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Old 01-11-2009, 03:05 PM   #1
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Default Dishwasher to sanitize bottles?

I've seen a lot of brewers use dishwashers to sanitize bottles. Anyone have problems with this? Would really make things easy.

My dishwasher does not have a "sanitize" setting so not sure if the water gets hot enough. Would 120 f do it?

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Old 01-11-2009, 03:08 PM   #2
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I've been doing it this way for years without problems. First, make sure you rinse your bottles really well right after you pour a beer, and store them upside down. I use a Jet bottle washer to blast them out right before I put them in the dishwasher.

I run them on the highest settings, with high heat dry, and I do not use soap. Dishwashers heat water well past 120 anyway.

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Old 01-11-2009, 03:12 PM   #3
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120 isn't hot enough for sanitizing. I think dishwashers with a "sanitize" setting get much hotter, like commercial dishwashers. It's not the water that would sanitize anyway (water wouldn't get up in the bottles very easily) but it's the temperature.

I sanitize by taking clean bottles (rinsed well after use) and then using a vinator and a bottle tree. You take the clean bottle, pump once with the bottle on the vinator and place it on the tree. I can easily do 50 bottles in less than 20 minutes. Here's a picture of what I'm talking about:
Bottle Rinser - by Ferrari - The Vinator

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Old 01-11-2009, 03:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
120 isn't hot enough for sanitizing. I think dishwashers with a "sanitize" setting get much hotter, like commercial dishwashers. It's not the water that would sanitize anyway (water wouldn't get up in the bottles very easily) but it's the temperature.

I sanitize by taking clean bottles (rinsed well after use) and then using a vinator and a bottle tree. You take the clean bottle, pump once with the bottle on the vinator and place it on the tree. I can easily do 50 bottles in less than 20 minutes. Here's a picture of what I'm talking about:
Bottle Rinser - by Ferrari - The Vinator
Thanks for the input... I'll check that out for sure. For today I'm going to use my thermometer in the washer during the heat dry to see where it gets me.
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Old 01-11-2009, 03:27 PM   #5
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I used to do this with a dishwasher with a sanitize setting. Then I read references to a Zymurgy article where someone had done this and plated swabs from each bottle and a significant number of the plates grew something. I rethought my process and that point and decided that sterilization in the oven is the easiest and safest method with the only downside being running the oven for a long time (problematic only in warm weather) and then need to plan ahead.

I definitely wouldn't do the dishwasher method in a dishwasher without a sanitize setting.

See Palmer's "How to Brew" for a table of times and temperatures for dry heat sterilization in the oven. You can do this as far ahead as you wish. Just cover the top of the bottle in foil before you sterilize. As long as you store the bottles upright they will remain sterile indefinitely.

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Old 01-13-2009, 06:43 AM   #6
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I've never used my dishwasher for sanitizing but it does a fantastic job as a bottle tree(not really a tree shape but you get the idea). Mine holds enough bottles for a 5 gallon batch whether I use 12oz, 16oz, or 22oz bottles.

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Old 01-13-2009, 12:28 PM   #7
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From what i understand, as long as the dishwasher has a heat cycle (like a heated drying setting) it should be ok. If i left the heated dry setting on by accident and forget to removed any plastic or tupperware thats in there i open the door to a nice glob of melted plastic on the bottom, so i'm sure it gets plenty hot. I have never had a problem with sanitizing my bottles this way. But after i pour a beer i always make sure to rinse out the bottle thoroughly and i store them upside down to drain.

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Old 01-13-2009, 01:02 PM   #8
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Heat sanitizing in dishwashers is a time and temperature issue, not just a temperature issue. Most health codes (and, therefore the FDA) will state 180°F for 30 seconds , but I believe the NSF allows for only 12 seconds (@ 180°F). Conversely, you can go as low as 143°F for an hour to achieve sanitization. Below that temperature you're out of sanitization territory, so no amount of time will help.

All that in mind, you can probably get enough sanitization for homebrewing in your dishwasher if it goes over 140°F. As an example, my dishwasher has a heated rinse and a heated dry cycle, but no "sanitizing" cycle. I called the manufacturer and they state it gets 140-something°F (can't remember exactly). I've used it to sanitize thousands of bottles and never had a bottle infection.

Call your dishwasher manufacturer with your model number to get the maximum temp. If it's over 140°F and you have a heated dry cycle, you should be fine.

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Old 01-13-2009, 01:04 PM   #9
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I used to do it this way 10-15 years ago before I got a kegging system. I never had any problems and here is what I thought was key:

1. Pre clean bottles. The water from the dishwater won't clean them completely.
2. Sanitizing setting on dishwasher.
3. Turn up the thermostat on the hot water heater. This allowed the bottles to be hotter longer and I think it was key. If you have kids I wouldn't do this though. Most water heaters can be turned up to the point they will scald and it isn't safe for young ones. I just read my water heater owners manual and it said the hottest setting is about 165.

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Old 01-13-2009, 01:47 PM   #10
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I've used my dishwasher to sterilize for years. Though the last few batches I bottled by way of the dishwasher got infected. I think the problem may be my laziness. I found myself washing the bottles and then letting them sit for several days inside the dishwasher. It is my thinking that bacteria had sufficient time to come back through the drain after the dishwasher cooled.

That said, I'll likely still try the dishwasher method, should I ever bottle again. Next time I'll just be sure to bottle the same day they get washed.

Anybody else think drain bacteria could be a problem?

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