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Recommended bottle sanitizing methods?

So I haven’t seen much discussed on the boards about different bottle sanitizing methods.

I have been doing something that I haven’t seen mentioned - the night before bottling I wash my bottles in the sink, drain them, and then put them in the oven for about an hour at 250 degrees, then shut the oven off and let it cool leaving the door closed until bottling time. Sort of an autoclave I guess. I’ve never had a problem with contaminated bottles, but there is a batch or two recently that have not had great head and I think may have been caused by some food spillover that burned and created a thin film of something on the bottles.

What do other people do - soak bottles in Star-San? Soak in BTF? What are your methods, and when do you do it (night before, right before bottling?) Thanks in advance!

I bought one of the squirter things on a bottle tree and give clean bottles a squirt of Starsan and then put them on the tree to dry. I’ve done the oven thing before, works fine if you have the time and plan ahead. I used to soak bottles in a bucket of dilute bleach, you’d get a littl residue of salt thgouh.

I triple rinse my bottles as soon as I pour. On brew day when my wort is cooling, I add a small amount of star san solution to each bottle. Use a spray bottle with star san solution to spray the bottle neck. Give the bottles two shakes during this time to foam the entire bottle. Respray the top of the bottle since I touched it with my finger tip while shaking the solution. I rinse with hot water and turn upside down in my bottle holder to drain. Some people say don’t worry about the foam, but I prefer to rinse the foam completely out. Even though star san is a moderate acid, I worry it may change the final character of my brew.

Rinse when empty, store…
When I have a couple of cases, soak in OxyClean overnight to remove labels, bottle brush the inside, double rinse in clean water, foil over top, store…
Bottling day - remove foil, submerge in StarSan, empty, fill, cap…

Don’t fear the foam… :smiley:

wash them out when empty. clean with oxyclean and bottle scrubber before use. put in dish washer (opening down) and run rinse/dry cycle(no detergent). they will be heated enough to sanitize. fill straight out of dishwasher.

I rinse and dry mine.
To sterilize I put foil on them and bake them at about 300F for an hour.
When I first put them into circulation I wash them with Oxyclean to remove labels etc.

I’ve used:

that powder from the kit
Star San
bleach/vinager mix
dishwasher sanitizer cycle

Rinsing after sanitizing? why would you contaminate your equipment?


Rinsing after sanitizing? why would you contaminate your equipment?[/quote]


I use the sanitize cycle on my dishwasher.


I rinse, run them through a normal dishwasher cycle and then store. When I bottle, I then soak them in star san for 5 minutes, put on a drying rack and bottle.

  1. after enjoying each home brew, rinse, soak and rinse bottle in hot water and drain overnight upside down.
  2. store bottles upside down.
  3. the night before or morning of, at least 4-5 hours before bottling… fill, shake and drain bottles in hot water easy clean no rinse solution and put right into the dishwasher. I check every bottle for goobies.
  4. run dishwasher on sanitize with NO soap.
  5. let cool, keep door shut.
  6. bottle right from dishwasher.

it’s a great system.

I am training those I give beer to to return bottles clean, but I do take extra care to clean these more!

I recycle any bottles that have any crap in them, I have so many now, not worth taking a chance.

that’s all

For the dishwasher sanitizing method - do you use those drying liquids (JetDry), and/or are you concerned about those sheeting liquids affecting head retention? Our dishwasher has a big reservoir that you fill every couple months. At the same time I guess not much actual washing water makes it inside the bottles, it is more the hot steam that does the sanitizing.

When I brewed back in the '90’s (before house, wife, kids) I did try the dishwasher method once and it worked, once I figured out how to get the bottles loaded on the racks. I might try it again. Thanks for the info.

I have waded up some paper towel and stuffed it in the discharge hole for the “jet dry” products. Don’t know if it helped or not. Head retention has been hit and miss with my beers.

For sanitizing, I use the vintinator (sp?) deal that sits on top of the bottle tree. Squirt it twice then drain on bottle tree. Couldn’t be easier - just need to invest in a bottle tree and vintinator (money well spent).

You didn’t ask about cleaning but what I do is rinse 2-3 times after I drink the beer. Then a day or two prior to bottling day, I mix up 5 gallons of PBW and fill each bottle with a bottle wand and let soak overnight. Next day, I use a bottle brush in my Dewalt hand drill and then drain and rinse each bottle. I put a 4-5" piece of tubing over the metal part of the bottle brush so it doesn’t scratch the bottle. I collect the PBW from each bottle and then use it to clean my fermenter out after all the beer is bottled.

I have a kegging system now but I end up bottling a few bottles since I usually end up with over 5 (or 10 if doign a double batch) gallons of finished beer

wash them out when empty. clean with oxyclean and bottle scrubber before use. put in dish washer (opening down) and run rinse/dry cycle(no detergent). they will be heated enough to sanitize. fill straight out of dishwasher.

+1 Never had a problem doing it that way.

  1. I rinse mine out with hot water after use and let dry upside down.
  2. i usually put them in empty boxes upside down if possible.
  3. a few days before bottling day i soak in very hot bleach water and remove the labels if needed. I rinse thoroughly and i let them dry upside down in dishwasher.
  4. ususally i let them stay in dishwasher until bottle day but sometimes they go back to boxes.
  5. on bottle day i submerge the bottles in my bottling bucket for a few minutes a piece. i can fit like 18 of them suckers in there at once.
  6. I then spray my dishwasher with starsan just to be on the safe side and then put the bottles in the dishwasher upside down to get most of star san out.
  7. i use the dishwasher door to put bottles on for filling because it is so easy to clean up the mess(just shut door and turn on).

It seems like a lot of work but it really isnt. the presoak was initially to take off labels but it has grown into a habit and i have not had any problems knock on wood.

Rinse after use, Clean and sanitize in a big tub, cooler or sink before bottling that day or day before.
I have tried the dishwasher, stove, before and they take way to much time and there is a lot of nasty stuff that can still get into bottles going that route IME

For new bottles, I will soak in soapy water, clean with bottle brush, rinse and inspect. Those will sit until bottling day. Reused homebrew bottles get rinsed out a few times after consumption. On bottling day they get another rinse and inspection to be sure bugs and dust are out of them. Then into a cooler filled with sanitizer.

Commercial bottles: soak in oxy-clean and scrub with bottle brush and remove label.
Reused bottles: after pouring a nice homebrew, rinse well with hot water.
Bottling day: soak in a bucket of starsan, onto the bottling tree, fill with new homebrew.

As long as you rinse the reused bottle after use and sanitize before bottling, no issues. There’s no need to bake anything in the oven.

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