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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: scott on April 17, 2011, 03:46:52 PM

Title: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: scott on April 17, 2011, 03:46:52 PM
In the past I only cleaned the bottles when I first got them.  They were returnable, some with mold inside.  I have always just rinsed them out after drinking, so I figured that sanitizing before bottling was all I needed to do.  I recently bought some new beer bottles (the kind with beer included for free), and soaked them to clean off the labels.  They are squeaky clean now.  So I'm thinking about upping my standards and cleaning all my bottles before sanitizing.  What does everyone else do?
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: tygo on April 17, 2011, 03:57:47 PM
I used to just rinse them out right after pouring and then sanitize with no cleaning step in between.  The last several times though I've decided that cleaning them is a good idea even if it takes a little extra time so I've been giving them an oxy soak and scrub each time I use them.
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: jwaldner on April 17, 2011, 04:28:18 PM
My regiment is to rinse after use, then gather my bottles for the week and soak them in PBW for a few hours, then rinse with hot water (bottle jet washer), let dry, then put them back in the case and cover them with saran wrap to keep the dust/bugs out.

Before bottling, I pull them off the shelf then sanitize them with Star-San before bottling.

Seems to work pretty well for me although I prefer keggng when I can :-)

Cheers!
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: denny on April 17, 2011, 05:07:55 PM
Just because you can't see anything on them doesn't mean they're clean.  I'd hate to lose a batch because the bottles were dirty.  I clean them every time.  Remember, you can't sanitize something that isn't clean.
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: morticaixavier on April 17, 2011, 05:50:34 PM
lately I have been putting my bottles in the oven the night before I intend to bottle and cranking it up to 375 for about 20  minutes then leaving them there until I am ready to bottle. at 375 even unclean things become sterile for a while. But I look at the bottles everytime and make sure there is no stuck on gunk. If so, I clean that one. If it's not easy to clean off I recycle it. Bottles are easy to come by.
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: tonyp on April 17, 2011, 05:53:57 PM
I fill a bottling bucket with hot water and oxyclean and fill it with as many bottles that will fit comfortably while i setup the rest of the equipment. I then start taking the bottles out one by one and rinse using a jet bottle washer before throwing into another bucket with star-san solution making a nice little assembly-line process.

I use 1 liter flip-tops for main bottling to reduce the amount of bottles, any leftovers go into 12oz

My son loves using the jet bottle washer so its nice to have a helper!

Tony
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: Malticulous on April 17, 2011, 05:54:13 PM
I never do it. I just rinse very well after use and again before sanitizing. I've never had a batch get infected after primary.
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: a10t2 on April 17, 2011, 05:56:41 PM
I rinse bottles thoroughly after pouring them, and once I have a dozen or so empties I'll mix up some OxiClean or PBW and soak them for a few hours. Remove labels if necessary, then rinse them thoroughly and put them away for storage. I frequently go a year or more without bottling anything, and I don't think a good rinse would be enough to keep them clean for that kind of time.
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: aubeertine31 on April 17, 2011, 06:47:21 PM
For first time use of a bottle I'll usually soak it in cold bleach water over night, rinse multiple times and spray with some star san. For future use I guess I just rinse them with hot water a few times when empty and store them someplace until I need them again and I'd probably just spray with star san. The oven idea sounds like a good one, I'd be too worried them would crack or bust though. I wonder what the heat threshold is on a glass bottle..
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: tom on April 17, 2011, 07:21:42 PM
John Palmer has a chart on oven sterilization in his book How To Brew:  http://www.howtobrew.com/section1/chapter2-2-3.html   
I use it mainly for my plate chiller.
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: Hokerer on April 17, 2011, 07:33:27 PM
Oxiclean soak to get the labels off and perform the intial cleaning.  After that, I always rinse after use and then inspect each bottle before bottling.  Only those that look like they need it get another cleaning.  Then they all get sanitized.
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: punatic on April 17, 2011, 10:21:13 PM
I only use oxiclean to remove labels.

For cleaning/sanitation I mix 4oz bleach in a 5gal bucket (filled to 4 gallons), soak overnight and bottle-jet them clean just prior to bottling.  Never have had any problems - at all.  Sodium hypochlorite is a very effective cleaner and sanitizer.

The chlorine makes my hands stink though.  But, my cats seem to really like my hands when they smell like chlorine
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: alikocho on April 17, 2011, 10:52:18 PM
lately I have been putting my bottles in the oven the night before I intend to bottle and cranking it up to 375 for about 20  minutes then leaving them there until I am ready to bottle. at 375 even unclean things become sterile for a while. But I look at the bottles everytime and make sure there is no stuck on gunk. If so, I clean that one. If it's not easy to clean off I recycle it. Bottles are easy to come by.

+1 but I put foil on my bottles in the oven.
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: tygo on April 17, 2011, 11:09:55 PM
+1 but I put foil on my bottles in the oven.

Yep, same here.  A couple drops of water in each bottle and foil on the top before they go into the oven. 
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: norseman on April 18, 2011, 12:36:21 AM
I rinse my bottles after use - then run them through the dishwasher.   :)

Day of bottling, I take my "clean" bottles - load up the dishwasher with as many bottles as I think I'll need (plus a few) - set the machine to "heavy wash" and "heat dry" and wash 'em again.

To bottle, I put the bottling bucket over the dishwasher - open up the machine - and take bottles out and put them on the open door.  When I'm done, to get rid of all the spillage and mess I just shut the door.  Easy cleanup!
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: jayoun on April 18, 2011, 02:56:00 AM
I will do an oxyclean/PBW soak initially just to get the labels off, after that I will do a good rinsing after use and maybe a rinse right before I sanitize.  I might add that I always inspect the bottles for obvious gunk before they go into the sanitizing bucket.  Although I don't bottle that often, I can't ever think of a time where I have had a bad bottle due to this practice.
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: Pinski on April 18, 2011, 04:31:16 AM
Many dishwashers have a high heat/sanitize drying cycle as an option.  We rinse the bottles out thoroughly after pouring and then store them in an office paper box with a lid in the garage until a bottling occasion comes up. We run the bottles we need by themselves, NO SOAP in the dishwasher on the sanitize setting. Has worked very well for us. No fuss.
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: morticaixavier on April 18, 2011, 05:08:47 AM
For first time use of a bottle I'll usually soak it in cold bleach water over night, rinse multiple times and spray with some star san. For future use I guess I just rinse them with hot water a few times when empty and store them someplace until I need them again and I'd probably just spray with star san. The oven idea sounds like a good one, I'd be too worried them would crack or bust though. I wonder what the heat threshold is on a glass bottle..

I've done three batches in the oven now and had 1 bottle crack. I suspect it was week anyway. I have had one bottle bomb in all my brewing so far (Knock on wood) and I could clearly see the bubble in the glass that caused it to fail. I didn't look on the one that cracked in the oven but I suspect it was an existing weakness. Given that glass doesn't melt until some thousands of degrees I am not too worried about the effect 375 f is going to have.
Title: Re: Cleaning Bottles - Soaking - How Often?
Post by: Will's Swill on April 19, 2011, 12:25:10 AM
Well, to get good sanitation, you probably don't need to keep your bottles in a hot oven for a week anyway.  :D

No cleaning for me.  Rinse after use, store upside down if I won't need them for a long while, squirt the interior with StarSan just prior to use.  First time bottles get a hot water soak just to get labels off.  Nearly two decades of brewing and no infections; from the bottle anyway.  YMMV.