Is submerging bottles in boiling water (assuming they've been rinsed out) for a few minutes a good method of sterilization? I'm still planning on spraying some metabisulphite afterwards, and then some star-san just before bottling. I just want to know if I can substitute a bleach soak with boiling water water. This is because I find the bleach method takes forever, including having to remove the flip-top wiring from the bottle, and rinsing the bleach-solution residue from the bottle.

  • 1
    Spraying with k-meta is overkill. Just use a Star-San, you'll be fine (I use a bucket + a spray bottle). It produces some bubbles, but I always just use more use more Star-San to help get them out when bottling. The only time I get k-meta in the mix if if I'm sanitizing corks (I make a k-meta humidor to sanitize w/ the fumes, rather than boiling the corks or soaking them in sanitizer).
    – valverij
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 16:09

6 Answers 6


It should work fine for sanitation, as long as the bottles have been cleaned in advance. If you were planning on using some star-san later though, why bother with the boiling water (or even the bleach in previous runs)? There really is no reason to sanitize twice like that. Clean the bottles well and let them sit until ready to use. Before bottling dunk them in some star san. No need for wasting time with boiling water or super hot bottles.

  • Oh interesting. What if some of my bottles have been drank out of directly? Ie) someone's lips have been wrapped around the rim? Is a rinse+star san gonna kill whatever mouth critters might be on it? Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 16:17
  • If they are clean, then yes.
    – brewchez
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 17:44

Simply washing with dish soap to remove residual beer and dirt from outside (lipstick) is fine. I then rinse with sani solution before storing. When I am ready to use a bottle, I rinse again with sani solution and bottle. No boiling water and hot bottles. No bleach. I have tossed a couple bottles that got some stuff growing in them because they were not washed, but other than that no issue.

Same with growlers.


Just a note of caution.

Bottles are not tempered glass. Dropping cool bottles in boiling water may break them or make micro fractures that will fail under carbonation pressure. Always do temperature changes slowly, submerge bottles and then apply heat once at 180°-200°F remove from heat. Boiling can make too much movement and bang bottles around.

I find an easy way is chemical wash and rinse and drip dry, put lose foil over each then place them in a cool oven and let them warm up to 200°F-250°F for a few minutes then allow them to cool with oven closed. Then pinch the foil tight, they are now sterile and are ready for bottling. This is a good method if you want to prep a lot of bottles that won't be filled for a couple of days.


i believe you can sanitize with either chemical or heat or a combination of both. Providing the bottles are clean you can santitze them with hot water at 82degrees if submerged for 30 seconds.

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    82 degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit? If that's 82 C (~180 F), then it would need to be submerged far longer then 30 seconds (I've seen numbers ranging from 5 - 20 minutes for 100 C/212 F). If that's 82 F, then that's not sanitizing anything, it's just making it wet.
    – valverij
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 20:27
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    @valverij is right, I believe. When i tried to ask, it was in line of "about an hour at 70 C" to kill most things I wanted dead. Luckily, that's what my dishwasher can do. 82 is bound to be more effective, but I can't believe it would be that much different.
    – Mołot
    Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 23:16
  • 30s @82C would be a poor sanitisation approach, and would defiantly not sterilise. If you were to wash then for 30s@82C, then hit them with a no-rinse sanitiser or add some phosphoric acid~15% to the hot water then yes this would probably be sufficient.
    – Mr_road
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 9:06
  • Actually, the dishwasher suggestion is a great one. I have done this when I have a lot of bottles to wash. I still rinse with sani solution after the dishwasher, but the dishwasher is a good way to get the temperature up for a sustained time frame and safer than boiling.
    – Ryan Whitt
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 14:36

Boiling your bottles is a great way to clean but you still need to use sanitizer.I run my bottles thru the dishwasher without detergent then sanitize before bottling..

  • Just dishwasher is fine. No need for sanitizing. Or do you sanitize your plates before you put food on them?
    – Robert
    Commented Apr 22, 2016 at 17:19

Nothing wrong with most suggestions here, but my typical method was clean with B-Brite (Oxyclean also works - look for cleaners with sodium percarbonate) after drinking and then storing and then sanitizing just before filling. Sanitizing can be how you wish, boiling with care is okay, but you don't need multiple sanitary treatments. Make sure you're clean as can be (no visible grime/dirt/glue/compounds) and then sanitation takes care of the rest. I've also heard of homebrewers baking clean bottles in the oven at low-ish temperatures.

I think this method works especially well for turning commercial bottles into homebrew bottles.

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