How to clean oak barrels

Written by bailey shoemaker richards
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How to clean oak barrels
Cleaning an oak barrel keeps it fit for storing wine. (Louis-Laurent Grandadam/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Cleaning oak barrels, whether for use in a craft project, for storage, or for holding wine, is an important part of keeping the barrels usable. The interior of a barrel can become a breeding ground for algae and bacteria, especially if it is damp, and it is important to clean the barrel properly. Fortunately, cleaning a barrel is a simple process that requires no special chemicals. Many chemical cleaners can damage the oak barrel and make it unsuitable for holding wine.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Barrel cleaning stand
  • Hose
  • Cotton cloths

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  1. 1

    Empty the oak barrel completely. Turn it over and allow any remaining wine to drain from the barrel, or remove any objects still inside the barrel.

  2. 2

    Place the barrel on a cleaning stand. The cleaning stand will hold the barrel in place during the cleaning process and prevent it from rolling around and being damaged.

  3. 3

    Rinse out the interior of the barrel with hot water. Use a hose with a pressure sprayer to clean the interior of the barrel thoroughly. Wash the barrel with hot water until all wine and build-up are removed from the walls.

  4. 4

    Scrub the interior of the barrel with a cotton cloth. Continue spraying the interior if the cloth has wine on it, as any remaining residue can provide a place for organisms to grow.

  5. 5

    Once the interior of the barrel has been cleaned with hot water, rinse it with cold water, and dry it before storing. Bacteria and algae can thrive in warm, moist areas; ensure that the barrel stays cool and dry.

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