Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cleaning the FoodSaver Hose

This is the third time I've had to do this.... what a pain!

While sealing the milk in jars is a great idea, and re-using the canning lids works beautifully most of the time, sometimes the lid has a little nick or kink in it. When there is the FoodSaver will suck up milk through the hose.

The FoodSaver company would probably not want me to take off the bottom and service it myself. But I decided if there were screws on the bottom and I have a screwdriver that fits, well.... I might as well see how it was put together inside. I might come up with a way to either replace the hose or clean it out.

Cleaning the hose involves taking off the bottom of the FoodSaver. There are 8 small Phillip's head screws that need to be removed.
Next I removed the 3 screws that hold the white hose wheel assembly to the bottom.
 Don't remove the three small screws that hold the hose onto the top of the assembly (the screws in the black plastic fitting in the center of the hose assembly). I did that the first time and it wasn't necessary. The hose is easily removed from the bottom of the assembly. Keep the screws in different piles or in small bowls. They are all different sizes, but since they are all tiny, it is really hard to tell them apart.

This is what the inside of the bottom looks like. The hose wheel assembly is already removed from the bottom, as is the hose that was filled with milk. 
The rubber band is really important! After you get the three screws out of the hose wheel, reach below the wheel and hold the underside while you take the whole assembly off. The assembly is in two pieces (three if you count the spring that winds the hose up). Vet2Be and I made the mistake of just taking the assembly off the first time and the spring unwound into a big mess. We managed to get it all back together, but now I just reach underneath and hold the top and bottom of the wheel assembly in place and then wrap a rubber band around it.

You will also have to remove the hose guide (it's a small piece of black plastic that the hose runs through that attaches to the base of the FoodSaver.) It will have two or three screws (there are three holes for screws, but I only have two screws--I probably lost one screw)
This photo was taken while the plastic hose was still attached at the base of the hose assembly.
 After removing the hose from the assembly I ran cool water through the hose until the water ran clear. Not very long at all.

Then I used an old fish tank air pump to dry out the inside of the FoodSaver hose.
This is the pump we used. Nothing fancy, but you need the hose from the air pump.
Can you tell I use rubber bands alot?

Attach the end of the air pump hose to the small end of the FoodSaver hose so the air is blowing in the opposite direction that the milk came into the hose. It probably doesn't really matter which way the FoodSaver hose attaches to the air pump hose, it just fits better that way with my set up.
Turn the air pump on and let it go until the inside of the FoodSaver hose is dry. It usually takes at least 3 hours in our dry air to get the inside of the hose dry.

Put the small end of the hose back into the hose wheel assembly. Then wind the hose around and out the hole on the side (by my thumb).
I had to re-wind the spring a bit, too. I didn't wind it quite as tightly as it came from the factory. I like it better when the hose doesn't get reeled in at 90 mph, especially when I'm sealing multiple jars. I don't have to keep pulling the hose out for every jar.

Next screw the hose assembly back on with the three small screws.

I'm hoping I don't have to do this too often. Three times is plenty. I always worry that I will either loose screws or mix them up. I'm getting faster at it, though. Is that a good thing?!


darius said...

Why do you vac-pac milk? Just curious

TJ said...

If I vac-pac the milk there is no air exchange between the milk and the air in the fridge. It keeps the milk fresher longer. I also put the milk in buckets of water and ice in the fridge so that it cools very fast. If the milk is vac-packed, then there is no way for water to accidentally contaminate the milk.

We don't have any flavor change in the milk for 5-7 days if we vac-pack and ice bath. My boys will drink the milk up to two weeks old, too!

And if the milk stays fresher longer I have just as good quality cheese from day 1 milk as I do from milk that is 5 days old.

The FoodSaver was expensive, and I originally bought it because I didn't want to wax my cheese (what a pain in the neck!) I was blown away by how much fresher the milk tasted after vac-packing and would recommend it if you have lots of milk that you can't use as fast as you want.

darius said...

Cool idea, Thanks for the explanation!

Karen Denise said...

Thank you so much for this post!! I had to take mine apart to clean tonight, and your photos were SO helpful. I just wanted to let you know that when you said, "You will also have to remove the hose guide (it's a small piece of black plastic that the hose runs through that attaches to the base of the FoodSaver.) It will have two or three screws (there are three holes for screws, but I only have two screws--I probably lost one screw)" I looked before dis-assembly and only have two screws too. You didn't lose one... I am not sure why there is an open hole in the middle section, but mine looks just like yours. Rest assured you haven't lost any parts. :-)

TJ said...

Nice to know I didn't loose any! I'm glad you found the photos helpful :)

Erin said...

I think some of that milk build up was my fault! When we milked for you guys a while back, the milk bubbles kept going up. Sorry!

TJ said...

I doubt it was your fault. I did it twice before this post :) Now I push the start button and when the blue lights fill up the circle, I push cancel. It still seals the jar, but the vacuum doesn't pull long enough to suck milk up into the hose.

Shortrest said...

Any help with getti the spring back in? Mine was disassembled before I thought to look up instructions and now I can't get it back together. :(

TJ said...

Getting the spring back in was a pain in the neck! Mine sprung the first time I took it apart.

It just took patience and time. Put the spring in the hole it came out of, wind it around the plastic wheel, then put the other parts back on top.

I remember having to hold everything in place because it would spring out if I didn't.

cbrillow said...

Hi TJ,

Thanks for this tutorial - it emboldened me to clean out my hose yesterday! I came up with an alternate method that avoids removing the reel and spring, and actually flushes the hose out with a liquid cleaner.

I'm a model airplane enthusiast, and have an inexpensive hand-cranked fluid pump that's used in fueling the airplanes. It has two pieces of surgical tubing attached -- one for the inlet and one for the outlet.

I removed the black Foodsaver hose from the inlet port on the reel, as shown in your first picture. Then I attached the outlet line from my pump to the inlet port on the reel.

The tubing that feeds the pump was placed in a Mason jar filled with hot, soapy water. Finally, I unreeled enough of the accessory hose and put it into the Mason jar, essentially setting up a recirculation pool.

Then, I happily cranked my little brains out for a few minutes, circulating the ersatz cleaning solution through the entire length of the tubing, and removing any nasties from the inside.

I repeated the process with clean water and blew out the remaining water using lung power. From that point, it was a simple matter to reattach the Foodsaver hose to the reel inlet port, pop the 8 screws back into the base and sit back to admire a job well done!

And, a couple of hours later, we had a couple of nice steaks marinated in my Foodsaver marinating accessory!

TJ said...

Thanks for sharing!

LoopyLinda said...

I just tried to seal Royal icing to save a few days and some of the icing got up in the tube so I took a cup of warm water and sucked it through the tube and then turned it off and it drained back out. I did this three times and had to drain the tray but it worked! I think the fact that is was fresh and not hardened helped so if you wanna give it a try.

LoopyLinda said...

I just sucked some Royal icing up into mine and quickly took a cup of warm water and flushed it, turned it off and the water drained out. I did this three times but had to drain the catch tray. It appears to have worked., I was freaking out because it RI dries it is hard. LOL Whew, Maybe try this and see if it works for you. Nice to have the tutorial for any future mishaps. Thanks!

dashrum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TJ said...

great idea!

Lorna Hutcheson said...

Soooo glad to have found this!! I was trying to seal my jars of freshly made veggie juice (to keep air out, nutrients in) and my V3485 did a great job of sucking up the juice before I could turn it off! Grrr. It had sucked up a little bit last week, but I got it turned off before it got over 1/2 way up the hose, this time it went all the way up and started going into the black tube. Anyway, last week I emailed to ask how to clean the hose and got back a reply that the hose was permanently attached to my model. Thank you so much foodsaver for all your help!! (Love my unit, but not your customer service this time!!) Anyway, your direction have saved me!!! Unfortunately, the stuff it pulled up last week is all dried inside the hose, so I now have it soaking in a container of water (which I put one end in the hot water and blew all the air out of the hose, then sucked until I had the hose full of water, squeezed it shut and put the second end into the water and 'think' I managed to keep the hose full of water. Hopefully after it soaks awhile the dried gunk will soften and come off!! Thanks again for your directions! HUGE help!

Unknown said...

I didn't read it all the way through - cause I'm a dumbass. And the spring unsprung and I am completely not mechanical inclined. I have been messing with it for hours and can't figure out how to reassemble it. Advice?

TJ said...

I'm not sure I can help you unless I was standing next to you. Sorry about that!

gt350t said...

Thanks! Followed your instructions and it worked perfect. I went a little further and removed all the vacuum hoses and blew them out too. I used my air compressor. The rubber band trick also helped. I was able to keep the tension on the spring.


Pam Headlee said...

I pulled the hose out too far and now I just want to rewind it. I can't even get the machine apart! You said there were 8 screws. Even when I took out the 6 that I could find it didn't come loose in any way. Any suggestions for getting the bottom off?

TJ said...

I'm not sure which Food Saver you have so I'm not sure how to help you. Is yours the same model that I have?

You might check the back to see if there are any screws towards the bottom on the back of the machine. Sometimes I've seen the bottom of a machine attached through screws on the back.

The Brockbank Corner said...

You can bypass the jar attachment all together by putting your mason jar in one of the canisters. Don't screw the lid of the mason jar on very tight. Put the entire jar in the canister with the canister lid on and attach your hose to the canister. It will pull the air out of the jar inside and seal it. That way you never have to clean your hose again!

TJ said...

My mason jars are 1/2 gallon size. I didn't know they had canisters that were that big! I'll have to look for some. Thanks for the tip!

Unknown said...

My spring unsound as well, can get it back in, but there is also a little plastic arm that sits on top of the coil, but I'm not sure how this should be attached on the mechanism