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My dishwasher has a built in rinse agent dispenser that it claims must be filled for every use, besides I have no clue how to empty it once it is filled. Can I still run my bottles in the dishwasher without detergent? Also why can't you use the dishwashing detergent for a dishwasher? My dishwasher also has a sanitize cycle that automatically occurs would that be good enough for bottles?

Thanks, Bruce

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4 Answers 4

Dishwasher detergent is generally not recommended because most detergents have perfumes and rinse agents. The perfumes tend to stay on the glass until a thorough hand-rinse, and the surfactants in rinse agents destroy your beer's head and lacing.

If you can run the dishwasher without any of these (I'm not sure from your description if that's possible), the sanitize cycle should be sufficient for bottles. However, unless your model is NSF certified for sanitization, I would be somewhat leery of the sanitize cycle. It might be a good idea to test a handful of bottles side-by-side with bottles that have been cleaned and soaked in a standard sanitizer.

Speaking of which, you can always rely on StarSan, One Step, or any other no-rinse solution. As long as your bottles aren't growing fuzzies, a quick soak is all that's needed, and you can skip the dishwasher altogether.

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Ok, thank you for the reply. I have started not drinking from the bottles, and rinsing them out with mild soapy water and then a water rinse right after pouring. I am also, after they dry putting the old caps, after they too are washed, back on the bottles to try to keep the dust and what not from entering the bottles while I wait for the day of bottling. –  Bruce Martin Jan 2 '11 at 3:26
In the last 4 years I never had problems with dish soap. –  Robert Apr 25 '14 at 17:46

When I was bottling, I frequently used beer-brite in lieu detergent and had no problems at all.

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Hmm, interesting idea. So long as you don't have a fancy dishwasher with that rinsing agent, that is. –  thaddeusmt Jan 5 '11 at 5:07

I rinse my bottles out after I drink them, then run them through the dishwasher with the other dishes, and store them in a box with the lids open (I use spring top bottles.) Before I bottle, I wash them out by hand with soap, rinse them out until the soap is gone, and run them through the dishwasher on the sanitizing cycle without detergent.

I don't think the dishwasher is really able to get much water up inside the bottles, which is why I hand wash them first. My dishwasher does use rinse agent, and I have never had any problems.

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I rinse out bottles after I drink them and store them in a closet. Near bottling day, I do a dishwasher load with regular detergent for getting rid of dust and bits of residue in the bottles. It also helps remove any old labels/glue on the bottles. With just the normal dishwasher sanitize, I've never had any skunked homebrews.

Brandon's definitely right that not all dishwashers are created equal, so your mileage may vary on how good your dishwasher is. Another stunningly obvious thing is to make sure there's enough room for your bottles and to load them upside down and space evenly apart. When I overloaded the dishwasher once, I had some puddles form that made me a bit leery.

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