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Old 02-12-2008, 11:33 PM   #1
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Default Does diswasher really "sanitize?"

I'm sure this has been covered elsewhere, but I'm having trouble with the search features. They don't seem to pick up on my key words. More likely I'm not doing it right, but here is my question.

I've seen people "sanitize" their bottles in the dishwasher. Highest setting, no soap. Now, I rinse my commercial beer bottles out thouroughly after I pour them. I'm just not convinced that running them through the dishwasher will sanitize them. There's no way any water is getting to every surface of the bottle. Is it just the extreme heat on the outside that does the sanitizing? I've seen all the other methods, but this seems much easier if it really does work. I'm bottling my first batch this weekend (with 2 more batches in primary right now). This forum has taken me a long way and I would like to not go astray at bottling. Any advice?

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Old 02-12-2008, 11:41 PM   #2
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It's the heat. Some dishwashers have a "sanitize" or similarly named cycle, just for such purposes. It's the only method I've ever used, and I've never had a bottle go bad on me. I even run flip-tops through the machine with the gaskets attached, no problems. I let the bottles cool down inside, then the dishwasher rack becomes a bottling rack. The open door is a handy place to do the bottling, the sanitized bottles are right there waiting for you, and you don't have to worry about spills.

Like you say, not much water will get inside the bottles, which is why they've got to be thoroughly washed first.

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Old 02-13-2008, 12:02 AM   #3
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By itself, rinse + dishwasher doesn't work.

Been there, done that, poured a fair bit of beer down the drain with full honors and commercial brew at the wake.

Rinse + Oxyclean soak with bottle brush at the end of the soak + good rinse + dishwasher run with high heat dry = apparently OK.

Learn from my mistake guy, don't do it.

Who wants to quaff commercial at a wake for homebrew?

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Old 02-13-2008, 12:06 AM   #4
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Yep, what he said! I wash any "donated" bottles with a brush and oxyclean, rinse them well and toss 'em in the dishwasher. I rinse my bottles after every pour, then put them up on a shelf. When bottling time comes around, I rinse them again, and put them in the dishwasher. 10 batches, not one single problem!

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Old 02-13-2008, 12:12 AM   #5
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If I remember correctly from my health inspector days, the government definition of heat sanitizing in a restaurant is 180F (for 2 min? 30 seconds? I can't remember). Unless your dishwasher has a "sanitize" function on it, it's not getting to that temperature. However, my dishwasher doesn't have that either, but it has a "heated rinse" and "heated dry" function. The manual didn't say to what temperature it gets, so I called GE. They said my model goes to 140F. I asked if the input water temp. makes a difference, they said no. But their 140F is water temp. I figure with the heated dry, it has to get higher than that (since so much steam comes out when I open the door). So, I "Heated Rinse" and "Heated Dry" all of my bottles and never had an infection.

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Old 02-13-2008, 12:21 AM   #6
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My dishwasher has a sanitize cycle, and it seems to work fine for bottles. As mentioned, the dishwasher won't clean the inside of the bottles for you, so you have to make sure they are clean inside when they go into the dishwasher.

I found the dishwasher very handy when using swing-cap bottles. I would clean each one as I finished a beer then seal them up. On bottling day, I would uncap and throw them all in the dishwasher. It would take care of cleaning the outsides (if they got dirty) and it would also give the caps/seals a good wash too. They come out nice and clean and sanitized, conveniently racked and ready to go.

My only problem is that my dishwasher doesn't hold enough bottles for a 5 gal batch of beer, so I don't use it very often.

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Old 02-13-2008, 12:37 AM   #7
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Well, none of my bottles are "donated." I use all 12oz. bottles that I drink myself.I'll be bottling my first batch this weekend, so I've been saving all my bottles. I give each one a good rinse after I pour it. My dishwasher doesn't have sanitize or any other mode like that on it. It get's pretty F'n hot in there though. Would a few minute soak in my Iodophor solution before the dishwasher be advisable?

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Old 02-13-2008, 12:44 AM   #8
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I've put 9 batches of bottles through the dishwasher and everything's been fine.

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Old 04-05-2008, 10:50 PM   #9
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How long does a bottle stay "sanitized" after you use this method? or any other method for that matter.

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Old 04-05-2008, 10:55 PM   #10
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I've used this method many times and have not had any bad bottles. I think the key is making sure the bottles are clean before they go in the dishwasher.

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