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This question may have been asked before, but here goes. It is necessary to sterilize new packaging before using it for your various products? I opened a box of glass bottles I ordered and they look clean, but I immediately thought, do they need to be sterilized? How do you sterilize the plastic caps, is boiling them okay or is there a chance of discoloration?

Thanks in advance for all of your help.


Tags: Bottles, Caps, Glass, Plastic, Sterilization

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Sterilizing your packaging is not needed if your product is not sterile. Sanitizing your packaging is advisable.

There are a number of good USFDA/USEPA approved sanitizers for use on food equipment.

I use one called Perosan made by Zep industrial products. It is ~$200 for a five gallon carboy. It is used at a rate of ~2 oz/5 gallons of water. It is 25% peroxyacetic acid and is extremely pungent as it comes from the carboy. You must wear gloves and eye protection with the undiluted material. You absolutely do not want it on your skin as it causes a peroxide burn immediately which while not really dangerous hurts a lot.

On the up side, it is extremely effective and kills just about everything. You can even use it to wash fruit to get molds and bacteria off that cause early spoilage. You also don't need to rinse after using it - just let it evaporate. It is FDA approved for food equipment sanitizing. One really nice feature is that spent solution is not considered hazardous waste so there are no disposal hassles, just don't put the undiluted stuff down the drain.

I've attached a PDF of the product specification sheet from Zep. Let me know if you need more info.

Thanks Rob,
Useful info.
Where can you purchase the Perosan and is it okay to use on plastic as well as glass?

Thanks, Danne
Look on their website: http://www.zep.com/

Find a distributor near you (most major cities) and give them a call. They will want your business name, address and tax ID number. I just ordered another 5 gallons and it was delivered by the distributor within 3 days at no extra charge. If that fails, check with Home Depot as they often carry Zep products and may be willing to special order a jug of perosan for you.

You can use it on any hard surface, plastic or glass. Be careful with caps that have liners - make sure that they are not paper or other fiber.
Thanks Rob, you have been a big help.

Be well, Danne
I sanitize all my containers because I make goat milk skin care products. Goat milk is bacteria, good bacteria, but bacteria none the less. Brand spanking new containers and lids always get sanitized. I use a Clorox/water mixture that I learned of in a cheese making class (.5t Clorox to 1 gallon water). The containers soak for at least an hour and I make sure all the sanitizing liquid gets into every crevice of the container/lid. Better safe than sorry. Error on the side of caution. … all those idioms. Actually, I sanitize my entire work area frequently.
Hi Pat,

Bleach will sterilize, but it also leaves a chemically reactive residue on drying. You must rinse after your sanitizing or the bleach will oxidize and denature elements of your product. If you do not rinse with sterile or freshly distilled water, all advantage of bleaching is lost. This oxidizing action is how bleach works.

CDC recommends 5% or 10% household chlorine bleach solution diluted in water for hard surface disinfection, this corresponds to 3/4 of a cup to 1 and 1/2 cups of of household bleach (~5.25% chlorine concentration) to 1 gallon of water. The concentration used depends on the bug to be killed. Typically a 30 minute to 1 hour contact time is recommended.

Rob, thank you sooooooo much for this information. I didn't know this. Just when you think you have a good bit of knowledge, another bit of knowledge comes your way again. Guess that's why it's good to keep learning.
Again, thank you. I will make immediate improvements in my process. You're wonderful.
Its always best to err on the side of caution. Any bacteria that can contaminate product could cause a potential problem with your customer and you would not want that. The recommendations that were previously given is good advice.
Happy Packaging!
JoAnn Hines
Packaging Diva


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