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At the moment I'm sanitizing bottles by submerging them in sanitizing solutions (and letting them fill of course), and then running them through the dishwasher with no detergent/etc. The dishwasher doesn't have a 'sanitize' option so this last stage is probably superfluous...

I probably need to buy a bottle tree to store the bottles. Would it be okay to sanitize the bottles a day beforehand? or should I really keep to doing it a matter of minutes /hour before bottling?

(I'm physically washing the bottles shortly after they are opened and are still wet)

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First, it's unnecessary, as you concluded, to do both of those things. Each individual step (dunk in sanitizing solution OR running through the dishwasher, sans detergent) effectively sanitizes the bottle, one by chemical, the other by heat. Sure, doing both is technically an extra-safe and cautious move, but pointless in my opinion. Neither is sterilizing, and either is plenty effective alone.

I would not recommend sanitizing in solution too long before use. Maybe a couple hours is fine. However, if you sanitize in the dishwasher you can do it the night before, no problem. You're effectively sanitizing the whole inside of the dishwasher by running it, so if you leave it closed the bottles should stay sufficiently sanitized in a nice safe place. Leaving bottles on a bottle tree overnight in the open air might let air currents deposit weird stuff up inside your bottles.

  • Good thought about doing the dishwasher the night before. I've seen mixed recommendations online about regular dishwasher cycles though. – winwaed Feb 21 '15 at 19:46
  • Yes with that it all, of course, depends on your particular dishwasher model and how hot it gets for how long on the best available cycle. I wonder if you could check by putting a thermometer in a plastic bag during the cycle or something like that.. – Franklin P Combs Feb 21 '15 at 20:25

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