Trisodium Phosphate

Brief Description:

Trisodium Phosphate (Na₃PO₄) is a white crystal that forms an alkaline solution when mixed with water. TSP is non-toxic, cheap, and has a pH of 12-14 in solution. This solution is extremely basic and is used to clean, sanitize, and remove stains from various substrates by saponification. TSP can react with aluminum, causing erosion and hydrogen gas formation. Phosphate is also harmful to the water ecosystems, and thus may be regulated in various areas. TSP can be bought in anhydrous form, but is often produced in partially hydrated form (up to Na₃PO₄•12H₂O) (MSDS, 2002).

Application in Wine Microbiology:

Mild alkalies such as TSP are used when there isn’t a heavy load of microorganisms. Chlorinated TSP can be bought and used in all winery equipment (except for barrels) for sterilization (Fugelsang, 1996). TSP reduces cell viability and membrane integrity, and has a superior antimicrobial effect compared to other phosphate compounds. It is important to note that TSP is most effective against aerobic microbes (Sallam et al., 2004); 1 cup per 5 gallons is the recommended dilution, and washing with citric acid is recommended to neutralize the residue. The recommended procedure is rinse with water, rinse with TSP solution, rinse with water, rinse with citric acid, and then rinse with water again (Vintner Vault, 2010).


  • "Chlorinated TSP (TriSodium Phosphate) - Cleaning/Sanitizer." Welcome to The Vintner Vault, your one stop website for all your commerical and home winemaking needs. Web. 24 Feb. 2010.
  • FugelsangK.C. Wine Microbiology. Chapman & Hall Pub. Co. New York, N.Y. 1996.
  • "MSDS - Trisodium Phosphate." MSDS. Wel-Cote, 08 Oct. 2002. Web. 23 Feb. 2010.
  • Sallam, K.I. and K. Samejima, 2004. Effects of trisodium phosphate and sodium chloride dipping on the microbial quality and shelf life of refrigerated tray-packaged chicken breasts. Food Sci. Biotechnol., 13: 425-429.