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I found an old stainess steel flask that someone once gave me. I want to use it again to hold whiskey.

There doesn't seem to be any liquid inside, though it may have contained some just before the flask was forgotten.

A stainless steel flask

How do I properly clean to start using it again? Just hot water? No soap? Can I trust it? It was only used to hold whiskey.

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6 Answers 6

I have always had a lot of success using uncooked rice as an abrasive and a dish soap/hot water combo. Shake it like crazy and it's clean. It's a safe, simple, and effective method.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

I'm answering my own question because I did a bunch of stuff from a lot of resources, and collected valuable information that more people may use in the future when coming across this post.

I wanted to use household items. My flask is a stainless steel with some copper.

What I actually did:

  1. Cleaned with a small amount of tap water, shaking it a little bit;

  2. Boiled a glass of water, and a bottle of vinegar/water (50%/50%);

  3. Cleaned the flask with the boiled water, them with the vinegar solution (50% of the flask, shaking it a little bit). Then cleaned again with the boiled water (50% of the flask), shaking it, them with the vinegar solution again, then with the boiled water (50%), then with boiled water again (this time 100%). I didn't emptied the flask from this last cleaning;

  4. I let the water inside for 24h;

  5. 24h later, I opened the flask, and emptied it in a glass cup: there wasn't any solid particles, and the water didn't have any taste, so I believed it was ok to put some whiskey.

Maybe your flask is an old one, with leather, I don't know. In this case, I suggest you check these resources:

http://www.whiskywhiskywhisky.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=4254

http://www.thetfp.com/tfp/tilted-knowledge-how/29045-cleaning-inside-antique-hip-flask.html

http://ask.metafilter.com/111820/Mildewsmelling-hip-flask-can-it-be-salvaged

http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showthread.php?t=18080329

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That has to be the cleanest flask the planet has ever seen. –  Carey Gregory Dec 21 '12 at 1:23

If there's no evil smell emanating from the flask, just give it a good rinse with hot water. Otherwise, a 20 minutes soak in a dilute solution of bleach (around 1 tbs per gallon), followed by extensive rinsing with warm water should do the trick.

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There are a number of flask and bottle brushes available online that will help with this task. I also found this set of instructions at ehow that recommends the use of boiling water and distilled white vinegar. Unlike most cleaning products, white vinegar will not leave a lingering scent in the flask.

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Note that ehow content often seems to be written by people who are not exactly experts; in this case I'd say sure, vinegar is generally great for cleaning, but the specific instructions are likely only one of many ways that'd work. –  Jefromi Nov 6 '12 at 15:33
    
@jefromi, which is why I vet my sources and use judgement before passing anything along to our community. Thanks for your input! :-) –  Kristina Lopez Nov 6 '12 at 16:12
2  
Sure, I'm just saying - in this case, I think the important thing is the use of vinegar, not the specific instructions. (I suspect for example that you could stir with something other than a spoon, and more seriously, that a funnel would be a good idea, and that heating the vinegar would help at least as much as heating the water.) –  Jefromi Nov 6 '12 at 17:40
    
I agree - and that a brush would do an even better job if one is available. The funnel is definitely a good idea. –  Kristina Lopez Nov 6 '12 at 19:01

Steradent tablets are best for cleaning any type of flask in my experience.

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Is the flask actually stainless, or merely something that's been plated bright and shiny? I'd go w vigorously shaking some sand around inside of it, to loosen any corrosion/crud deposits. Follow that w hot water/detergent, and brushing as possible. Finally, give it a soak in Vodka/Everclear. Check to see that the rinse solvent comes out clear and without chunks. For all you know, someone from the 1990's left Cream liqueur in there to evaporate.

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