may enable a one-step process followed by a final rinse. It is recommended for use with tanks, lines, winery surfaces and equipment.


CleanSkin from Scott Laboratories is a non-caustic, ‘one-process’ cleaner. The original formulation is a sodium-based formulation, while ‘CleanSkin-K’ is potassium-based. It is recommended for removal of wine tartar, color materials, protein and organic soils on stainless steel and associated materials.


BevSan Oxi-K from Canada-based AO Wilson is a potassium-based cleaner which eliminates the need for a neutralization step. It is suitable for use on tanks, bottling lines and other equipment in the winery, and removes fermentation residue, tartrate, protein, color, organic soil, mold, mildew and biofilms.

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