I'm making tomato relish. Can I sterilize jars adequately by putting them in the dishwasher?

1 Answer 1


Absolutely not. You need to boil them if you're even THINKING about canning. Chances are you'd be fine, nice acidic relish to keep the bacteria down...But do you want to take the chance?

Even if you have one of those dishwashers with a nuclear "sterilize baby bottles" cycle, don't trust it. For canning, you need them as close to medically sterile as is possible.

  • 4
    You can use the oven too, I find that much more convenient: ehow.com/how_5109586_sterilize-canning-jars-boiling.html Commented Feb 28, 2011 at 9:35
  • Yeah totally agree - bacteria like Clostridium Botulinum - Botulism breed in low-oxygen environments like contaminated cans. The results can be fatal.
    – stephbu
    Commented Mar 1, 2011 at 8:18
  • I was going to downvote, but google... As it turns out, you can use the dishwasher to clean them (make sure it is rinsed well), and use the heated dry setting to keep them warm (no thermal shock). You are fine at this point if you process them longer than 10 minutes, or if you pressure can. Otherwise you need to sterilize in one of the methods listed above. link
    – JSM
    Commented Feb 12, 2015 at 19:27
  • Doesnt " if you process them longer than 10 minutes, or if you pressure can" mean "anything that isnt toxic will do, sterilized or not"? Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 12:57
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    @rackandboneman His question was, "Can I sterilize them by running them through the dishwasher." Not, "If I'm processing the jars for 10+ minutes, do I need to pre-sterilize." You need to answer the actual question. Commented Dec 18, 2015 at 13:39

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