At this point I am using regular dishwashing liquid for cleaning my bottles. This is not perfect, I know and I think, I am seeing a detrimental effect on the foam, but I do not know a good alternative. Can you guys name any?
I soak in OxiClean Free, warm to hot water for 20 minutes or so. Then, rinse thoroughly with hot water. It helps to shake around the rinse water in the bottle, as OxiClean leaves a slick film that won't come right off unless you agitate the rinse water or use a scrub brush. OxiClean is great at stripping off beer residue and also helps to remove the labels.
Other similar products that are brewing-specific include B-Brite and PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash). PBW can be rinsed with cold water, which can be helpful if you find yourself using a lot of hot water in cleaning (or if say, your wife is doing laundry and dishes while you're trying to clean your bottles and you run out of hot water).
After using any of the above to clean the bottles, it is still necessary to sanitize. I finish by soaking in Iodophor for at least 20 minutes and letting them dry completely by hanging them upside-down on a bottle tree.
1Thanks for the answers, all of you. Problem is I am in Sweden and don't think we have OxiClean around here (definitely can't get it in my local homebrew-store). What is it wrt ingredients? Maybe there is something comparable.– TobiDec 19, 2010 at 18:29
How high do you concentrate the PBW for bottle cleaning?– TobiDec 19, 2010 at 18:29
I'm not sure what shipping costs and/or import issues there would be, but you can definitely get OxiClean online: amazon.com/s/… Dec 20, 2010 at 19:58
Tobi, I just follow the instructions as to how much to use (not sure off-hand). Doesn't take much though!– markskarDec 23, 2010 at 16:05
Pretty much any percarbonate based cleaner will be about the same as Oxiclean or PBW. You should be able to find something in Sweden. Dec 27, 2010 at 21:40
I use either Oxiclean (the Oxiclean Versatile works as well as the free and leaves no odors or residue) or PBW. I did some tests and found that PBW works better than Oxiclean, but it close, and for the lower price Oxiclean is a great choice. If you always rinse your bottles as soon as they're empty it makes cleaning them much easier.
I do a 15 minute soak in hot water and OxiClean Free. Night before bottling, I run through the dishwasher on high-heat, heated dry with no soap. So far, it has worked well, although I will likely be adding a sanitizer step in there somewhere.
To clean up the bottles use dishwashing powder (the stuff you put in the auto dishwasher) as it will dissolve all the dried on beer residue quickly and it rinses off quickly in hot water. I usually add a good teaspoon or two to each bottle and fill with hot water and let soak. When I rinse I shake the bottles out hard and rinse 4 times.
To sterilise - in order to preserve the beer quality & head retention I only use boiling water.
I heat a 10l pot to the boil and fill the bottles half way before shaking the hot water out. Use gloves. This also ensures a final rinse of any chemical residue.
I've used TSP(Trisodium Phosphate) in my carboids when they get a little crusty and it works well in the bottles too. Should be available in most stores that carry paint. Needs a good rinse after, and like others I give the bottles a run through the dishwasher without soap and sanitize with iodophor before use.
Diversol is a great cleaning / sanitizing agent, but it requires a 20-minute soak (unless you mix it at contact-sanitizing strength) and a rinse.
I using oxiclean to remove the labels & soak after use. on bottling day I run the bottles through the dishwasher (no soap).
For simplicity and effectiveness, I have only soaked bottles in a bleach solution. 2 oz./5 gallons. I usually let them soak for at least an hour and rinse them thoroughly with hot water. Soak longer to get stubborn labels/glues off. I have had no problems with contamination afterwards.
This is such a critical step, of course! Thankfully, the chances of contamination in all of your bottles is very low if you are careful and kill the beer-hungry bugs.
Bleach will not work with removing soil or beer stone. Bleach is a sanitizer not a cleanser.– brewchezDec 14, 2012 at 21:15