How to Clean a Growler

Did you find a beer you really love but your local brewery doesn’t sell it bottled or canned? Growlers are a great way to take home beer from your favorite brewery after a day of tasting.

You can typically bring your own growler to a brewery or purchase on site for a few dollars.

There are many benefits to growlers – they are reusable, relatively inexpensive and convenient.

howler growler

However, with those benefits comes the challenge of cleaning them. If you own one of the standard brown glass jugs you’ve probably noticed how small the opening of the growler is.

This opening size is great for pouring that delicious beer – but not so much for cleaning.

The good news is, cleaning your growler is not complicated. As long as you follow a few simple steps, it will be funk free and ready for many future uses.

The quick answer for how to clean a beer growler: rinse well with warm water and allow to air dry.

But for those folks who like step by step instructions, let’s dive into the specifics.

Steps Clean a Beer Growler

It is important to clean the growler as soon as possible after pouring that last pint.

Just like with wiping things that spill on your countertop, the sooner you attend to it the less work you’ll have to do in the long run.

  1. Rinse the growler with warm water.
  2. Swirl the water around inside
  3. Dump the water
  4. Rinse, swirl and dump a few times to ensure all the inner surface has been cleaned
  5. Rinse the growler cap under warm water
  6. Place the growler upside down in a drying rack to allow any remaining water to drip out

Once your growler is dry, store it with the cap off.

Next time you are ready to head to the brewery, give the inside of the growler a little sniff test. Hopefully, there’s no funky smell. In that case, just give it another good rinse and you’re off to refill.

How Clean a Funky Growler

We’ve all been there. You had the best intentions of cleaning the growler promptly, but that was before the beer kicked in. Now you wake up the next morning and the sticky, smelly growler is still in the sink.

All is not lost. You can still clean and reuse the growler, but it may take a little more effort.

Basically, we’re going to follow the above steps but add in a good soak between the rinsing and drying.

Now, here’s an important tip: do NOT soak your growler in a soapy water.

Why? Because of the small opening of the neck, it is difficult to ensure all the soapy water is rinsed and allowed to drain from the bottle. You don’t want your next beer to taste like soap, do you?

Instead of you basic dishwashing soap, use a solution of a dye free, perfume free oxygenated cleaner, such as Oxiclean Versatile Free.

Oxiclean Versatile Free can be found at many grocery stores, but if you have trouble finding it you can always find it online (affiliate link).

For most growlers, add about a teaspoon of the Oxiclean and then fill with warm water. Allow the cleaner to dissolve and stand in the growler for about an hour. Proceed with a rinsing well.

After the growler has dried following the guidelines above, give it a good sniff. Hopefully there’s no odor and you can call it done.

But if the growler still stinks, we need to step up our efforts.

  1. Fill your sink with enough warm water to cover the growler and then add in Oxiclean at about the same ratio – 1 teaspoon per gallon.
  2. Submerge your growler to get the cleaning solution inside and let it sit for an hour. (And throw in the cap, too)
  3. Remove the growler from the cleaning solution.
  4. Rinse and swirl with warm water
  5. place the growler back in the Oxiclean and water.
  6. Allow it to soak again for another hour or longer.
  7. Then rinse and air dry upside down in drying rack

If it still smells after drying, repeat the soaking until there’s no longer any lingering stink.

Your local brewery may refuse to fill a dirty growler, so unless you want to buy a new one on the spot it is best to take care of the one you have.

A clean growler will also ensure your beer tastes great. So now that you have a clean growler it is time to go get it filled again!


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