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

  • Not really an answer, but I've had good luck using the oven - 250F for a while, cool slowly, no rinse needed
    – Pepi
    Commented Jun 18, 2015 at 6:39

6 Answers 6


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.

  • 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
    Commented Jan 2, 2011 at 3:26
  • In the last 4 years I never had problems with dish soap.
    – Robert
    Commented Apr 25, 2014 at 17:46
  • About sanitizing, you'd be surprised how well even a plain normal dishwater will do. Back in the time at university, we tried this in microbiology. Putting dozens of rich cultures of diverse germs into standard (not laboratory grade) dishwashers and carefully cultivating swabs afterwards. Half a dozen machines loaded with two dozen cups each, we found mold in one, and clostridium spp in another cup, and zero of anything else. So, for all practical purposes, you can consider stuff coming out of a dishwater "sterilized" (real "sterile" goods are only 10^-8 or so reduced , too -- not 100%).
    – Damon
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 12:37

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

  • Hmm, interesting idea. So long as you don't have a fancy dishwasher with that rinsing agent, that is.
    – thaddeusmt
    Commented Jan 5, 2011 at 5:07

You really don't want rinse aid on your bottles. My dishwasher rinse aid reservoir has a little dial (meant to control level of rinse aid being dispensed) that I can turn off for sanitizing bottles. Every dishwasher is different, so check yours, under the cap? In lieu of this, if your rinse aid dispenses out a hole instead of through threading in the cap, you can plug that with a tight fitting cork or rubber plug. And finally, if all else fails, you can either try to timing the bottling of your beer with your dishwasher naturally running out of rinse aid (good luck with that!), or "rinse" out the rinse aid by overfilling it with water repeatedly and opening/ shutting the door to try and flush it out. Not the most effective method, but better than coating bottles with a light film of surfactant that has the potential to affect head and flavor.


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.


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.


Can you not just put the bottles on a dry cycle, which uses heat but no water? If you put the bottles in wet (or if you pour a little water in the bottom of the dishwasher before starting it) you will get steaming action to help with the sanitization, but it's really the heat you need not the cleaning action of the dishwasher.

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