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How to sterilise glass bottles, including wine bottles

Sterilising glass bottles is one of the most important parts of home brewing. Find out how to sterilise glass bottles perfectly with these simple steps, and enjoy hygienic home brewing!.

Updated

Coloured glass bottles against yellow backdrop

Forget impressive facial hair and a solid commitment to plaid: sterilising glass bottles properly is the real secret to successful homebrew. Without thorough sterilisation, you’ll end up with a powdery, mouldy film across your creation, and it’s likely to smell and taste more like vinegar than the tasty tipple that you were aiming for!

In order to avoid the risk of lurking bacteria or mould spores spoiling your brew, some heavy-duty cleaning is required. Read on to find out how to sterilise glass bottles and how to sterilise wine bottles like a pro. Not a homebrew fan and were looking to find out how to sterilise your water bottle? Head to our guide on washing water bottles.

Key Steps:

  • Wash bottles thoroughly and remove sticky labels.   

  • Soak in a solution of bleach and hot water.    

  • Rinse thoroughly with distilled water.  

  • Dry and further sterilise in a clean, hot oven.    

  • Fill and seal bottles immediately to avoid contamination.

Wash your bottles thoroughly and promptly straight after use. Washing them immediately will stop any drying-on of sticky residue, making the sterilising process much easier and more thorough when you come to it.

How to sterilise glass bottles

Sterilising glass bottles can be fairly labour intensive, especially if you are sterilising a lot of them. However, cutting corners could risk spoiling your brew, so it’s well worth taking the time to do it properly. Follow this step-by-step guide on how to sterilise glass bottles so there’s no risk of spoiling your beverage.

  1. First, give your bottles and bottle tops a thorough initial clean.

    If the bottles still have labels attached to them, soak them in hot water with a good dishwashing liquid, for about 10 minutes.

  2. Peel.

    Peel off the label and any sticky residue.

  3. Make up a solution.

    Don a pair of plastic gloves to protect your hands before making up a solution of 1 gallon of water and 1 tablespoon of multi-usage bleach, like Domestos.

  4. Soak.

    Soak the bottles and bottle tops in the bleach solution for a further 10 minutes, before using a nylon bottle brush to scrub the interiors of the bottles. Use a small brush or clean toothbrush to scrub the insides of the bottle tops.

  5. Use water that has been boiled.

    Use water that has been boiled to rinse the bottles thoroughly until all traces of the bleach have been removed. It’s a good idea to allow the water to cool after you have boiled it, to avoid burning yourself by accident. Do not use plain tap water as this could lead to contamination of the bottles.

How to sterilise wine bottles in the oven

This method may sound rather unorthodox, but it’s a great additional step to be extra sure that all bacteria have been removed. It’s important to note that bottle tops should not be baked in the oven, as it could cause them to become warped. Follow these steps on sterilising glass bottles and sterilising wine bottles in the oven.

  1. First and foremost, ensure that the inside of your oven is sparkling clean.

    There’s no point in sterilising bottles in a dirty oven! Use a specially designed cleaner like Cif Oven Cleaner to get the job done. For more details tips and tricks for cleaning the oven, head to our handy guide.

  2. Pre-heat the oven.

    Once the oven is clean and dry, pre-heat it to 160°C.

  3. Use a clean baking tray.

    Place the bottles on a clean baking tray lined with parchment paper.

  4. Bake!

    Bake the bottles for approximately 15 minutes.

  5. Remove the bottles.

    Fill and seal them with your brew immediately, to avoid the introduction of any bacteria.

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

Sterilising wine bottles and glass bottles in the oven is easy – just remember to handle the hot bottles very carefully with clean oven gloves so you don’t burn your hands. Now you know how to sterilise glass bottles, make sure your glasses are clean as well. Follow our guide on how to clean glasses for the perfect serve.

Originally published