How To Sterilize Bottles For Canning

Last Updated on November 4, 2020 by cmoarz

How to sterilize bottles for canning

how to sterilize bottles for canning for beginners.

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Canning has been with mankind for hundreds of years. Certainly, it wasn’t as advanced as it is today, But one thing always held true, You have to sterilize your jars.

There is no way you wouldn’t want to anyway if you could see the stuff that can grow in your food. Besides, a clean jar means you can store all types of fruits, veg, jams, and soups without any worry of poisoning yourself or your family. So, if you would like to how to sterilize bottles for canning this is the perfect read for you.

We cover the oven, microwave, and stove top and a few bonus facts. So read on fellow canner.

Is it necessary to sterilize canning jars?

Sterilization of jars used for canning is a very crucial step nowadays due to the tremendous increase in microbial diseases. It protects the food from getting spoil and kill the micro-organisms like yeast, fungi, and bacteria, which are very likely to cause an infection.

Even the new jars are contaminated. That’s why it is highly recommended to clean them before filling the food, even if the jars are being re-used or are new.

These may contain dust particles and pieces of glass in case of breakage, which is very dangerous if left; that’s why sterilizing them is necessary.

Michigan University has stated that whatever jar you are using, you should always wash them thoroughly before filling them with your favorite food or fruits.

Tips and precautions for sterilizing canning jars

Learning how to sterilize bottles for canning doesn’t need to be intimidating, check out some of our tips.

For protecting the jar from any transport damage, you should always go for the jar or bottle, mainly designed for canning purposes. They should have an airtight lock lid, which ensures the safety of food.

Canned jars processed in a pressure canner need not be sterilized.

You can use glass or metal jars/bottles. But metal can be used only once and is way too costly. Mason type jars are the best choice and are suggested by many people; they are airtight and are heat resistant. But they are a little expensive too. The use of a flawed quality jar/bottle can cause food spoilage.

If you have accidentally rinse the jars/bottles with hard water, try to soak them in a vinegar and water mixture. This will prevent the film of hard water from developing.

Ensure that the surrounding environment where you place the jar/bottles are correctly sanitized as they can easily get contaminated if put in a not so sanitized place.

Always protect yourself during sterilizing as you will be exposed to high temperatures, so make sure to wear safety gloves or oven mitts and don’t burn yourself. Try to use proper equipment like a wood stand and a big pot.



The procedure of canning depends upon the acidity of the food you are going to work on. Pressure canning has been found very useful for less acidic foods, and such canned food doesn’t require further sterilization.

With the advancement in the industry, many methods have been introduced for sterilization of canned jars. These methods are relatively simple, and you can easily do them at your homes but with special instructions. If you don’t have time, you can wash them with the help of dish soap or a good detergent and keep them in a warm environment later; this will ensure a germ-free jar but is not found to be that much convincing. Many argue over which water to use, but I think tepid water is relatively better. But whichever water you use, just make sure to heat it at a high temperature.


  • A canning jar/bottle
  • A big pot
  • Kitchen tongs
  • Oven mitts

For canning jars, you can use glass or metal with an airtight lid. If you are using a pot, make sure that it is 2 inches bigger and can also fit a top. For safety reasons, use a rack.

For sterilization, you can use different kitchen appliances. Among the following are widely used,

Sterilize jars in oven

This method is a very proper and highly recommended one, which has been proven very useful to sterilize over the years. I have tried numerous times, and it works amazingly. Well,

Place the jars or bottles upright along with their lids (as the jars also contain bacteria that can ultimately spoil the food) in a big pot. Next, fill the pot with water until it covers them by 1 inch (2.5cm).

Start boiling the water on high flame; if you are at a place with an altitude less than 1000 feet, boil for 10 minutes. If not, then add a minute for each additional 1000 feet of elevation.

After 10 minutes, carefully remove the jars/bottles along with their lids with the help of tongs as it’s going to be extremely HOT. Do not let the jars/bottles to touch anything except a dry clean paper towel.

After this, you can fill the jars/bottles with your desired food and place them in a refrigerator. That’s how you can preserve them for more prolonged use. But make sure not to fill it immediately with hot food like jam or soup as it can shatter the jar into pieces, believe me, it happened.

Sterilize in microwave

Microwave has always been my favorite! These machines are so easy to work with, they’re extremely fast, and you are less likely to get hurt if done correctly.

Remove any kind of labels from the jars/bottles. If they are not efficiently removing, then try soaking them in hot soapy water. Soap also makes the jar clean, so done with two things at a time.

Place them in the microwave and turn on high (like 1000 watts) for about 30-35 seconds.

After that, carefully take them out with oven mitts and place them on a piece of clean absorbent paper to dry.

Sterilize jars in oven

I have never tried this one out, but it seems pretty straightforward.

Preheat the oven to 130(266 F). If you’ve never done this before, here’s how you can preheat an oven: Place a double layer of any newspaper on the baking sheet and place the jars/bottles on top of it. Turn your oven on and let it run for about 20 minutes and no more.

Afterward, take them out with oven mitts and place them in a clean place to cool down.

WARNING: This method is deemed unsafe for many types of foods, and safe for others. Be aware that dry sterilization isn’t as effective as wet sterilization, be it with water, or steam.


If your food is highly acidic, then you can do water-canning. You have to submerge the canned jars/bottles in a pot by 2 inches in this procedure. Then boil it for 10 minutes, and you are done but,

Make sure to wait for 24 hours before transporting or storing them; they need to be completely cool.

A slight depression will appear on the lid, which indicates that the jar/bottle has been perfectly sealed. If not, then use the content and do not store them.

Food greater than 4.5 pH does not require water-canning. But if you still do it, it does not cause any damage.\

Sterilizing jam jars

Sterilization of jars containing jelly/jam food is just a little different as many people prefer to increase the processing time to about 5 minutes, but only for certain jams and jellies; they do this to prevent pre-sterilization of the jars. This extra time is not very harmful actually and does not spoil the food only if the canned jar gets a full 10 minute time in the boiling water. And always adjust your time according to your altitude. If you are at a place with an altitude of fewer than 1000 feet, boil for 10 minutes. If not, then add a minute for each additional 1000 feet of elevation.


If you are using jams, mayonnaise as canned food, do not use the jars again or recycle them. Buy new jars and lids for fresh foods because of health reasons. If you cannot afford new jars, then you must buy the lids.

When using jars/bottles, always inspect them for any kind of scratches or damage. Jars/bottles should be in perfect condition.


Consuming unhygienic canned foods can cause dangerous diseases like Clostridium. It can also cause botulism, which can lead to paralysis and, if not treated, can lead to death.

If someone eats spoiled food, they can get food poisoning, which can lead to something dangerous. Spoiled or inedible food can give you many stomach related problems and mild to severe symptoms. That’s why always use sterilized canned food and keep yourself healthy and safe.


Learning how to sterilize bottles for canning has been an easy process because of this article, At least that’s my hope.

From the above statement, you now know how important it is to use sterilized canned goods, and even if they are not, you can do them at home now! Nowadays, many people prefer canned foods but make sure they are sterilized to enjoy them and keep yourself protected from all those nasty diseases. Having up to date, preserve food will allow you to have healthy and tasty food for your family and yourself.

Sterilizing the canned jars keeps the food fresh, increases shelf life, and ensures proper sanitization so that no one gets a painful stomach ache. And sealing them correctly protects them from spoiling. So keep eating delicious and preserve food.


NCHFP Publications

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