How to clean beer bottles for homebrew? (3 steps)

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How to clean beer bottles for homebrew?”, discuss answers to other related questions like why is it important to clean beer bottles and what chemicals are used to clean beer bottles.

How to clean beer bottles for homebrew?

Making beer at home is fun but the cleanup part after its making can get you frustrated. But this part holds great importance because how you clean beer bottles determines how sustainable and hygienic your brewing is.

Cleaning beer bottles is crucial not only for beer’s flavor but also to avoid contamination that can cause mold. 

To clean beer bottles, you also need to have a comprehensive understanding of the cleaning agents. Because you cannot use household cleaners since they are unsafe for human consumption or they are too mild to effectively clean your beer bottles.

3 steps to clean beer bottles for homebrew

Cleaning bottles for homebrew majorly comprises cleaning the bottles and then sanitizing them. Cleaning your beer bottles means that you have removed all of the visible dirt and residues, but not living organisms. Sanitizing means you have treated your bottles with a chemical solution or that will eliminate virtually all spoilage organisms such as molds, wild yeast, and bacteria.

Soak your bottles overnight

The first step in clean the beer bottles is to soak them overnight in a solution of OxiClean or a generic version of it in a large watertight container or a simple bathtub. It is better to wear gloves on your hands before you proceed with the cleaning process. Plug the tub and turn the water to mostly hot. As the tub is filling, add 2-3 scoops of your oxygen cleaner, more or less depending on the size of your tub or container, to make the water slippery. Once the cleaner is mixed evenly, and you have a few inches of water in your tub or container, start filling the bottles with the cleaner solution. When the bottles are filled then, run just enough water to fully submerge them and leave the bottles to soak overnight.

Clean and remove labels

After the bottles have been left soaked overnight, they will be ready to clean. Don’t forget to wear gloves on your hands otherwise, the cleaner can dry out your skin. To clean the bottles, dump a little more than half the water out of the bottle, then plug it with your finger and shake it vigorously for a few seconds. This should be all it takes to get the inside of the bottle clean.

Now you need to remove the labels and glue. For this, use your fingers to peel off what you can and throw it in the trash. After this, dip the steel wool in the water and scrub off the rest of the label and the glue. Once the outside is clean, rinse the bottle with clean tap water inside and out and set it aside. Repeat until all of the bottles are clean.

Sanitize your beer bottles

The final step in cleaning the beer bottles is sanitizing them. There are many ways to do this but you can simply use the dishwasher to serve the purpose. Just place your rinsed bottles in a dishwasher and run a high-temperature wash and dry with no detergent. 

If you are not having a dishwasher, you can use no-rinse beer brewing sanitizers in place. All you need to do is just follow the directions on the container.

Why is it important to clean beer bottles?

Cleaning beer bottles at home for homebrewing is important economically. Although homebrew stores sell new ones, they are not very cheap. So, there is no need to pay for empty bottles when you probably throw them away daily. Therefore, it is important to understand that clean used bottles are just as good as new ones, and they are free too.

What chemicals are used to clean beer bottles?

As described earlier, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of the cleaning agents to clean beer bottles. Because you cannot use household cleaners since they are unsafe for human consumption or they are too mild to effectively clean your beer bottles.

Here is brief information about some cleaning agents that may help you decide which cleaning agent you can use to clean your beer bottles:

You can use washing-up liquid for entry-level cleaning but not for sanitizing. Make sure to extra rinse off the scented cleaners as they can spoil the flavor and aroma of your beer.

Bleach is good for cleaning and sanitizing, but requires extra attention and care. It is a strong reagent and can affect the material of bottles. So, it is better to dilute it before you use it. Diluted bleach also works effectively and helps you eliminate its aroma when rinsed.

Conclusion:

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How to clean beer bottles for homebrew?”, discussed answers to other related questions like why is it important to clean beer bottles and what chemicals are used to clean beer bottles.

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