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Oil + Water specializes in micro-batch handcrafted skincare products made with high-quality organic ingredients and a strong focus on earth-friendly practices. Oil + Water's aim is to provide simple but luxurious, natural, and effective skincare products under the reductionist principle that less is more, and to promote awareness about clean beauty and eco-conscious living.

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Read great tips and information from Oil + Water about clean skincare, product ingredients, and eco-friendly lifestyle.

HOW TO REUSE OUR GLASS BOTTLES AND JARS

Erika Martins

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Reusing and re-purposing our glass containers is a great way to reduce your environmental impact. In this post, we'll show you how to give your empty containers a brand new life. With just a little bit of time and a few household ingredients, this simple weekend project will get you beautiful looking glass containers that can be used over and over again!

PREPPING YOUR CONTAINERS FOR REUSE

STEP 1 - REMOVE STICKERS

The first step in getting your containers ready for reuse is to remove any old labels and stickers. To do this, you'll need the following:

  • Container large enough to submerge all of the glass bottles/jars you intend to reuse

  • Rubber gloves (to protect your hands from the hot water and essential oil)

  • Lemon essential oil

  • Baking soda (optional)

  • Cotton rag

Instructions:

  1. Fill your large container with very hot water

  2. Fill each glass bottle/jar with hot water in order to keep it from floating once submerged, then place it in your filled container

  3. Once all of your bottles/jars are submerged, allow them to soak for at least 15 minutes

  4. Remove your bottles/jars from the hot water and empty them out, then carefully peel off any labels and stickers, trying your best to keep them intact

  5. If any label/sticker material or adhesive residue remains on the glass, apply a few drops of lemon essential oil directly to the area and rub in, then let sit for a few minutes

  6. Use your rag to rub off any remaining sticker material or adhesive residue

  7. For stubborn residue that requires extra scrubbing action, sprinkle on a little bit of baking soda and use your rag to rub off any remaining material

STEP 2 - CLEANING

The next step in restoring your bottles and jars to their former glory is to thoroughly clean them. For this step, you'll need:

  • Large container from step 1 above

  • Dish soap

  • Clean dishcloth (optional)

  • Cotton swab

  • Dry paper towel or absorbent cloth

Instructions:

  1. First, disassemble the following closures, if applicable:

    • Droppers - separate glass tube, rubber bulb, and screw cap

    • Lids - use a butter knife or other (non-sharp!) tool to carefully remove and discard any foam liners

    • Sprayers - remove plastic caps

  2. Empty any sprayers and pumps by spraying/pumping until no more product comes out

  3. Fill your large container with hot water and add a few squirts of dish soap, then swirl to combine

  4. Fill each glass bottle/jar with hot soapy water in order to keep it from floating once submerged, then place it in your filled container along with any closure components

  5. Once all of your bottles/jars are submerged, allow them to soak for at least 15 minutes

  6. Swish everything around in the hot soapy water and use your hands or a clean dishcloth to scrub any accessible areas

  7. For any bottles, cap them with a finger and shake vigorously - do this a couple of times to thoroughly clean the inside

  8. For sprayers and pumps, spray/pump the hot soapy water through the assembly for a minimum of 15 seconds

  9. For dropper tubes, you can use a cotton swab to clean the inside of the tube

  10. Rinse everything 2-3 times with hot water to remove any soapy residue

  11. Repeat steps 7 and 8 with clean hot water to remove any soapy residue from inside the items

  12. For sprayers and pumps, spray/pump until no more water comes out

  13. Carefully shake any excess water off of each item, then set on a paper towel or absorbent cloth to fully dry overnight, or if disinfecting, proceed to next step below

STEP 3 - DISINFECTING

This next step is especially critical if you'll be reusing your containers for DIY personal care projects - it's super important to ensure that the environment of the container is hostile to mold and bacteria so that these nasties don't end up in your creations, and also to remove any mineral deposits from your tap water. For this step, you'll need:

  • Large container from steps 1 and 2 above

  • Distilled water

  • 70% isopropyl alcohol

  • Dry paper towels or absorbent cloths

Instructions:

  1. Thoroughly rinse out your container from steps 1 and 2 with distilled water, then fill with distilled water

  2. Submerge your items once more and swish around to rinse

  3. For any bottles, cap them with a finger and shake vigorously - do this a couple of times to thoroughly rinse the inside

  4. For sprayers and pumps, spray/pump the distilled water through the assembly for a minimum of 15 seconds, then spray/pump until no more water comes out

  5. After shaking off any excess water, swish a small amount of isopropyl alcohol around in each container, then pour out, and use a clean cloth or paper towel to thoroughly wipe down all other components with alcohol

  6. Set on a paper towel or absorbent cloth to fully dry overnight

Make sure there is absolutely no water left in any of your items, and you're ready to reuse!

IDEAS FOR REUSE

Now that your containers are good as new, here are just a few ways you can reuse them!

  • Fill a re-purposed spray bottle with homemade all-natural cleaner/disinfectant. You can use a larger spray bottle for wiping down counter tops and polishing glass or mirrored surfaces, and a smaller 2 fl oz bottle is great for freshening up your yoga mat! An easy, safe, and inexpensive recipe is 1 part distilled water, 1 part vinegar, and 3% essential oil (lemon, orange, tea tree, and lavender are great options, or you can create a blend of a few different essential oils). An easy way to figure out the ratios is to make a 100 gram or 100 fluid ounce batch. In this case, you would use 3 grams/ounces of essential oil, then divide the remaining 97 grams equally between the water and vinegar for 48.5 grams/ounces of each. If you don't have the tools to measure the ingredients by weight or volume, you can use 18 drops of essential oil per ounce of water and vinegar solution.

  • Fill a re-purposed spray bottle with a DIY linen spray. A simple recipe is 3 parts distilled water, 1 part isopropyl alcohol, and 3% essential oil (lavender and peppermint are great options, or you can create a blend of a few different essential oils). For a 100 gram or 100 fluid ounce batch, you would use 3 grams/ounces of essential oil, then multiply the remaining 97 grams by 3/4 to get 72.75 grams/ounces of water and by 1/4 to get 24.25 grams/ounces of alcohol. As mentioned above, if you don't have the tools to measure the ingredients by weight or volume, you can use 18 drops of essential oil per ounce of water and alcohol solution.

  • Use a re-purposed spray bottle as a plant mister. Fill it with some distilled water and spritz away to keep your houseplants healthy and happy.

  • Use your re-purposed containers for taking things on-the-go. Decant some of your favorite product into a clean and disinfected bottle or jar and toss into your travel bag for a space-saving alternative to lugging around the full-size bottle.

  • Use re-purposed jars to organize small bathroom items. You can use the jars with or without lids to store cotton swabs and rounds, nail trimmers and tweezers or other small grooming tools, etc.

  • Use them to store kitchen spices. Some of our jars make great storage containers for spices, herbs, loose leaf teas, you name it!

  • Use larger re-purposed jars to make DIY candles. Purchase some soy candle wax or beeswax, essential oils, and candle wicks, and make scented candles you can feel really good about using - they're safe and non-toxic, will make your home smell incredible, and you can impress your house guests with them, plus you'll be preventing glass from going to the landfill - quadruple win!

  • Use them for packaging handmade gifts. Make your friend a jar of essential oil-infused bath salts, an olive oil and sugar scrub, or a blend of soothing tea made from dried flowers and herbs. The options are endless and limited only by your imagination!

These are only a few ways to give our glass bottles and jars a new purpose - feel free to get creative and share some of your ideas in the comments below!


Erika Martins is the founder of Oil + Water. Read about her here.