Making narrow neck jars sparkle

sunnycoJune 26, 2010

I have 2 dozen antique apothecary bottles. They are really cute, and I would like to display them. They were in a rat-infested shed for years, and got really disgusting. I made it through that mess, and ran them through the dishwasher to sterilize them, but now they have a slight film inside them. I think because of the narrow necks, and because I had to put them on the little posts to keep them from sliding through the racks, not enough water got inside to rinse them. I tried hand-rinsing, but the film needs some thing to rub it off, I think.

The only thing I can think of is sand- If I put a bit of sand and water in each one and shake it, the sand might scrub it. The little bottle brush I have doesn't quite reach all the surfaces, even though I bent it. The end of it isn't bristly enough to do much, either.

Any ideas? What can I rinse them with to prevent water spots while they dry, also? We have a fairly high mineral content in our water, I think. Things always have spots.

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Try a white vinegar rinse.

When you rinse, rinse with water, then rubbing alcohol to take the last of the water, or rinse with distilled water.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 11:34AM
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Some people say don't clean things that are really antique and have value.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 12:36PM
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I don't know how much value they have, and I don't care much, really. I just like how they look when they aren't covered with rat feces and urine. I suspect those people who say not to clean them wouldn't want them in that condition either. ;)

Thanks for the suggestions, lazygardens. I remember you from the cooking forum. :) Once I figure out how to get the film out, I will probably try all of those, and see which works best. I have about 4 bottles of rubbing alcohol.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 1:16PM
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Two suggestions: If vinegar doesn't help, try a baby bottle brush to gently scrub the insides of the bottles. It will be very soft and won't damage an old bottle. Another idea is to use denture cleaning tablets. Put water in the bottle and break the tablet into pieces that will fit through the neck of the bottle. Let it fizz and sit for a few hours. I've had good luck with both methods.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 4:48PM
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It's been a while since I have seen a baby bottle brush, but from what I remember the end won't fit into these. They have a very small opening. I have a small bottle brush of some kind, but there are not enough bristles on the end to get the bottom well. it does OK on the top where it curves out from the neck though, since I bent it to that angle.

I will try the denture tablets. I tried the vinegar and alcohol this afternoon, but it doesn't get the film out. Once I get that out, I will try them again for the drying, to avoid water spots.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 6:09PM
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Hmmm, my brush will fit into an opening of about 1/2". There may be different kinds???

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 7:39AM
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I found a set of really tiny bottle brushes at Walmart or maybe the dollar store.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 11:08AM
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I was in a wine store today and saw this brush. It is called a brush but it's actually small pieces of firm foam.

Here is a link that might be useful: small glass brush

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 2:52PM
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Try getting baking soda in the bottles then vinegar. I have cleaned many very small old bottles using this solution. Sometimes its takes a couple times to get all the gunk out. Warning the reaction will spout out with some force I use a towel to shield.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 3:53AM
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poke a long yarn inside until filled while twisting

    Bookmark   August 19, 2010 at 9:30PM
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I would try buying some denture cleaning tablets, break them if too big for the necks, then add water to the top, let sit, shake, and rinse. My husband bought some old druggist apothecary bottles and cleaned themusing this method. They came out so nice we gave them to my sister the pharmacist.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2010 at 8:23AM
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