If you want to learn how to clean glass bottles, you’ve come to the right place! In this post, I’m sharing the easiest way to clean inside narrow bottles — no bottle brush required — and several other useful solutions and remedies for cleaning bottles of all shapes and sizes.
Check out how to clean inside bottles in three easy steps below. Afterward, I’ve got a few bonus tips to share that will help you clean glass bottles of any size, age, or state of griminess. (These tips work for metal bottles too!)
How To Clean Glass Bottles (Without A Brush)
Step 1 – Add Salt
Pour around 1/4 cup of coarse salt into the bottle you want to clean. (I like to use extra-coarse ice cream salt if I happen to have it on hand, but any coarse salt will do.)
Step 2 – Add Vinegar
Next, add a splash of white vinegar to the bottle. You don’t need too much — just enough to swish the salt around in.
Step 3 – Shake!
Place your thumb or hand over the opening and give it a good, hard shake. The vinegar will help loosen the gunk clinging to the inside of the bottle while the salt scrubs it away! When you’re satisfied, dump out the salt mixture and rinse the bottle thoroughly.
More Bottle Cleaning Tips & Tricks
General Guidelines For Cleaning Glass Bottles
- Don’t use very hot water — drastic and sudden temperature changes can crack glass.
- Don’t use abrasives to remove labels or dirt from the surface of the glass to avoid scratches.
- To sterilize glass bottles, place them in a deep pan, add clean water to cover them, and then boil the bottles for ten minutes. If you’re using them for food canning purposes, fill the bottles while they’re still warm — otherwise, you’ll need to re-sterilize them.
- To clean out oily bottles, use warm water and plenty of Dawn dish soap. Shake the bottle or scrub with a bottle brush, then rinse with warm water and let dry.
Other Ways To Clean Narrow Bottles Without A Brush
The salt and vinegar method I outlined earlier works great on narrow-necked bottles, but there are a few other tips you might find useful. For particularly stubborn spots of gunk inside bottles, try using a wire hanger and a paper towel like I do in my trick for cleaning inside the glass on an oven door. Straighten the hanger, wrap a paper towel or other cleaning cloth around it, then use that to reach the pesky spot.
Another way to clean very narrow-necked bottles is with my bottle-cleaning fizzy tablets. They’re easy to make with a bit of Dawn dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, salt, and baking soda! Put some warm water in the bottle, drop in a fizzy tablet, and watch it work magic!
Finally, you can also clean inside narrow bottles with baking soda and vinegar. Put equal amounts of white vinegar and warm water in the bottle to fill it about halfway. Use a funnel to add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda and shake it gently, then let the soda and vinegar fizz. If the inside is still a bit dirty, add a handful of raw white rice or coarse salt and give it a good shake.
Cleaning Vintage Bottles Safely
The safest way to clean vintage glass is to simply soak it in warm, soapy water overnight. If there are any hard water stains or mineral deposits present, use vinegar to remove them. Avoid using abrasives like steel wool or stiff scrub brushes that can scratch glass surfaces.
In some cases, vintage bottles and jars may have been sitting out in the elements for a long time, so you’ll need to be patient. It may have taken years for all that gunk to build up on the bottle, and it may take a long, long soak to get it to budge!
Bonus Tip: Love the look of vintage glass, but not the price tag? You can use craft store products to make your own faux vintage glass!
Reusing Glass Bottles
After you’ve emptied a glass bottle or jar of whatever came inside it, reusing it is a no-brainer! Glass is practically infinitely reusable, plus it’s non-reactive, too. But it’s important to clean bottles before reusing them, and preferably right away — you don’t want to give any liquid or residue a chance to dry out.
Just add some warm water and a drop or two of dish soap to the bottle, give it a good shake, then use a bottle brush or bottle mop to clean the inside. (If the bottle has a label on it, oxygen bleach makes it easy to remove the labels from bottles!)
And don’t forget to clean the bottle lid, too! Remove the disk from the top of the bottle cap, if it has one, then use warm water and soap to scrub the inside and outside of the cap thoroughly. Keep and replace any rubber gaskets or o-rings, but you can toss paper ones out.
Eliminating Lingering Odors
Glass doesn’t absorb odors like other materials can, but some liquids, like wine and vinegar, can leave behind lingering odors. Luckily, it’s nothing a little baking soda can’t fix — add a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to the bottle with some warm water, then shake (or scrub with a bottle brush). Let the baking soda solution sit in the bottle overnight, then rinse thoroughly.
How do you typically clean glass bottles?