recycled bottle post-cleaning logistics (for temporary storage)

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wine newbee

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I'm planning to rack my 1st grape wine soon and don't wanna leave anything to chance if possible, so ....

I've de-labeled my recycled btls and next comes sanitizing. I soaked the btls in a detergent/diluted chlorine solution to help loosen the labels. Still had to scrape off the gum residue (or glue, or whatever that is). Point being: I'm guessing I should rinse the btls super-well before sanitization (to remove chlorine remnants, I mean). Right?

I have the time to sanitize today but won't rack for several days, so .... is this all legit? Can I use StarSan and let the btls air-dry before using? If so, can the btls be placed on their sides for drying, or is upright OK?

Seems I've read here that sanitizing with StarSan can be done right before racking, and that there's no need to air-dry. True?

I've been told by some folks that I could merely clean with OxyClean and rinse, then dry. Would that work as well? I don't have a bottle brush, but I'm thinking that since only wine has been in the bottles so far, maybe there's no need to really scrub the insides of the btls?

You can tell I'm a tad none-too-confident about all of this. I'd hate to ruin my batch based on not cleaning btls enough. Too much time, effort and cash put into it.

Thx much for any advice, warnings, recommendations on this ....

itch
 

chicken

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Yes, I'd rinse really well to remove all traces of chlorine (in the future, instead of chlorine, you might try soaking in hot water and oxyclean to clean them and remove labels. I find that most labels come off rather easily, but a few might need some scraping).

You can sanitize with StarSan right before racking/bottling. No need to let them dry (in fact, it's preferable for them to still be wet with the sanitizer, so it's still actively working on any pathogens).

I have a bottle brush, but can't remember the last time I needed to use it. I rinse bottles as soon as they are empty, then soak them in hot water and oxyclean, and rinse and let dry. If they don't come clean the first time, I soak them again. I store clean bottles upside down in their cases, to keep out dust. When it's time to bottle, I sanitize them and I'm good to go.
 

Intheswamp

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Rinse with hot water. Rinse again. You don't want chlorine residue. I washed my bottles in B-Brite Cleanser with a bottle brush and rinsed really well with cold water...and then stood them on end inside of a couple of clean 5-gallon buckets to drain. Just prior to bottling I used squirted Star-San into the bottles with my pump-sanitizer. I held the bottles upside down for several seconds and let the bulk of the Star-San drain back into the pump-sanitizer's bowl and then set the bottles on the counter...bubbles and all. No problems. The saying that I've heard regarding Star-San is "Don't fear the foam!". Definitely use a sanitizer (Star-San) on the bottles and on everything else used for your bottling project...I feel sanitizing just before bottling is the best.

As for a bottle brush, the wine bottles *should* be ok without using a bottle brush on them unless some of the bottles were not rinsed out promptly after the wine was drank and some of the residue dried into a sticky spot/film. I ordered these brushes off of Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B075DDH3WQ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o01_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1 ...for the number of bottles that I anticipate washing these will probably last me YEARS. :)

You said it...you've invested "Too much time, effort and cash...". Don't skimp on cleaning and sanitizing now that you're nearing the finish line.

Best wishes.
Ed
 

wine newbee

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A zillion thx, guys; I feel better about the effort now. Things fall apart ... but then, things come together.
 

Scooter68

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If you have the time and tools - build* or buy yourself a drying rack. OR buy a few of those plastic "Milk Crates"

As suggested RINSE RINSE RINSE if you've used a clorine based cleaner or really for that matter ANY dish detergent. Beware of solvents used for removing labels - eventually you will learn which brands of wine have those nasty adhesives and leave them be at the recycling center. (You might even want to take sample labels or photos of the good, the bad and the UGLY wine brands. ) After you spend 10 mins on a single bottle to remove a label, remove that solvent you used to get the label off and and then wash off THAT cleaner you'll get a lot wiser about all of it)

THEN if you can, adopt a game plan maybe something like I try to do.
When I start a batch -THAT's when I collect and clean the bottles for that batch.
Clean them up, rinse off and sanitize, store them in a box or plastic storage container with a lid.
Then several days to a week before bottling# get them out, check them over and sanitize again.

Yes, you should be fine if you can leave those bottles upside down to drain and dry for several days to a week. OR rinse and drain the day you bottle.

* I used a piece of plywood cut to rest over my sink and drain excess sanitizer into the sink. I used a 3/4" plywood and drilled holes to fit very snug 1/2 PVC pipe (6" long) into the holes. The plywood got several coats of floor grade varnish so the water doesn't bother it. After washing or sanitizing I can get 21 bottles at a time on that board. I can even place my 1 gallon carboy on it safely to drain too. Whatever you can find that will drain the bottles and not be bothered by the water should be fine.

# Just don't forget where you stored them - says the person who went crazy a week before bottling. Gathered a bunch of new bottles, de-labled etc etc THEN found that plastic container with 40+ bottles ready to use. sigh.
 
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Scooter68

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Currently I have 2 large plastic containers of clean ready to go bottles along with about a dozen more. Getting a little OCD I try to make sure all bottles for a batch are "identical" same brand source or at least color, shape, dimensions.
 
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To start with I bought a bottle tree for drying, they're fairly cheap, and hold 45 bottles. I used to use chlorine but switched to dawn in really hot water to rinse the bottles out, then rinsed in hot, allowed to dry, Starsan sanitizer the morning of or day before bottling. Just purchased a few fastrack trays for bordeaux bottles, as they allow the bottles to stand upright, and nothing settles in the shoulders, even though dried out Starsan suds dont affect anything. Built myself a carboy/single bottle washer using a pump in a bucket, recently upgraded to a homemade 12 bottle washer contraption using 1/2 inch PVC that fits in a tote, the fastrack tray sits on there, should speed up the process (over 300 bottles to fill in the next month or so) although it does take more Starsan to fill the tote, almost 5 galls now versus 2 gallons in bucket.
 

iridium

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Does anyone put the bottles in a boiling water bath for initial cleaning and delabeling? I do that and then sanitize right before I get ready to bottle. So far it has worked for me.

I am also getting better at finding the bottles with the easy to remove labels. So much easier.
 

Scooter68

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Whatever approach works for you. Boiling water for the purpose of label remove is fin but you don't need to do that for cleaning/sanitizing purposes. Rinse well if you used any soap or bleach in the process. Normally I sanitize before storing, then eyeball them once more before a final pre=-bottling sanitizing.
 

Intheswamp

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I may not be doing this right and I haven't done but a couple of batches. I use B-Brite in a plastic tote to soak and wash the bottles. This past summer I even sat the tote in a wheelbarrow and covered it with a sheet of plastic...solar heated bath. It sounds like not everybody uses a bottle-brush...I just can't bring myself not to use one, seems that a brush removes films and a little specks that might be in the bottle...soak'em, bottle-brush'em, drain, and sanitize (Star San) before bottling.

I was a little concerned about the instructions to rinse the B-Brite off with cold water...I figured it wouldn't rinse well, but it rinses very well with cold water. We're talking non-heated water here, not ice-water. ;) I wasn't overly impressed with B-Brite's statement that it's good for removing labels, though. Some labels came off fine, some didn't. Maybe the de-labeling would have been worse without it...??? I'm thinking of trying the Oxyclean-Green when I run out of B-Brite to see how it performs.

Has anyone every used the de-labeling tool that LabelPeelers sells?
 

SouthernVino

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I use a system that is fast and easy for me and seems to work great to remove labels. I just pour boiling water into the wine bottle and let it sit for a couple of minutes. The heat inside the bottle softens the glue on the label allowing you just to peal it off. For the glue residue still on the bottle, I just spread a little peanut butter on it and let it sit overnight. The next day, I use Dawn dishwashing soap to finish the cleanup. All natural, no chemicals, except for the dishwashing soap. I rinse the inside thoroughly and store till bottling. At bottling time, I use 1-Step and my Fast Washer 12 and then sterilize with Star San. Works like a charm for me.
 

Scooter68

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Bottle brush is part of my routine. I still recheck before final sanitizing. In the routine of stripping labels cleaning and rinsing and first sanitization it's still possible for me to miss something.
 

gsf77

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I use a system that is fast and easy for me and seems to work great to remove labels. I just pour boiling water into the wine bottle and let it sit for a couple of minutes. The heat inside the bottle softens the glue on the label allowing you just to peal it off. For the glue residue still on the bottle, I just spread a little peanut butter on it and let it sit overnight. The next day, I use Dawn dishwashing soap to finish the cleanup. All natural, no chemicals, except for the dishwashing soap. I rinse the inside thoroughly and store till bottling. At bottling time, I use 1-Step and my Fast Washer 12 and then sterilize with Star San. Works like a charm for me.
I'm interested in "how" the pb reacts with the glue - any ideas?
 

sour_grapes

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I'm interested in "how" the pb reacts with the glue - any ideas?
Sure! Peanut butter is basically oil, with some solids. The oils sit there, interact with, and then dissolve the non-polar parts of the glue (which is most of it). You could do the same thing with any light oil, but the consistency of PB works well for such a task.

I once walked into my college dorm room to find my roommate and his girlfriend at odds; she was extremely mad, and my roommate had a pair of scissors in his hand. Seems he had stuck gum in her hair, and, after fighting about it for ~1 hour while trying to get it out, she reluctantly concluded that she had to let him just cut it out of her hair. I walked in in the nick of time, told them to stop, and slathered PB on the gum in her hair. Before you knew it, we could wipe the gum+PB away. I didn't get the girl out of the deal, though :( :D
 

gsf77

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I can see the consistency of Peanut Butter holding the oil in place. This method (of holding something on the right spot) is practiced in medicine as well. Thanks
 

ZebraB

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OMG. The hot water trick is so Much better and soaking and scraping! Thanks for the tip. However, I will stick to my mineral spirts for the outside glue residue. It is much cheaper and it is outside the bottle. Plus I get to eat the peanut butter all for myself.
 

CDrew

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You can even eliminate the hot water. Put the bottles in your oven at 220F for 15 minutes, then then use a thick glove or towel to hold on and pull off the labels. Most glue in USA wine at least is heat sensitive. Then you can use what ever method you like to remove the glue residuals. I tend to use a brillo pad, but mineral spirits would be a good thought. Just make sure your bottles have cooled off before you get them wet. I've had a couple crack when I was trying to hurry things up.
 

Scooter68

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Sorry but using Mineral Spirits just complicates the cleaning job THEN you have to use another cleaner to remove the Mineral Spirits - even on the outside of the bottles.

Too many bottles out there with labels that come off without the use of toxic chemicals.

When I know a brand of bottle has a label that won't come off without such chemicals, I just leave it in the recycling bin. I keep track of the easy ones and toss back the ugly ones.
 
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