Glass is a fantastic material for food and drink storage. It’s recyclable, it looks great, and there are thousands of different styles you can choose from, so it’s easy for you to get the packaging product you need. It’s also reusable, which makes it a great option for many home food producers as well as businesses big and small. But whether you’re reusing a bottle or using a new one, it’s always recommended to sterilise the container before you fill it with your beer, wine, jam or any other food product. Yep, even brand new glass bottles and jars should be sterilised before use. Since we’re specialists in all things glass, we’ve put together this guide to show you how to sterilise glass bottles.
Why Do I Need To Sterilise My Glass Bottles?
First things first: you might have heard it’s important to sterilise glass bottles, but you might not know why. Sterilisation ensures your products are clean enough to keep your food fresh for as long as possible. If you don’t sterilise your bottles, bacteria can easily find its way into the nooks and crannies of your glassware, and can quickly spoil your product.
How Do Sterilisation Processes Work?
There are 2 main options for sterilising glass bottles: heat or dishwashing.
When you use heat to sterilise your glass bottles, the temperatures reached eventually kill any harmful bacteria in the bottle. Be warned – you’ll need oven gloves and heat-proof containers if you use this method. You’ll also need to check your bottles will be able to withstand high temperatures without cracking or shattering – not all glass is created equal in this regard.
If you have a dishwasher with a high temperature setting, you can also use this to sterilise your bottles. It’s easier than heating in the oven – just set the rinse cycle to run and use the bottles when the cycle has finished. However, not everyone has a dishwasher – and even if you do, a lot of water is used even in a single rinse cycle, so it’s not the most eco-friendly sterilising option.
Top tip! Before you start, make sure your bottles are able to withstand temperatures of up to 160c.
Start any of these processes by giving your bottles a scrub with soap and water first.
In The Oven
Heat your oven to 160c.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment and place your bottles on the tray.
Put in the oven for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and fill as soon as possible.
In The Dishwasher
Put your bottles in the dishwasher by themselves (no used plates, please).
Set the dishwasher running on a hot rinse cycle.
Wait for the cycle to finish.
Take the bottles out of the dishwasher and fill them as soon as you can.
You can also use either of these methods to sterilise glass jars and bottle caps or lids. If your lids are made of plastic, don’t put them in the oven unless you know they’re oven-safe. If you need an alternative method for your lids, you can boil them in water for 15 minutes.
When your bottles have been sterilised, it’s important that you fill and seal them as soon as you can to avoid any bacteria re-entering the bottle after the process is complete. However, safety is always first! Make sure you use oven gloves when handling your bottles and lids, and keeps kids and pets out of the kitchen until your bottles are safely sealed.
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