How to Use a Dishwasher to Sterilize Beer Bottles

Updated February 21, 2017

Brewing beer can be a fun and rewarding project that could prove to be an enjoyable lifetime hobby. An important part of the brewing process is cleaning the beer bottles before using them to bottle the libation. A dishwasher can be extremely useful in sanitising not only the outside of the bottles but also some of the equipment used in the brewing process.

Place clean beer bottles in the dishwasher upside down so the open end is facing downward.

Fill the dishwasher soap compartment with the normal amount of dishwashing soap. This step is optional and if you do not want to use dishwashing soap, it is not necessary.

Close the dishwasher and adjust the settings to "heat dry" and to the longest cleaning cycle.

Turn the dishwasher on. When the cycle is completed, open the dishwasher door and allow any remaining moisture to evaporate before using the beer bottles.


If the inside of the bottles are dirty before putting them in the dishwasher, it is unlikely that the dishwasher will effectively clean residue from the inside of the bottles. Clean the inside of the bottles with dish soap, warm water and a bottle brush. If the residue is especially stubborn, you may soak the bottles in a solution of 1/4 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of warm water. Soak until the residue loosens. Rinse before putting the beer bottles into the dishwasher. Vinegar may be substituted for the dishwashing soap in the soap compartment in the dishwasher. If time allows, turn up the heat on your water heater, wait a few hours and use the dishwasher as normal for added disinfecting heat.


Use an unscented dish detergent in the dishwasher. Do not use a dishwasher rinse-aid in the sanitising process. It can prevent your beer from forming a head. Do not allow the bottles to sit in the dishwasher after being cleaned for more than a few hours. Bacteria may grow in the bottles given too much time in the dishwasher.

Things You'll Need

  • Beer bottles
  • Dishwasher
  • Dishwasher soap (optional)
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About the Author

Rachael Lingerfelt has been writing since 2009 and occasionally publishes in Bozeman Montana's Community Food Co-Op's online newsletter about food and nutritional topics. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Montana State University.