How To Clean Vintage Glass Jars & Bottles

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Recently in my IG stories, I shared a little treasure hunt of sorts around our farm. I have found so many vintage glass jars and bottles halfway buried in the ground around our farmhouse. It’s not the first time I’ve gone hunting for old glass around the property… I actually blogged about some of my finds from last winter here in this post. Well today, I wanted to share some my latest finds, and I also wanted to share some tips on how to clean glass bottles and jars with y’all!

how to clean glass bottles and jars the easy way

Sounds simple enough, just washing them in the sink. But depending on the size of the bottle openings and the shapes of the glass, it can be really tricky to get old glass bottles like this clean. I started by brushing off / shaking out as much of the dirt as I can outside. Then I soaked them in the sink to loosen up the dirt and grime.

how to clean glass bottles like these dirty vintage glass bottles and jars

After a good soak, I washed the outside of the bottles and jars with hot soapy dishwater. If the mouth of the glass was large enough, I washed the inside with a rag / bottle brush too.

how to clean a glass jar like this dirty antique atlas mason jar
vintage ball mason jar

But for jars or bottles with smaller openings, you have to really work to get the inside all the way clean. In the past I’ve bought those bendable bottle brushes, but they ended up breaking within a year. And truthfully, they didn’t really get all of the parts of the bottles clean anyways. They were only minimally helpful, so it felt like a waste.

vintage amber glass clorox bottle
old green glass coca cola bottles

Now that I’ve cleaned several sink fulls of these glass jars and bottles, I’ve come up with a few hacks that I wanted to share with y’all! For stubborn spots on the outside of the glass, I use a magic eraser. It takes the stains right off! And for the stubborn grime on the insides, I actually use aquarium rocks of all things! I have to say that this is the way to go when it comes to cleaning out vintage glass jars and bottles! It’s the only way I’ve found to get all that nastiness out of those hard to clean glass bottles.

Cleaning Supplies:

dishwashing supplies including dawn, bottle brush, magic eraser, and aquarium rocks
aquarium rocks for cleaning glassware

After scrubbing this Clorox bottle, the glass appeared clean. But I took the magic eraser to it and was surprised just how much grime was left on the glass. I use a magic eraser on the outside of all my bottles and jars.

old amber glass clorox bottle
cleaning old glass clorox bottle

Ok, now let me explain how to clean glass bottles using the aquarium rocks! Once I washed the exterior of the glass, I added a handful of aquarium rocks, a little Dawn, and a splash of hot water. Then I swirled the rocks and soap around in the bottle. You have to be really careful to hold on to the bottle and not let it slip, but you want the rocks to swirl around fast enough that it knocks off the grime that has built up on the glass. Then I poured the contents over the strainer so as not to lose any rocks down the drain. I gave it a quick rinse and that’s all there was to it!

vintage glass bottles and jars

Didn’t they clean up so nicely? I am always amazed seeing how pretty the glass looks when you finally get them all clean!

how to clean a glass bottle like these green coca cola bottles
amber glass vintage clorox bottle
how to clean a glass bottle like these vintage green glass coca cola bottles

Honestly, every time I wash a load of these I question at least one jar or bottle. I think to myself “this one probably won’t be one that I keep”. And every time, I end up loving them all!

vintage ball mason jar
atlas mason jar

I love decorating with vintage and antique glass here at the farmhouse! But finding them so grimy and dirty like they were in my before photos, it can be hard to see the diamond in the rough. I hope these tips on how to clean glass bottles and jars are helpful to you! And I hope seeing the before and after photos in this post inspires you to see past the grit and grime. There’s beauty to be found underneath friends! If you enjoyed this post, you’ll love seeing my most recent glass finds!! Click [this link] to see my latest vintage glass finds and to hear the unique story behind how we’ve found all these jars and bottles right here on the farm. Thanks for stopping by the blog today, and as always, thanks for following along…

how to clean a glass jar like this vintage amber clorox bottle

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2 Comments

  1. Nikki Bryant says:

    I too love old glass bottles from the dump. A Polident tablet dissolved overnight works miracles in some of the old, I assume calcium deposits on the inside of the bottle.

    1. What a great tip Nikki! I’ll have to try that one out when I wash my next sink load! 🙂

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