Glass bottles are great for storing fresh juice, homemade drink sweeteners, and other mixers and they are a favorite find at yard sales, flea markets, and second-hand stores. However, there is always one issue: cleaning them.
Many of the best carafes and syrup bottles you will find and use are impossible to clean by normal means. The necks are often tapered and very narrow so that even the most flexible glass brush cannot reach inside and clean it thoroughly.
It also never fails that when you’ve finished off a juice or syrup, you are left with a residue, maybe even chunks of fruit pulp glued to the inside of the glass. It is annoying, unsightly, and, frankly, disgusting.
If you use a lot of glass bottles, you know the pain and have tried almost everything you could think of. Running hot, soapy water through the bottle will not get everything. Salt does a decent job, but dissolves quickly. Letting the bottle sit for days with vinegar inside works, but that can leave a lingering odor and takes too long. Heavy cleaners may also leave residue, which is not good either as we are going to consume what is store inside. There are also dedicated glass cleaners available, though those can be costly. I’ve also seen the suggestions about using gravel, denture tablets, even Oxi-Clean… forget it all!
There is a very easy trick and it is natural, safe, cheap, and pure genius.
This quick little technique will clean almost every glass vessel you own in just a few minutes and it works on vases, vintage decanters and perfume bottles, just about every glass bottle that can get dirty and dingy inside. The best part is that everything you need is probably right there in your kitchen.
What you need:
- 1 Tablespoon rice
- 1 dollop of dish soap
- Fill a tablespoon with rice and saturate with dish soap (there is no need to mix it, this will happen naturally).
- Pour the soapy rice into the bottle that needs cleaning (use a funnel or your hand as a funnel if the mouth is very narrow).
- Fill the bottle half-way with hot water.
- Place the stopper on the bottle or use your hand to cover the mouth.
- Shake it, roll it, swirl it! The rice is acting as an abrasive and as it moves around the glass, it will release even the toughest residues and particles. You can see the glass get cleaner as you shake and if there are any tough spots, simply concentrate on moving the rice over that area until you see that it is clean. This should take anywhere from 2-5 minutes, depending on the build-up.
- Strain the rice from the water by either using your hand or a fine mesh strainer to keep the rice from going down the drain. If you have another bottle to clean, save the rice and start the process again. (I’ll admit, it’s one of those obsessive cleaning projects and once you do one piece, you will be thinking, “What else needs to be cleaned?”)
- Rinse the bottle with hot water until it is clear of soap.
- Enjoy your sparkling, just-like-new glass bottle!
It really is an amazing trick and something that I struggled with for years. The first time I tried it I was amazed and had to show it off to my husband, “Look! No, look!” You can see from the pictures the difference it can make.
All images in this article: © S&C Design Studios