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Sanitizing Bottles

I am new to brewing and I am entering the final days prior to bottling. I just picked up two cases of bottles from my local homebrew store. I read that you could use a dishwasher to wash and sanitize, so I was planning on using that. Does anyone have any tips or pointers for when using the dishwasher?

I’ve done it with good results. My dishwasher has a sanitary cycle too. Just don’t have any “rinse agent” on board. It kills head retention.

My tip for using the dishwasher to sanitize is don’t do it.
A beer bottle is shaped much different than a water glass. The spray from the jets may not reach all parts of the bottle. Spot remover left over in the washer is also a head killer.
If you have dried gunk in the bottle this has to be removed first with a bottle brush. The brush attached to an electric drill saves a lot of labor.
If the bottles were well rinsed immediately after pouring, spraying or shaking with a solution of Starsan will sanitize the bottles.
The dish washer method has been done. Just my opinion that bottle care before bottling day saves a lot of work and worry.

Agreed! A dishwasher is not so effective in cleaning the junk out of a bottle. The rinse aid alone is reason not to use it. Get a 19 gallon Rubbermaid bucket from WallyWorld or use your laundry tub. Submerge all bottles in hot cleaning solution (PBW and water) then rinse and repeat with Iodophor solution.

I just got two cases of bottles today for bottling this weekend. So they are gunk free or should be. So ideally they should be fine the dishwasher, correct? I do appreciate the tips and pointers when it comes to me reusing bottles.

I just got two cases of bottles today for bottling this weekend. So they are gunk free or should be. So ideally they should be fine the dishwasher, correct? I do appreciate the tips and pointers when it comes to me reusing bottles.[/quote]Yes that is fine then. I would prefer soaking for a few minutes in solution but you’ll be fine.

Heed the part about “left over spot remover” and “kills head retention”.

I may or may not have banned the use of any of the rise aid stuff until the bottles are sanitized.

I have sanitized many, many batches of bottles in the dishwasher and have only had one infected bottle (sprayed all over my in-laws’ kitchen :oops: ). Here is what I do:

The night before I bottle, I put my CLEAN bottles upside down into my dishwasher and run it on the Sanitize cycle overnight. When I get up the next morning, they are ready for me. I open the door, put the bottling bucket on the counter above it, and fill 6 bottles at a time right on the open door. I then move the bottles to the counter to cap. The upper rack makes a handy hanger to keep my bottling wand sanitary.

Very easy to do, any spills stay in the dishwasher, and any bottles that don’t get used, I cover with little squares of aluminum foil and put away for my next bottling day. It does mean that I’m down by the floor for filling, but I can live with that.

I stress that the bottles MUST BE CLEAN INSIDE before they go in the dishwasher or they won’t be clean coming out. I don’t have any rinse aid in my dishwasher, so that is not an issue for me.

I’ve never had a problem. I buy Star San, mix the solution to 5 gal in a bucket. I take clean bottles, dip them and empty them, then fill the bottles with beer. NO Rinsing! That’s why they make that stuff so it’s totally sanitized for the duration of your bottling. I know of nothing simpler than that, and it’s quick and you can depend on it.

That’s exactly what I do. I make sure the bottles are spotless, then just before bottling I clean them with Star San, using

Has worked perfectly.

I will say I have used the dish washer as well to sanitize my already CLEAN bottles. I do not use a rinse agent normally so that is not in the system. Plus I usually try to run an empty dish washer to make sure there is not any extra soap etc from the normal use, then put the bottles in and mine has a heated rinse (which i guess actually heats the water even more) and then a heated dry and santize setting.

I have not had an issue.

Even if you do NOT use a dish washer to sanitize, I highly recommend bottling above an open dish washer door. You will always get a little spillage from an over fill or two, and clean up is as simple as closing the door when you are done.

I’ve had great success with the Vinator with StarSan. Takes maybe 3 squirts per bottle and it’s done. I then bottle while the inside is still wet. 8 batches so far and 0 infected bottles. Not quite as easy as loading a Sanitize Cycle capable dishwasher but pretty close!

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/vina ... inser.html

[quote=“Dmlsys23”]I’ve had great success with the Vinator with StarSan. Takes maybe 3 squirts per bottle and it’s done. I then bottle while the inside is still wet. 8 batches so far and 0 infected bottles. Not quite as easy as loading a Sanitize Cycle capable dishwasher but pretty close!

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/vina ... inser.html[/quote]

This is what I do, too, for probably 30 batches now (someday I’ll keg, but with a toddler running around, it’s not high on the list, and I don’t mind bottling so much), with no infected bottles. I think a major upside is that I can keep using the dishwasher for dishes. Also, using the vinator, it takes me 5 minutes to sanitize a batch of bottles, which is no big deal; if I’ve got a helper on bottling day, we can set up an assembly line, as Star-San needs only a minute or so of contact time to be effective.

BUT, the dishwasher will work for clean bottles, provided there’s no rinse aid. It won’t get bottles clean for you, but since OP said these are new bottles, it should work fine for heating them up enough to kill any nasties.

skip the dishwasher and just soak them in a cooler or tub of star san. They are new bottles so they will be fairly clean.
Dishwasher is just not a clean environment, it’s the heats that kills stuff but you can blow crap into your bottles using a dishwasher, takes forever for them to cool down, possibly ruining head retention etc…

The sanitize cycle on dishwashers is done by raising the temperature of the dishes with steam, so no problem there. However, trying to clean something with that thin a neck just isn’t going to work in a dish washer. Wash by hand with a brush, rinse, then run it through a sanitize cycle without cleanser if that’s how you want to sanitize bottles.

There are two steps in preparing bottles for bottling - cleaning and sanitizing. Cleaning cannot be done effectively in a dishwasher. I give several hot rinses immediately after pouring a beer until the rinse water comes out clean, then rinse once more for good measure. After I rinse I give a visual check to make sure there is no crud stuck on the glass. If there is, then I hit it with a bottling brush. Drain and store upside-down.

On bottling day I first run a rinse cycle on my empty dishwasher to rinse out any residue. Then I load my bottles. I run a second rinse cycle with the bottles loaded for good measure (but I doubt that this step is necessary), then I run the sanitize cycle. The steam can sanitize the bottles, but they need to be cleaned first. Otherwise, any crud remaining in the bottles can still harbor nasties.

I bottle all my batches, and I have yet to experience an infected bottle using this procedure.

I have come on a new technique that seems to work well and is fairly effortless. I put 1-2 tbsp hot water in each bottle while preheating the oven to 250. Set the bottles on a baking sheet and set them in the oven for an hr. you may have to play with your water volume to make sure the water doesn’t evaporate out before the hr is up. I’m more comfortable with this method because the steam starts in a larger area and is forced out much the same way a funnel is used rather than using the funnel backwards. I have also used this method to loosen and free up stubborn gunk, then a quick hit with a bottle brush.

Wow, that sounds like a lot of work!

Effortless? That’s a lot if work.

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