Dishwasher to sanitize bottles?

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Jaxford

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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?
 

mattmcl

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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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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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Jaxford

Jaxford

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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
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.
 

remilard

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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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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.
 

jjp36

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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.
 

menschmaschine

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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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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.
 

fezzman

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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?
 

Homercidal

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I still dip my bottles in Starsan, but I use the dishwasher rack at a bottle tree. I have the sanitize cycle and could probably use it to sanitize, but dipping in starsan is only a few more seconds.

Lots of people use a vinator spray device to get starsan into their bottles, then place on tree or rack.

Whatever you do, if you try using the dishwasher to remove labels, expect some of them to come off and clog the drain...
 

HoppyDaze

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Does anyone actually put the vinator on top of the tree while cleaning bottles. It looks like there is a cheaper bottle tree that wont fit to the Ferrari vinator. Im just wondering if it even matters...
 

wilserbrewer

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I too fooled around w/ the dishwasher for sanitizing botttles years ago. For my time, energy and assurance that the bottles are sanitized, I feel swishing and ounce or two of starsan is just as easy and probably more effective. Last time I bottled a few years ago, all I would do is add a small amount of starsan to each bottle w/ a turkey baster. Then cover the bottle top w/ your thumb and shake to wet the entire inside of the bottle. Drain and fill...prettty fast, easy and effective!

The required contact time for starsan is like 30 seconds i believe. A batch of bottles can be effectively sanitized w/ just a couple quarts of solution. IMO there is no real need to mix up say five gallons and soak the bottles, this practice becomes laborious!
 

Homercidal

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I too fooled around w/ the dishwasher for sanitizing botttles years ago. For my time, energy and assurance that the bottles are sanitized, I feel swishing and ounce or two of starsan is just as easy and probably more effective. Last time I bottled a few years ago, all I would do is add a small amount of starsan to each bottle w/ a turkey baster. Then cover the bottle top w/ your thumb and shake to wet the entire inside of the bottle. Drain and fill...prettty fast, easy and effective!

The required contact time for starsan is like 30 seconds i believe. A batch of bottles can be effectively sanitized w/ just a couple quarts of solution. IMO there is no real need to mix up say five gallons and soak the bottles, this practice becomes laborious!

Yes, I pour a bit of it from my spray bottle into a bottle, and then bottle to bottle. I add fresh sanitizer back into my spray bottle when I brew my next batch.
 

carl spakler

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I too use a dishwasher, ours does have a "sanitize" setting which I use along with "added heat" and "heated dry" options. I've yet to have a problem, though that doesn't prove anything, just my experiences. I do have a bottle washer and tree that I do use sometimes, generally on bottles that have crud in them or after a batch of label removals.

I've found the dishwasher technique far faster than any other way, short of having the hired help do it of course. I fill the dishwasher and let it go, total time spent by me is probably 2-3 minutes, I defy you to wash a batch of 50 bottles by hand that quickly. As others have stated it is key that start with a clean bottle as the jets may not remove any dried on yeast sludge from previous batches.

As for turning the water heater up, you might want to check your dishwasher, many new models take cold water in and use an internal heater to get the water up to temp. No adjustment to the house water heater will do anything to impact dishwasher water temp if there is only a cold water line going to to the appliance.


-Gunga galunga
 

Yooper

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Does anyone actually put the vinator on top of the tree while cleaning bottles. It looks like there is a cheaper bottle tree that wont fit to the Ferrari vinator. Im just wondering if it even matters...
I'm pretty short, so I just put the vinator on the island next to the bottling tree, and use it that way. I've never actually put the vinator on top, even though it fits.
 

FlyGuy

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I use the same method as Yooper, and it is about as simple as it gets. I have tried the vinator on top of the tree, but it was too awkward. It's easier to push down on the bottles when the vinator is low, like on the countertop.

I have also used the dishwasher to bottle sanitize when I have done the odd 'half-batch' (3 gallon batch). I must say, it was VERY convenient. But my dishwasher also has a very good sanitizer cycle, and I wouldn't trust the method without one.

If you are looking to see how hot your dishwasher gets, here is a simple method:

Use a digital thermometer that records max/min temperatures. Put it in a REALLY heavy zip-loc bag and toss it in the top rack of your dishwasher, and run it for a cycle.

I actually vacuum sealed the remote probe of my wireless indoor/outdoor thermometer (shown below) and threw that in -- that way I could watch the temps change in real time.

thermometer.jpg
 

heavysteve

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Ive started just dumping some Diversol into the dishwasher, and running on heated dry and extra risne, seems to do the trick
 

FlyGuy

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Ive started just dumping some Diversol into the dishwasher, and running on heated dry and extra risne, seems to do the trick
If it is working for you, that's great. Something for others to watch out for, though is that Diversol (aka 'pink stuff' -- popular with winemakers up here in Canuckland) is a chlorine-based sanitizer. If it gets inside your bottles, but doesn't get rinsed out well (possible since the mouth of the bottle is so narrow), then it could lead to off-flavours in your beers, such as the medicinal or band-aid flavours commonly associated with chlorophenols.

I was actually thinking of using SaniClean, or whatever they call that no-foam version of Star San form Five Star Chemicals.
 

Whisler85

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my dishwasher doesnt have a 'sanitize' setting, but it does have a 'high temp wash' setting.

it also has a low-temp/energy-saver dry setting.

i just make sure 'high temp wash' is on, and that 'energy-saver dry' is off. i havent had any problems

it seems to me that, beyond sanitizing, there is no real reason to put the 'high temp wash' setting on the dishwasher.

i think if your dishwasher is older, you might run into more problems- the one in my college apartment didnt seem to get hot enough, and it was obviously an early 90's cheapo
 

orangeandblue302

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dishwasher with some one step has done well for me for my first and second batch. Lets hope its 3/3 when i try my new batch that has yet to be bottled.
 

Gosassin

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I have been using the dishwasher with great success. I rinse the bottles after pouring, then wash them with regular soap along with dishes, etc. Then when it's time to bottle, I run a bottle-only load with a shot of Starsan in the main soap compartment, and a little bit more in the reserve. Works like a champ!
 

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I run my bottles through a rinse and heat cycle, take them out and sanitize via the Vinator (I use StarSan) and bottle that way.

Not one problem thus far.
 
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Jaxford

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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.

OK... Lots of really good stuff here.

My brother and I wimped out on the dishwasher (beer is not something I leave to chance) since my washer does not have "sanitize" and only heats to 120f.

But here is what we did. He used the Palmer method and I used the no rinse solution from my local brew store. We alternated bottles and will compare them when they as they mature. The other thing we did was alternate between 24 and 12oz bottles and threw in a growler. It will be interesting to see:

1. Compare the oven sanitizing to "one step"?
2. Does the bottle size determine the amount of time the beer takes to mature?

Updates to follow...
 

universe

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Does the Vinator do beer bottles? Mine slip past where the wine bottles stop due to being a larger diameter. Did I miss an attachment for beer?
 

Ineedaride2

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If I've cleaned my bottles really well, can I sanitize them by using the heated dry cycle only, or do I need to high temp wash and then heated dry?
 

Ineedaride2

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Nevermind, I don't think I even have that option. Looks like I have to at least put it through a rinse cycle.
 

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My two cents.... I think you're going to be hit or miss on the dishwasher. The temperatures may be high enough at dry time, but you're probably wasting alot of water for nothing considering the jets proabably aren't getting water inside of half your bottles. So... if you haven't thouroughly cleaned your bottles before hand you may not be really doing enough with the dishwasher sterilization. You'd be better off to hand scrub them and bake them in the oven. Or, just scrub and rinse well and use star-san... in my humble opinion. The bottom line is, if you're not scrubbing your bottles you're not getting them clean . And you're depending on your sanitation process to kill far more foreign microbes than it would if the bottles were properly cleaned before sterilization.
 

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The dishwasher is a GREAT way to do it. Put no rinse sanitizer in during the "rinse" part of the wash cycle(towards the end) and no need for heated dry or "sanitize".

The only reason I don't do it anymore is SWMBO occasionally decides to put rinse aid in the little reservoir for it.

BAND AID BEER.

PHUCK THAT.

If your SWMBO is trainable, or you live alone, dishwasher is great.
 

eanmcnulty

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If I've cleaned my bottles really well, can I sanitize them by using the heated dry cycle only, or do I need to high temp wash and then heated dry?
If you have cleaned your bottles already, the heat cycle works great for sanitizing.

New bottles get a good cleaning and scrubbing with the bottle brush in Oxyclean to wash and remove the labels.
Bottles that have had home brew in them get a rinse right after pouring, and then an Oxyclean wash later.
I dry them in a simple rack I made the holds them upside down for a couple of days.
When they are dry I use small (3"x3") pieces of tin foil to cover the tops, and I store them in the basement.
To me, this is just an every day/week process of being a home brewer. I do small amounts of bottles (12 or so) at a time. That way I have a back up of bottles in the store room. (I wish I had a store room)
When I am ready to bottle, I fill the dishwasher up, and turn it on, using the heat-dry cycle, but no soap.
Then I sit next to the DW and bottle directly for it.
I have been doing this for the past twenty batches, and have had no problem at all.
 

avidhomebrewer

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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.
Agreed. I've been using this technique for at least 6 years with no issues. I rinse them in the dishwasher for about 20 minutes, then let the dishwasher go into its drying cycle and it cranks up the temp to sanitizing temps.
 

dragonlor20

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Just because this thread is good food for thought, I think it is worth keeping alive. I keg 99.9% of the time because it is easier, I can drink faster, and I enjoy having a beer on tap at the house when I get home from work. However, there are so many great reasons to bottle, number 1 of which is portability - if I want a Great Scott! Brewworks beer at the GF's house then I just take it along. I like that option, although, recently I have been filling my own growlers which we have really enjoyed.

Anyways, I have used the dishwasher in two different small apartment dishwashers over the last 2 years or so. I have had one infected batch total since I have been brewing, and I wasn't able to siphon everything from the fermenter, so I had some left in there, and while yes the bottles were infected, the fermenter was also infected, which shows me that something else got in there not related to the dishwasher. So if my experience adds anything, I would say you should feel pretty safe using your dishwasher to sanitize already-clean bottles for your homebrew.
 

SpanishCastleAle

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FWIW, I stuck a wort-proofed meat thermometer in my old mid-90s GE washer (no 'sanitize' setting but does have heated-dry) yesterday and the heated-dry cycle only got up to 160* F (and only stayed there for about 1 minute). But it stayed above 140* F for at least 20 minutes.

I still bottled with them but after remilard's (old) post I think I'll just put the whole pot full of bottles in the oven.
 

glenn514

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Dirty bottles CANNOT be sanitized. So, when someone gives me beer bottles, I most definitely remove the labels and SCRUB THEM OUT THOROUGHLY with a bottle brush. Even heard of someone who puts the bottle brush into an electric drill and then uses that to scrub out the inside of the bottle.

Once the bottles have been cleaned to my satisfaction, I use them to hold beer. If I can't get all the "gunk" off the bottom of the bottle, it gets thrown away. When one is emptied, it is THOROUGHLY rinsed with hot water. Since they were clean in the first place, a thorough rinse is all that is needed at this time.

When I bottle, I run 54 bottles through my dishwasher WITHOUT SOAP on the "high temp wash" and "heated dry" cycles. When the washer is done, I let the bottles sit for a bit to dry/cool off. Then, I put my bottling bucket on the counter above the washer, and using the open washer door as a low "shelf," I proceed to bottle my beer. Cleanup is a snap: close the washer door! And no bottle infections yet!

glenn514:mug:
 

Randar

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First off, let me clarify that new bottles (newly reclaimed commercial bottles) will get collected until I have a few dozen. Then they get soaked in oxyclean to remove labels and gunk in the bottom before being thoroughly washed and jet-blasted and rinsed before drying on a bottle tree and then storing them.

With already de-labeled bottles, I rinse any particulate out, run through dishwasher (I line them up so bottles will be above the path of one of the sprayer outlets) and then run on the high "dirty" cycle.

Then, once dry, I simply store them. I will star-san the whole lot of bottles being used in a given bottling session using the Vinator and a bottle drying tree.
 

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Yup, i used to do this years ago, i was always concerned if it was effective but never had a problem! I have a new dishwasher now with a sanitize setting. Too bad i have kegs now:)
 

MisterGreen

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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.
This is how I do it and I've never had a problem.
 

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I rinse my bottles out well once I pour the beer out. Then I store the bottles until bottling day. I make sure the dishwasher is clean and empty then I spray down the top rack with starsan and use a Vinator full of starsan to sanitize the inside of the bottles. The bottles get placed upside down on the dishwasher rack until I'm ready to fill them. I've done 11 batches like this and never had any issues.
 

NiteOwlBrewing

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Dirty bottles CANNOT be sanitized. So, when someone gives me beer bottles, I most definitely remove the labels and SCRUB THEM OUT THOROUGHLY with a bottle brush. Even heard of someone who puts the bottle brush into an electric drill and then uses that to scrub out the inside of the bottle.

Once the bottles have been cleaned to my satisfaction, I use them to hold beer. If I can't get all the "gunk" off the bottom of the bottle, it gets thrown away. When one is emptied, it is THOROUGHLY rinsed with hot water. Since they were clean in the first place, a thorough rinse is all that is needed at this time.

When I bottle, I run 54 bottles through my dishwasher WITHOUT SOAP on the "high temp wash" and "heated dry" cycles. When the washer is done, I let the bottles sit for a bit to dry/cool off. Then, I put my bottling bucket on the counter above the washer, and using the open washer door as a low "shelf," I proceed to bottle my beer. Cleanup is a snap: close the washer door! And no bottle infections yet!

glenn514:mug:
Actually, dirty bottles CAN BE sanitized...hell, they can be sterilized. Maybe not in a dishwasher though. You'd just have to pressure cook them long enough or autoclave them. Would they still have crap inside? Yes, but sanitized or even sterilized crap.

Dishwasher works great to sanitize clean bottles, especially with a sanitize setting. Even an old apt dishwasher's heated dry hit over 175 for a good 5min and that was 15 years ago. Clean probably helps here as a thick crud might not heat to the middle.

I was going to post about using the door as the bottling surface as this is what I did for years before kegging. Now I have to bottle in the garage. So, I now run the bottom rack full of bottles and carry the whole thing out to the garage to bottle off the kegs. I've probably done this 25 times over the past two years alone with nary a single negative result. I have a holiday beer bottled with the dishwasher method that just hit 4 years old with a few bottles left and it was fine.
 
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