Sterilising Glass Jars for Home Preserving

Sterilising glass jars is really important in the process of home preserving, as any bacteria present is likely to spoil your food, or worse, make you ill. Whether you are making chutney, jams or marmalade, having clean jars and lids is a must. Here are five fool-proof methods of sterilising jars ready for home preserving.

sterilising glass jars

Five Ways of Sterilising Glass Jars

1. Boiling – place jars and lids into a large pan of boiling water. Boil for 20 minutes. It is a good idea to dry them by placing on a baking tray in a warm oven.

2. Dishwasher – place jars and lids in a dishwasher and set to wash on its hottest temperature. The jars should be hot and dry when you fill them, so you might need to keep them warm in an oven afterwards.

3. Oven – preheat the oven to 140°C. Thoroughly wash the jars with hot soapy water. Put wet jars on a baking tray and put in the oven for 20 minutes. The lids should be boiled for the same amount of time. Keep the jars warm in the oven until you are ready to use them.

4. Microwave – wash jars thoroughly in hot soapy water and put in the microwave. Turn it on to full power until the jars are properly dry. Take care not to put metal lids in a microwave. Lids will need to be sterilised and boiling them is the quickest method.

5. Sterilising solution – it is also possible to soak jars in a sterilising solution, however there is a chance of it tainting the flavour of the preserve. If using a sterilising solution, follow manufacturers’ advice.


I have a preferred method when sterilising jars for home preserving, and that is a combination of boiling and oven. I boil the jars and the lids as described, then place the jars upside down on a baking tray in a hot oven for 20 mins. I then turn down the heat, pop the lids in with the jars, and keep warm until needed.

Do you like preserving food at home? Share  your preferred way of sterilising glass jars!


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Author: Georgina Starmer

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