Growlers are a really great way to bring your favorite craft brew home with you. They’re convenient, they’re eco-friendly, and they’re fun to use! Most breweries will fill your growler for you for a set price as long as it is completely clean. Below are some suggestions on how to get your growler perfectly beer-ready. 

3 Ways To Clean Your Growler

1. Rinse with hot water

Growlers should always be cleaned immediately after emptying in order to prevent bacteria growth. If you’ve just emptied your growler, you can usually get away with just a hot water rinse. Get your tap really hot, fill the growler with water, swirl it around, drain, and repeat. 

2. Scrub with a brush

If you want to do a more serious cleaning, the Brewers Association suggests a carboy cleaning brush. They come in an L-shape so you can effectively scrub the bottom and sides of your growler. Be sure there is no exposed metal on the brush, though, as this can scratch up the inside. 

3. Growler cleaning tablets or powder

Dish soap is generally not recommended to use on growlers, as it can leave residue that affects the taste of your beer. If you’ve left beer sitting in your growler too long, or you just want a more thorough clean, an unscented cleaning tablet or powder is the way to go. 

The best powder option is PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash). Add about an ounce to your growler, fill with hot water, and let the cleaner do its thing for half an hour. It’ll effectively and safely remove any stuck residue from your growler! 

Cleaning tablets do much the same thing. Although if you had to choose one of these cleaners, we would recommend PBW as it is specially formulated for brewery items.

If you’re looking for a full sanitization option, Star Stan is what most brewers turn to. It completely eliminates bacteria from your containers.

Beer growler at a cookout.

How Do You Clean A Really Dirty Growler?

If you’ve left beer sitting in your growler for too long, you might notice some unwanted lifeforms growing in there. Mold and bacteria can be a big problem, but an accidental science project doesn’t mean you need to throw your growler out.

Swishing crushed ice and salt around your growler can help scour the sides and break up mold and gunk. But you can also go straight to PBW to remove the residue. You’ll definitely want to finish with a sanitizer like Star Stan to make sure your growler is perfectly clean and safe to use.

See also: Best Portable Growlers for Fresh Cold Beer On-The-Go

Keep in mind that if you can’t clean your growler right away, it’s best to stick it in the fridge until you can. The cool temperatures will help prevent any yucky bacteria growth until you can properly clean it. 

If you’re planning on bringing your growler to your local brewery for a refill, be sure to check with them to see if they have any special instructions. 


Cleaning a growler is an easy process – you’ve just got to make sure you keep up with it! For more information on growlers, be sure to check out our guide on Everything You Need To Know About Growlers.

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