How To Sterilize Plastic Bottles For Food Storage?

Last Updated on May 24th, 2023

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There are many ways to clean a bottle or dishware. With a little antibacterial soap and warm water, the cleaning device of choice goes swishing around the item being cleaned.

The fact is this may not be enough for sanitizing the plastic of the bottle, which could then lead to poisonous consequences. To start, the best and most effective way to sterilize something (which has been proven over centuries) is to boil the item in water.

This goes for plastic bottles and basically anything that can withstand one hundred degrees Celsius (two hundred, twelve degrees Fahrenheit) temperatures of boiling water.

Empty water bottles - How to sterilize them for food?

What should you use for Sterilization?

Have you ever cooked a big thing of corn, boiled some potatoes or a big thing of pasta or mixed up a beef or bison stew with chopped veggies? That big pot, like the one you would use in the sentence before this one, with some water, is a good start.

The next thing would be to have tongs to grasp the hot bottles, possibly oven mitts to be safer from burns, and a place away from the stovetop to place the steaming plastic for drying.

Then adding salt, or sodium chloride, will not help speed up boiling but also provide another sanitizing element to the boiling water.


How does the Process Look?

The first step is to clean the bottle, which is as simple as running it through a dishwasher or putting soap and water in it in your kitchen sink. This will clean any gunk or potential contaminants from entering the sanitizing waters.

Next, after drying the plastic, boil water in a big pot and just like when sterilizing a baby bottle, place the item in the water for roughly ten minutes and remove it with sanitized tongs or other kinds of kitchenware.

If a stovetop is not available, then consider using chemical remedies such as baking soda and bleach mixed inside.


Where Should You Do It?

The best place to get this done would be on a stovetop, with a large pot that can allow for a water bottle to be fully submerged. Otherwise, taking the boiling water and filling the bowl or pot in a kitchen sink will also suffice, plus the added bonus of spill protection.

There will also be techniques that involve taking the water outside.

For example, backpacking or camping situations, where the boiled water on a campfire or camp stove will need to be poured out into a bowl In order to use the water to dunk your water bottle and other utilities into.


How Long Does it Take to Do it?

As mentioned previously, there are going to be about ten-minute cycles in which you will want to keep the plastic in the heated water. Any longer, and you risk warping the bottle, affecting the integrity of the bottle itself, which can cause leakages and seal issues.

Otherwise, the whole process, even when out in the wilderness areas, will take no more than a morning or an afternoon to complete.

The real number depends on the people and situation involved. If you have multiple bottles, this could take hours, but it is worth the health benefits in the long run.


Do you Need to Wear Gloves?

There are going to be certain situations that will call for gloves, but when boiling water for sanitizing plastic bottles, it will not be necessary.

Likewise, with anything hot in a kitchen setting, there will be no judgment when wearing potholders to avoid burns or unnecessary scalding of the skin.

To ensure safety and one hundred percent sanitization, wearing rubber gloves and using sterilized utensils will provide the best conditions for safely cleaning the plastic completely.

This is a common practice in industrial kitchens, even requiring changing them periodically to maintain sanitary conditions.


Final Thoughts on How to Sterilize Plastic Bottles for Food Storage

When sterilizing plastic bottles, it is important to remember these things; simple water and soap will not clean a water bottle completely, and the plastics will sometimes have contaminants inside the bottle itself.

In addition, mothers will boil baby bottles in water at ten-minute intervals. Thus, we can take a page from this book and apply this knowledge to Nalgene or other plastic food or water storage items.

Humans have been sterilizing tools and utensils for centuries by way of boiling water. Before the invention of modern gadgetry, we took it for granted. Then, cooking fires were utilized to do the same action as today.