How to Sanitize Jars for Canning

December 15, 2012

Your preserved food is only as safe and sanitary as the vessels you put it into. An important step that must not be overlooked is sanitizing and preparing the jars, lids and rings.  There are several methods for this.

The Dishwasher Method

If you have a dishwasher, this is easy.  Just run it on the sanitizing cycle right before you begin canning.  The dishwasher will keep the jars hot until you are ready to fill them.  The heat from the dishwasher will also make the rubber on the jar flat more pliable and ready to seal.

The Water Bath Canner Method

 Assuming that your jars are clean and all you need to do is sterilize them, you can use your water bath canner for this. (This is the method I use, since I no longer have a dishwasher.) Place the jars in the canner, on the rack.  Pour in enough water that it goes over the openings of the jars and fills them.  Bring the canner to a boil and allow it to boil for 10 minutes.  Then use your jar lifter and remove the jars, placing them upside down on a towel or drying rack to drain.  You can reuse the hot water for canning once the jars are filled and lidded. 

The Oven Method

You can also use your oven to sterilize your jars. Preheat your oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Place your jars in a roasting pan and slide them into the oven for at least 20 minutes.  At that point, you can turn off the heat, but leave the jars in there until they are ready to be packed.  Warning: (this is kind of a “duh” but I’ll say it anyway!)  The jars will be hotter than heck when you take them out of the oven – take care not to burn yourself when filling them and placing them in the canner!  Sometimes I use this method – when I do, I leave the jars in the roasting pan while I fill them and then use my jar lifter to move them from the roasting pan to the canner.

Sanitizing the Lids

In a small saucepan, bring to a simmer enough water to cover your flats and rings. Do not bring the flats to a rolling boil, as this could damage the sealing compound.  Keep the lids in the hot water and remove them with sterilized tongs or a lid lifter (a cool little magnetic wand) when you are ready to put them on the jars.


Sometimes all of the canning rules sound overwhelming! Please don’t let them scare you.  I’m providing you with the best practices so that you have all the information you need.

Keep in mind that you are not performing open heart surgery.  Nearly all canning recipes have to be processed for more than 10 minutes, which, in conjunction with the pre-sterilization you have performed, should help you to keep your food safe and healthy.


canning closet

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Presto 01781 23-Quart Pressure Canner and Cooker

Presto 1755 16-Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker/Canner (Safe for glass cooktops)

Presto Cooking/Canning Rack for Pressure Canner

How to Can Food in a Boiling Water Bath

Granite Ware 0707-1 Steel/Porcelain Water-Bath Canner with Rack, 21.5-Quart, Black

Norpro Canning Rack

Norpro 600 Jar Lifter

Norpro Stainless Steel Wide-Mouth Funnel

Norpro 6 Piece Canning Set

How to Sanitize Jars for Canning

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BallRegular Mouth Lids and Bands – 12 pack

Canning Jars

Tattler Reusable Regular Canning Lids and Rubber Rings, BPA Free, Dishwasher Safe (Pack of 12)

Tattler Reusable Wide Mouth Canning Lids & Rubber Rings – 12/pkg

Ball Regular Canning Lids 96 Lids (8 Dozen) NOW BPA Free

Ball Wide Canning Lids 72 Lids (6 Dozen), SALE! (Lids Only; No Rings), NOW BPA FREE! Shipped and Packed Bulk by Mulberry Lane Farm, FAST SHIP!

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Daisy Luther

About the Author

Daisy Luther

Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, leaving all links intact, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio. Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, The Organic Prepper. Daisy is the publisher of The Cheapskate's Guide to the Galaxy, a monthly frugality newsletter, and she curates all the most important news links on her aggregate site, She is the best-selling author of 4 books and lives in the mountains of Virginia with her two daughters and an ever-growing menagerie. You can find Daisy on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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