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Dishwashing bottles with labels prior to bottling

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psiluvu

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I'm preparing to bottle 5 gallons and wonder if it would be OK to run the old bottles I've been saving through a dishwasher. These bottles have their original labels which I plan to leave on the bottle. I don't want to dissolve the labels and have them clog the filter on the dishwasher so is it just a matter of using a lower water temperature and not to get the labels too soft. Is it OK to use a dishwashing detergent as long as I sanitize the inside prior to bottling?
 

Johnd

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I'm preparing to bottle 5 gallons and wonder if it would be OK to run the old bottles I've been saving through a dishwasher. These bottles have their original labels which I plan to leave on the bottle. I don't want to dissolve the labels and have them clog the filter on the dishwasher so is it just a matter of using a lower water temperature and not to get the labels too soft. Is it OK to use a dishwashing detergent as long as I sanitize the inside prior to bottling?
I doubt your labels would survive at any temperature, nor should you use dishwashing detergent. Use a winemaking cleanser and wash the 25 bottles by hand, sanitize before filling with wine.
 

Stevelaz

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Some labels will come off in water, even cold water.
I agree. A lot of your labels will fall off or at least start to peel off. The dishwasher is ok, but only to sanitize using the high heat setting in the rinse. DO NOT use any soap, and still sanitize with kmeta or similar before bottling.

What i do is: After the bottle is emptied, before storing away, i will blast it with the bottle washer on basement faucet with highest heat, take label off if necessary but on bottle tree to dry, then store in box till ready to bottle.

At bottling time: I turn up the hot water heater to highest setting and again blast every bottle with hottest water, some times i will have to where a glove to hold the bottle it gets so hot. Fill the bottle tree, and then use the bottle washer on the tree to sanitize with kmeta. Start to bottle...then do again..
 

Mismost

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If you have a batch of dirty bottles, best to just get to work. Out in the shop I keep a five gallon bucket of PW cleaner full with soaking bottles. When I go out the shop I'll scrub out and de-label 5-6 bottles and reload the bucket....when dry I load them back in the boxes.

In the house, empty beer and wine bottles get cleaned RIGHT NOW...I'll wrap the wet dish rag around the bottle and lay it in the sink. Give it some time, razor scrape off the label, and put it in the Fast Rack sitting on the counter. I would much rather clean one bottle at a time, 30 times, than all 30 at once...but you gotta do what you gotta do. Just get it all done BEFORE bottling day...don't ask how I know that!
 

HankRearden

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Are you saving commercial bottles?
If so, here's what I found:

Bottles with labels glued with a water based adhesive - Keep (easy to soak and scrape off).

Bottles with labels glued with an oil based adhesive - Throw away (not worth it).

Need more? They're like $25 / dozen online. (cheaper if you have a local store) Definitely worth it.
 

dralarms

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Are you saving commercial bottles?
If so, here's what I found:

Bottles with labels glued with a water based adhesive - Keep (easy to soak and scrape off).

Bottles with labels glued with an oil based adhesive - Throw away (not worth it).

Need more? They're like $25 / dozen online. (cheaper if you have a local store) Definitely worth it.
Agree with first statement.

Second not so much. Peel the label off dry and soak bottle with goof off or wd-40. The best bottlesolution I have gotten used is from a local winery, I just bought 17 cases for 34 bucks and 1/2 were paper type labels and the other 1/2 were labels you could not soak off so I peeled the labels off and soaked the bottles in pbw and the glue wiped right off.

Also the dollar type store sells brass scouring pads for a buck for 4. It helps to get the stubborn glue off.
 

Stevelaz

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I got about 30 bottles from a local restaurant and threw away prob 5 of them cause the labels were on like cement!
 

Scooter68

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There are many ways to get labels off - even those that are not water based glue. Try soaking your bottles in hot water with a heavy concentration of Dawn dishwashing liquid. (It's a great oil emulsifier) Each label type can be different. For some I have used a citrus based cleaner then followed up with a dawn solution then another rinse and once I'm happy with the results I do a quick sanitizer wash before storing them. Then the day before bottling I give them the final sanitizing wash and leave them to drain and dry on my bottle rack.
Being retired and a cheapskate it's worth it to me. Why spend $25.00 (At least) plus shipping for a dozen bottles? I can usually swing by the recycling center 2-3 times on a Sunday or Monday and pick up enough (Matching sets) of bottle for my needs. I start picking up bottles when my wine is fermenting so I have plenty of time to get the bottles ready. Since my wine batches are usually from 1 - 4 gallons I don't have a need for scads of bottles and I enjoy seeing all the bottle shapes that are being used commercially. I just look for at least 5 of the same shape and color.
One small issue is that more and more commercial wine makers are using screw on closure but that hasn't become a big issue yet.

One tip if you are making white or light colored wines, be careful with the bottle glass colors. A number are a greenish or blue hue and that makes some wines look funky. Hey the hobby is supposed to be fun and saving money doing this can be fun too.
 

crcarey

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I use the same process as mismost. I soak in a 5 gallon bucket for a few hours, use a Home Depot retractable scraper from the paint department, I got a 100 pack of blades and change every 10 bottles or so. For glue residue I use steel wool. I can bang thru a bottle in about 30 seconds.
 

crcarey

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Also when I don't feel like delabeling, I found a guy on Craig's list that sells clean delabeled bottles for 5 bucks a case.
 

drainsurgeon

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I, like Scooter am a cheep skate LOL...I get my bottles from the recycling center too. I rinse, soak and 1/2 the labels just fall off. I scrape the others with a retractable window scraper and any glue residue comes off with a little Goo Gone and a paper towel. Then wash and rinse again and I sanitize before storing and again before bottling. I probably picked up 200 bottles this summer to add to my inventory. Did I mention that they were FREE?!?! (I love free stuff)
 

psiluvu

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Thanks to everyone who weighed in. What I did was remove the labels with a straight-edge razor blade. Some of the glue residue was left intact as I wasn't concerned about the appearance of the outside of the bottle as much as I was the inside. The bottles went through a wash cycle in the dishwasher using One Step then a heat dry cycle. The bottling procedure went well except for the corking. The corks were soaked in a warm water solution of P. Metabisulpite. The corks could not be completely pressed into the bottle. I returned the corks to the stove to reheat and tried again. This time I noticed that I may have slightly overfilled some bottles so drained off the excess and with the newly warmed corks, began the process again. The result was much better but still not "pretty". There was a depression in the top of the cork made by the plunger mechanism. Seems the plunger diameter (approx. 15mm diameter) could have been closer to the inside diameter of the bottles (approx. 18mm) which would have given it a better appearance. Suggestions to consider for future corking??
BTW... the wine was a success. Should have been... it had been "resting" in the carboy for nearly 17 months. Very clear!
 

Scooter68

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"The result was much better but still not "pretty". There was a depression in the top of the cork made by the plunger mechanism. Seems the plunger diameter (approx. 15mm diameter) could have been closer to the inside diameter of the bottles (approx. 18mm) which would have given it a better appearance. Suggestions to consider for future corking??"

As others may say Soaking very much can soften the corks and cause them to slip out or, as you have experience get indentations in the tops. Cork prep is a point of discussion on here so check into it if you want to get some ideas. I used to soak my corks but now I just put them a sanitizer solution as I do my bottle filling, then pop them in. (I don't do enough wine making to warrant any thing more than a plastic plunger corker.)

Of course you can always get the shrink toppers for your wine. I do that and folks like the way it looks when I give them a bottle.
 

HankRearden

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Agree with first statement.

Second not so much. Peel the label off dry and soak bottle with goof off or wd-40. The best bottlesolution I have gotten used is from a local winery, I just bought 17 cases for 34 bucks and 1/2 were paper type labels and the other 1/2 were labels you could not soak off so I peeled the labels off and soaked the bottles in pbw and the glue wiped right off.

Also the dollar type store sells brass scouring pads for a buck for 4. It helps to get the stubborn glue off.
Forgot about the WD40 trick.
Must try that next time!
 

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