A simple DIY bottle washer

Each year we glean unwanted apples from backyards nearby and crush them into juice with our homemade cider press. This juice is mostly fermented into hard cider—gallons and gallons of hard cider.

When you are drinking 60 to 90 gallons of cider, there are a lot of bottles to rinse so the yeast and other bits don’t dry inside the bottle.

You can buy bottle washers, but they typically are made to screw on to a hose fitting. Indoors, that means a laundry tub, and we don’t have a laundry tub. If you want to attach a bottle washer to your kitchen faucet, you need an adapter and a great deal of patience to not cross the extremely fine threads on the faucet.

This does just not fit in my dishwashing reality.

For years I have dreamed of a built-in bottle washer. I imagine it as a slender tube, kind of like a filtered water tap, but spraying up into the bottle instead of down into the cup.

So far this has stayed in dreamland, but I did make a prototype out of a rubber dishwasher drain fitting, a brass compression fitting, a bit of bent chrome plumbing tube, a bicycle light mounting clamp and a few inches of wire. I crushed the end of the tube into a sort of fan nozzle.

It worked very well to clean bottles, but I never got around to figuring out some sort of cam that would allow me to clamp it onto the faucet so it had a tendency to blow off and spray water for several feet around.

Then, in a late night google-athon I found the missing part for the Mark II Bottle Washer, a very simple and effective design built for less than $10.

The Tapi, a silicone doohickey turns your tap into a drinking fountain. Slide it onto your faucet, pinch the bottom, and water bubbles up for your pleasure.

Or, if you jam a length of 3/8″ chrome toilet supply tube into the upper hole, the water bubbles into your bottle.

I had to do some thinking about nozzles. An actual nozzle, for agriculture or paint or foaming milk would be nice, but how would it attach to the tube?

So I used a triangular file as a mandrel and gently hammered the tubing to that shape, inserting the file further as possible.

I found a scrap of 1/4″ aluminum rod would almost fit inside the triangular tip, so I filed three chamfers on the tip, and cut off a little less than an inch. I gently tapped the aluminum plug into the tubing—tap too far and the plug will fall out the bottom.

So far the plug is staying in place, but I could probably affix it with a bit of silicone or epoxy if I need.

I tried forming the tip of a tube into a square for another jet of water, but aluminum rod I had on hand was too small. If you have a lathe and can mill your rod to a specific diameter that would be fun to try.