How To Clean The Inside of Bottles & Vases

SetIf you collect old perfume bottles, miniatures, or ones with necks too narrow to use a brush, you can easily wash out the inside by doing the following:

  • Fill it 3/4 full with warm water, a bit of dish detergent and about a teaspoon of uncooked rice (if it’s a medium to large size, add more if you think you need it).
  • Seal the top and shake, shake, shake and swirl the rice around a bit. If the glass is fragile, swirl gently.
  • Once cleaned, rinse out the grains of rice and soapy water, then allow to air dry (without the cap or cork on if there is one).

If there is a white film or crusty deposit, trying soaking in a 50/50 vinegar and warm water solution for a few hours or even overnight (fill to top). Dump the liquid and then add warm soapy water and uncooked rice then proceed as noted above.

Removing A Cork:
*First published December 8, 2006 and moved to this page for better organization

AssortedIf bottle is empty:

  • Pour ammonia into it until the cork floats. Set aside for a few days.
  • The cork should deteriorate from the ammonia and after a few days will be small enough to fall out.

If it’s not empty:

  • First pour liquid into a carafe or jar and seal. If there are cork bits in the liquid, strain by pouring through cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Then try the above ammonia trick on the now empty vessel to remove the cork.

If you’d like to save the cork, you can try this technique:

  • Fold a thin cloth napkin or fabric piece opposite corner to opposite corner so that you now have a triangle. Carefully insert into bottle with the fold side coming underneath the cork, make sure to leave enough of the napkin outside for you to hold onto. Once cork is positioned in between fabric (with fold underneath it), start pulling napkin out. Watch the cork as you are pulling out the fabric, trying to position it in such a way that it will come out with the fabric.


*First published November 29, 2006 and moved to this page for better organization

RoseHere are a few tips for getting rid of buildup, stains and grime inside of vases:

  • Fill with vinegar and leave overnight
  • Try orange slices (or other citrus fruits like lemon, grapefruit) and leave overnight
  • Make a paste of cream of tartar and water, apply liberally and sit for awhile. Scrub.
  • Soak with warm water and a denture cleaner tablet or packet
  • Try soaking in ammonia overnight

To Remove Odors:

  • Pour a solution of water and baking soda into the vase and let stand for several hours. Wash well and odors should be gone, if not just repeat the process.

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    • Pat

    Love your helpful cleaning g tips. Do you have a rip to clean cigarette smudges/ash from car interior, especially on door panel, woven fabric ?
    Thank you.

    • linda

    To clean stains out of a ceramic sink, place a single layer of paper towel over stains. then pour a few drops of bleach on the towel. The towel holds the bleach on the stain. You can see the stains disappear right away and you hardly used any bleach.

    • Patty Ann

    I am so glad i found this tip for cleaning out bottles with raw rice and soapy water. I recieved a few blue cobalt colored wine-shaped bottles from a friend. They had seen better days, but easily cleaned up after using this method. Also, I used the vinegar method for the few tough mildew spots. My bottles will look nice with my collection displayed in my kitchen bay window.

    • Lisa

    I have a flower vase with a very narrow neck and wide brim. It gets slimy inside if I don’t change the water (surprise! 🙂 ) – And I cannot for the life of me get down inside the vase with a cloth or sponge.

    Your rice and soapy water trick worked much better than I expected. I plugged the narrow neck with a champagne cork and shook it all away. Thank you!

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