Thursday, June 12, 2014

99 Bottles of Soda In My Garage : Some Vintage Bottle Cleaning Tips

Somehow, here recently, I keep coming across old soda bottles. And of course, I keep buying them. I have amassed a huge pile of bottles in a variety of sodas. Some I have never heard of and aren't even being made anymore. Some of the bottles just need a light cleaning but some needed a little elbow grease and a lot of love.

So this week, I set out to get all these beauties shining again! This isn't my first bottle cleaning rodeo and I have done research online, finding a million suggestions on how to do things. Since I was spending an entire day cleaning these things, I figured I would share a couple of the tips I find most useful. 
(*Please note that I am not an expert. Try these tips at your own risk.)

Let's get this spa treatment started! Let me tell you, it is soooooo tempting to pop these babies right in the dishwasher. But that is a major no no. You do not want to lose any part of these awesome graphics! So first, they take a swim in a bath of mild soap and hot water.

Then I clean the outside with a soft cloth. But how to clean the inside? I have yet to find a brush small enough to fit in these bottles. Here's a hint..

So a tip I found was to use rice and it really works! 

Put a little water, a little rice, and shake it like a Polaroid picture. The rice "scrubs" the inside of the bottle. It might not get everything but it's amazing how much it does get.

So, something I came across this time that was different than the amber and clear bottles I had cleaned before is these fantastic graphics. Typically I like rustic, dirty things but I want these graphics to pop. They were looking quite dingy thanks to this Carolina red clay. 

But I don't want to scrub them off so what to do, what to do.

One thing I keep plenty of around the house for cleaning is baking soda. I mean, it's a power house and much safer than all those chemicals out there. Wet the bottle, put some baking soda over the graphic, and rub with your thumb. Make sure there is baking soda under your thumb and rub in all directions along the graphic. Enough grit to scrub but fine enough not to damage. Here's the result of that Pepsi graphic pictured above after the baking soda treatment.

Here is a side by side of a 7up bottle I was working on. It's pretty obvious but the 7 has been scrubbed and the U and P are still awaiting their makeover.

So now I have a ton of beautiful bottles ready to hit the shop! Bottles are just great decor. Retro graphics, the way they catch the light, and they look great in a group. 

Whether you put them in a crate, set them on a shelf, or use them as vases, there's nothing like them! Perfect nostalgic pieces for summer entertaining and weddings.

Check out Maliasmark and browse our selection of vintage bottles and crates!