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This blog provides information for educational purposes only. Read our complete summary for more info.

February 9, 2016
Last updated

How to Clean Copper Packing Material

Chief Operating Officer at Clawhammer

Before we get started, a reminder: Distilling alcohol is illegal without a federal fuel alcohol or distilled spirit plant permit as well as relevant state permits. Our distillation equipment is designed for legal uses only and the information in this article is for educational purposes only. Please read our complete legal summary for more information on the legalities of distillation.

Clean and Dry Column Packing Material

If you have not read “Increase Final Proof by Packing Still Column,” we recommend giving that a read.

Packing a column with copper packing is an easy and cost-effective way to increase the final proof of distillate. It also has the added benefit of removing sulfur compounds from the distillate. Commercial distillers and essential oils distillers tell us that it is very important to use copper packing on stainless steel distillers because stainless steel does not naturally remove sulfur compounds from the distillate. So, for best results, we recommend using copper packing on both copper and stainless steel stills.

When using Clawhammer Supply distillation equipment, the copper packing material will fit perfectly inside the column. The copper packing material is simply pushed into the column and held in place by friction. Using copper packing ensures that the entire run comes into contact with copper, creating a better final product. It is important to use pure copper packing material. Do not use copper-coated material, make sure it is pure copper.

To keep a still in top running condition, it is important to remove, clean, and dry the copper packing material from the column after each run; otherwise, it will build up undesirables that will carry over into the final product. It is also impossible to clean the column when it is full of dirty packing material. Cleaning the copper packing material is just as important as cleaning the still, and it is not possible to thoroughly clean the packing material without first removing it from the column. 

Removing the copper packing material from a Clawhammer Supply still is simple: Tap the column onto something soft, and the material will easily slide out. Don’t tap the column directly on a hard surface; it could damage the column. Gently tap the column on an old towel (or something similar) and remove each piece of packing material. Once all of it has been removed, toss the packing into a bowl filled with PBW. Leave the packing to soak for anywhere between an hour and twenty-four hours. Remove the packing and rinse it off extremely well with clean water; after rinsing, leave it out to air-dry. Store the cleaned copper packing material until the next run, and keep reusing it until it completely falls apart. 

To purchase copper packing click the picture below.

Distillation Packing Material

Emmet Leahy is the Chief Operating Officer and lead product developer at Clawhammer Supply, a small scale distillation and brewing equipment company. He loves the process of developing new equipment for making beer at home just as much as he does using it to brew his own beer. He's also passionate about teaching people how to use distillation equipment to produce distilled water, essential oils, and with the proper permits, fuel alcohol and distilled spirits.

  • I read your article on how to clean copper packing using “PBW”. The stuff really works. I put some old copper packing that was laying around in a jar and add some PBW and water. With in 30 minutes the packing was turning back to its original color. I was impressed because so many products do not do as they say. Thank you.

    Posted by PAul JOyce on December 10, 2019
  • This looks great I want one so I can carry on my poppa J recipe

    Posted by Tony Williams on February 23, 2016

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