Sanitation is of vital importance during all steps of the brewing process.
Even brief contact with the air can result in contamination from dust and wild yeasts. For that reason it is especially important to do all bottling and racking procedures in as clean an environment as possible.
Make sure the area you are working in is clean, and try to limit air flow as much as possible; no open windows nearby and no fan, no sweeping or vacuuming in the same room as your brew during any part of the process.
Sanitize all of your equipment before you need to use it.
For the racking and bottling procedures, this will mean swishing a sanitizing solution, such as Star-San or Iodophor, around inside the carboy, as well as running the same solution through the siphon hose.
Rinse all bottles in sanitizer, and soak the caps in a bowl of sanitizer before applying them - unless you're using bail top bottles of course. Cap each bottle as soon as it is filled.
Check out these other helpful articles we've got in our Homebrewing & Spirits section of the Homestead Library...
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