We are often asked about re-using amber bottles. If you mean can you, then the answer is yes, you can, absolutely! If you mean, us, sadly, no we can’t re-fill them. It is an absolute must that we pack all our Essential Oils and Bramble Berry fragrances in new amber glass bottles – it is necessary to ensure that the oils are packed in absolutely clean, new glass and that you get your bottles that have no residue of any kind in them.
That said, it’s great to re-use amber bottles for home use, so good for the environment, and amber really is the best choice for storage of these ingredients. So here’s a few tips on house to best clean your bottles.
If you have gooey residue (also called gunk!) around the thread on the necks, use some isopropyl alcohol to dissolve this and wipe clean using paper towels.
If you are trying to clean a bottle that has had a thick essential oil, such as Vanilla or Benzoin Oleoresin, it will be tough and won’t clean with soapy water. You need a solvent that will dissolve this thick film, so if you don’t want to use a solvent, just put in the recycling.
Step One is to have a big newspaper crumpled in a large stockpot ready to take the waste “pour-off”.
For regular Fragrance and Essential Oil bottles, you can use Isopropyl Alcohol. Half fill the bottle, put the lid on, and shake, shake, shake! Sit the bottles aside for a few days, and repeat shaking them. This will usually remove most of the residue. If there’s not a lot of residue, you can actually re-use this alcohol on first stage cleaning of other bottles.
Use a bottle brush to give the bottles a finish clean before emptying the alcohol out. You can use a Pyrex jug and empty the “cleanest” alcohol into this and wash the lids in this. Take care if they are wadded lids as they aren’t always re-useable. Then after you have finished with the Alcohol empty into a crumpled newspaper ready for purpose.
You can also use a salt solution. If you use fine and coarse particles you will get a scouring action when you use the bottle brush. Add about 1 cm of salt in the bottle of 100ml bottle (adjust depending on size of bottle) and add warm water to 1/3 fill the bottle. The fine crystals will dissolve, and the big granules will help the scouring.
Now put on the lid, and shake, shake, shake, as previously!
This mixture is safe to empty into the sink, as there is no more fragrance than if you were washing in the bath or doing the dishes.
If you want to sterilise them after the above processes, you can use any method that you would for baby bottles sterilisation.
Note: These bottles should not be used for food, only for decanting fragrances or essential oils, massage oils and storage of fixed oils, in other words your soapy projects!