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Bottle washers

Chas at Tahoe

Master Brewer
Aug 9, 2009
Reaction score
Reno, Nevada
I had boiled my bottles up to the last batch when I notice a label floating in the water.  Ugh.  I then noticed some funny stuff floating on the top of one bottle. Double ugh...  My son swore that he rinsed...

I've decided my next project should be a bottle washer.  Has anyone DIY'd a sucessful design?  I've seen lots of examples around the internet with wild testimonials.  Just wondering what works and is cheap.

For about $10 the jet bottle washer -made in traverse city michigan is awesome. Great for bottles and carboys.
After a thorough initial cleaning and label removal, I am pretty good about rinsing a bottle well when I pour it and placing it on a bottle tree to dry.  For re-use, I use one of those Italian bottle sprayer gadgets to shoot StarSan up into each bottle, and then I put bottles straight into the dishwasher.  I throw the remaining StarSan into the washer, and run a hot-wash, hot-dry, "Sanitizing" cycle that my dishwasher has.  It's a newer washer that I installed, so I know what's been in there, but it works for me. 


This picture shows it on the red fitting that attaches it to the tree, but I never use that.  It sits on the clear bowl and you pump the bottles up and down.  Insert "Carl The Greenskeeper" jokes here:  "It's in the hole!" 

hmmmm.  I've seen the pump washer and thought it would be to time consuming to wash one at a time.  I didn't think about washing after draining though.  I could call it, "working out".  :eek:)

One idea I had was to build a 12 bottle washing tree ( copper tubing ) with an aquarium pump.  Submerge the pump and tree in my sink filled with sanitizer and spray a steady stream of warm sanitizer into the bottles.  I could use the aquarium pump for my wort chiller too.

Does the "made in traverse city michigan is awesome" have a website?
Yeah - rinsing bottles 2 - 3 times after pouring out the beer is key to reducing work at the other end. I also store my cleaned empties in plastic totes to keep them clean and bug free between bottling.

When I bottle I spray the inside of the dishwasher with StarSan. I then scrub the kitchen sinks to remove any grunge. I fill one side with warm water that is just soapy (not too soapy as the bottles are basically clean) .... Strap on the iPod filled with Blues and Rock ... and start using the bottle brush. Six bottles at a whack then rinse each 2 - 3 times and into the dish washer. Its a good 30-40min work-out.

I do a mix of twelve 22oz and the rest 12oz

As I said ...  "Thar be plenty of cleaning and swabbing in this here pursuit"
I rinse until all the residue is gone too.  My boil was, hopefully, to sanitize.  I'm just trying stuff to see what works and what is easiest.  I got myself an 8gal boil pot and a wort chiller for practically nothing so I'm feeling pretty good about building a bottle cleaner using the aquarium pump and some copper tubing.  I'd fill the sink with warm water and sanitizer and just let the bottles rinse until they are clean;  Recycling water etc.
I fill my tub with Hot water, and OxyClean and let soak over night. Then I scrub the glue off the bottles and use the jet bottle washer for the inside of the bottles. Next They go into the dishwasher for a sanitizing wash (No soap. Soap kills Beer Head). Then into storage. When I'm ready to use they go back into the dishwasher another Sanitizing wash. Then spray with StarSan and fill with beer.

I rinse well after poring.  Then, I submerge the bottles in a bucket of left over Star San from my last brew day.

I then hang them to drip dry and store away.

On bottling day I again soak in Star San and bottle.
All good ideas to keep in mind. Right now I'm rincing well after emptying and storing in the original shipping box.  I have a gift card for Lowe's and think i'll try to build something.  I'm pretty disciplined about rincing but my son and friends are not. 

Thans for all the suggestions!  :)