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How do you sterilize your bottles?

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I was woefully ignorant of the necessity to sterilize my bottles, pumps, lids, equipment, etc, in the beginning days of my business, and now that I have my own process down, I'm curious as to what others do. Plus, I'd love some feedback about if you think my method is safe enough, or if I need to be doing something different or additional. Thanks!

First, I thoroughly clean my counters with a bleach/water mixture and lay down a few layers of just opened paper towels.. Then, I rinse out the insides and outsides of my bottles, lids, pumps, etc, every bit that will be used in packaging, with rubbing alcohol, then I allow to air dry on the new paper towels. Before I go to bed that night, I dip my hands in alcohol and allow them to air dry, then place all the cleaned bottles and lids in freezer Ziplocs and store them in their appropriate drawers. When I take them out to put product in them, I again clean my hands with alcohol or at the very least, thoroughly wash them with antibacterial soap.

Your turn!

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I don't sterilize my bottles as long as they come from the supplier protected in plastic bags and look clean. Sometimes I might swish them in alcohol, but I'm afraid if I add water, I might create a problem.

The big guys supposedly don't sterilize their bottles.

I do everything else though to clean the area I work in and all my utensils. Put them through the dishwasher, then soak them in sanitizing solution that DH uses for his microbrew equipment.

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working in a surgical area I am very well schooled on strict asepsis and am aware of how EASILY things can be cross-contaminated. Unless you don surgical gloves and everything you touch is sterile, there is no way to prevent the introduction of micro organisms into your product. I think the best we can do short of autoclaving everyting and "suiting up" for surgery, is to work on clean surfaces that have been cleaned with either a bleach/water mix or alcohol (at least 90 proof), have clean hands that have been scrubbed thoroughly with an antibacterial soap (for at least 3 mins and don't forget under the nails!) and that you use an effective and appropriate preservative to prevent things from growing.

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  • 15 years later...

I need to sterilize some 2 dram glass bottles that I've used to make perfume oils, to re-use with different scents.  This is for my own use, not selling, but I still would like them as clean as possible.  There's always a chance there were little germy things sticking around that are just too small to see.  The only thing I can think is scrub them and their little plastic lids with alcohol and a tiny brush.  Is there a better idea?

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For bottles straight from manufacturer they are ready to use.

If you want to sterilize tools etc 70 percent isopropyl not 91 sprayed on items works.

There are other types of materials sterisan, stearamine tablets.


For oily liquid reuse personal use only. You can use dawn liquid hot water. Then use 70 per cent alcohol to remove any remaining greasy residue. Top roll ons I would get new ones it’s not worth the effort to reuse and they will carry the fragrance in the plastic.


70 per cent isopropyl works better than 91 per cent because it does not evaporate as fast as higher percentage.

This (as been discussed with cosmetic lab scientists and the recommend this strength.

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