I picked up a lot of really cool old glass bottles at auction a few months ago and they have been sitting in my basement waiting to be cleaned. I have been avoiding it because I have never really had good luck cleaning these kinds of bottles. My good friend “Junkin’ June” told me to try using warm salt water and boy did it work great! There are tons of wacky chemical recipes online to clean old bottles, but I must say this is quick, easy, and I am happy with the results. They are not all CRYSTAL clear, but much clearer than when I started.
Here are the bottles I started with. Lots of grime and dirt…
My fave is this embossed giraffe bottle that was full of mud and muck…
I started by soaking them in a hot water & salt mixture for about a half hour. Mind you, this is all experimental. I am guessing that letting them soak longer would have made it even more easy to swish out the grime. Put in probably about a half cup of salt into this bowl.
I also have this little brush that came with a set of pastry frosting tubes (for cleaning them). Works great on old bottles with really skinny necks!
I found a similar one available at Walmart. Kind of expensive ($12 for this piece of wire…nice…) but if you are into old bottles, it might just be worth it.
After they soaked, I swished around the water inside the bottle and shook it really good. I added more salt to make a “salt sludge” supposedly the grittiness of the salt helps clean the inside. I also used the little wire brush to get even more gunk off. The giraffe bottle came out nice and shiny!
Some of the bottles had lots of cool bubbles, indicating their age. “A bubble is an air bubble that became trapped in the glass during the manufacturing process. Bubbles are not considered damage. In fact, bubbles usually add to the appeal of old glass. Glass made after about 1920 does not usually have bubbles.” – http://www.antiquebottles.com
This Dr. Ellis bottle came clean for the most part, but has some rusty discoloration that wouldn’t budge. It’s okay though. Love the design of the bottle. It’s not too valuable – maybe $5-10. It dates from the 30’s-40’s and is one of a series of Dr. Ellis hair product bottles.
A much cleaner Atwood’s Jaundice Bitters Bottle, valued at $10-$15
I did not soak this bottle because I did not to lose what is left of this beautiful old label. I did use the salt water to scrub the outside of the bottle around the label, and also swished it around inside to clean it out.
In other news, I picked up this frickin awesome, HEAVY reproduction cast iron bank at the Goodwill recently. Though it is a reproduction, I know I can make a few bucks off it. For bank collectors or golf enthusiasts, it would be a fun piece to have.
As far as my other picking lately, I got this really cool antique church pew on Craigslist. It is in great condition and has some nice detail. I love this look for a hallway or entryway.
And I also got a cute little garage sale telephone bench:
I have been doing a lot of picking and thrifting and not a lot of crafting lately. I just signed up for the annual craft show up in the North Country and my wheels are spinning trying to think of some new crafty ideas. It’s in early November this year instead of mid-December, so I will try to throw in a few FALLish crafts as well. Hmmmm….
Til next time! Have a great weekend! 🙂