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Home > How to > How to properly care for water kefir grains

How to properly care for water kefir grains

Activation – Revitalisation – Boosting  – A proper way to care for water kefir grains.

Regular fermentation with quality ingredients is very important to keep your water kefir grains active and healthy. But even when doing everything right some issues may occur. Here you can find out more about how to overcome them when you care for water kefir grains.


Water kefir grains can be dehydrated or fresh. When they’re dehydrated you need to activate them before use. The same with fresh ones when they’re not being used for some time or when they’re being transported.

The activation process can be very quick or it can take up to two weeks. Here are some tips on how to make sure you’re doing everything you can to make it successful.

Use quality ingredients and follow the steps

Your grains are dormant and you need to revive them. This means you need to boost their activity. For this reason we use quality ingredients that are a sufficient source of minerals which is very important in the first step. The other “ingredient” is the temperature. It needs to be stable so the grains are not exposed to even more stress. Kefir grains consist of live microorganisms. And with live things it’s hard to follow one strict formula, you need to have patience and time to let them activate at their own pace.

Ingredients for activation:

  • quality sugar (with high content of minerals)
  • non-chlorinated water
  • dehydrated water kefir grains
care for water kefir grains
These water kefir grains have been dried with slow dehydration below 38 °C.


  1. Pour 300 ml non-chlorinated water in a glass jar.
  2. Add 15 g of organic cane sugar and 15 g of Rapadura sugar.
  3. Stir until completely dissolved.
  4. Add kefir grains.
  5. Close the lid and leave to ferment for 3-4 days at room temperature (20-24°C)
  6. Strain the grains and discard the water.
  7. Rinse the grains in lukewarm water.
  8. Repeat the steps above 5-7 times, until there are signs of fermentation. But ferment for only 2 days.

The quantities in this recipe are suitable for one bag of our dehydrated water kefir grains (5g). After activation, they are reconstituted to 30g fresh kefir grains.

Are kefir grains active enough to prepare kefir? There are few typical signs of active kefir grains:

  • Bubbles. Once the grains are active you will notice bubbles flying from the bottom when shaking the jar. Those bubbles are actually gas (CO2) which is a sign that fermentation is happening.
  • Smell change.
  • The water is less sweet.
water kefir grains
Dehydrated water kefir grains on the left. Rehydrated water kefir grains on the right.


Sometimes for one or another reason, grains can become sluggish, too yeasty, tiny and brittle, or the white layer appears on top. Those are all the signs of imbalance. The reason can be an excess of minerals, uneven room temperature, over fermentation, season changes, excess of oxygen or poor quality of water and other ingredients.

What now?

Best and easiest way is to rest them in the fridge. First, we have to gently rinse the grains under lukewarm water, then put them in the jar and cover with slightly sweetened water. One tablespoon of sugar per 1 litre of water is more than enough. Leave to rest for 5-10 days. They should refresh and rebuild.
After a couple of days in the fridge, discard the resting solution and rinse the grains. Put them in a sugar-water solution. Use the same amounts of sugar as grains. Add ten to twenty times more water than sugar and grains. Leave to ferment for 48 hours. Discard the liquid.
Now water kefir grains should be fully recovered and ready to ferment again.

Kefir grains activated
Revitalisation of mushy grains is still possible. Just make sure you react as soon as you notice it.


Want to know how to encourage grains to grow more quickly or become more active? To increase growth and activity follow the tips below.

  • Smaller grains will multiply much faster than larger ones. This is due to a larger surface for nutrient uptake. Gently break large grains into smaller pieces.
  • Add more minerals. Rapadura sugar or ginger pieces would work great. Grains prefer a wide range of nutrients. (a couple of weeks Rapadura, then a couple of weeks ginger or dried fruit).
  • Higher room temperature (25-30 degrees Celsius) can also stimulate grain growth.

From time to time, grains might have a lag phase in which they stop growing and multiplying. In this case even the tips above may not work. As long as fermentation happens normally (meaning, you get delicious kefir) do not panic, give them time.

care for kefir grains
Use quality ingredients. Our range offers organic cane sugar and organic ginger flakes.

Hope you find this content interesting and it can help you solve any issues you may have with the kefir grains.

For all ingredients and tools for successful fermentation and care for water kefir grains visit our web store:

kefir fermenter
Kefir fermenter
kefir grains
Dried water kefir grains
cane sugar
Organic Cane sugar
Organic Rapadura sugar
ginger flakes
Ginger flakes – organic
Stick on thermometer strip


  1. This information was very helpful to me. I just started making kefir and I wish I had read this first. I threw away my grains from my last attempt at water kefir. I purchased dehydrated grains and I didn’t know what to do when they didn’t activate. I just kept rinsing and adding sugar, but I didn’t know how long to let it sit or that it could take 5-7 times. I am going to try milk kefir today. I’m pretty excited about that. I have become a little bit obsessed with kefir, yogurt, and fermented foods. You have a very nice blog. I am bookmarking it and will come back for more info.

    Your kefir fermentor by the way looks very handy. I am seriously thinking of ordering it.

    • Hi Teresa!
      It’s great to hear you are getting into the world of fermentation! Hope you have some great ferments along the way that are great in taste and beneficial for you too. If you have any questions, we are always available. Kefirko team

  2. A couple of months a go i got a jar with water kefir grains. Been sitting in the fridge since then. No care.
    What should I do with them now?

    • Hi! If the grains were left in the fridge they are probably just dormant. Start feeding them each day with sugar and water solution, ferment at room temperature for a couple of days. You should see some activity soon.

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