Empty essential oil bottles are handy to have for future herbal projects, but how do you go about cleaning them before the next use? We’ll show you how.
I recently read somewhere that a happy herbalist is one that has so many used essential oil bottles she doesn’t know what to do with them. There is something that I love about blue and brown glass essential oil bottles, that is hard for me to explain. Not only are they sturdy, and beautiful, but all herbal remedies benefit from being in their dark protective environment, away from sunlight.
It just seems a shame to recycle them when they can be used again, don’t you think?
In this article, we’ll talk about my process for using every last drop of oil from the bottles, and then how to clean the glass bottles, caps, reducer caps, and droppers.
Getting every last drop
If there are just a few more drops in your essential oil bottles, don’t let it go to waste. Here are three ways to use every last bit of what is in the bottles before cleaning them.
- Open the bottles by removing the reducer caps and then fill them with Epsom or Dea Sea salts. Leave them for a day. The salt will soak up any excess oils and then you can go ahead with washing. You’ll have scented salts and empty bottles, and won’t waste a thing.
- Depending on the essential oil, you can add witch hazel to the bottle and then screw on a spray top. Use this as air or car freshener. When empty, proceed with washing.
- If you use a diffuser, add a little bit of distilled water to the empty essential oil bottle, and then pour it into your diffuser. Use 2 or 3 different bottles to create a great essential oil blend.
Removing the tops
Yes, I wash the screw on tops and I also remove and wash the drop reducer caps too. I discard the ones that have a lot of resin on them, like myrrh for instance but most of them come very clean in hot soapy water. The reducers are easy to remove if you use the Essential Oil Bottle Opener Tool from Plant Therapy – (see the green tool in the picture below) it’s free with an order of $7 or more. (Use the coupon code: LEAF) If you don’t have a bottle opener tool, use a butter knife and they will pop them off.
Removing the Labels and Glue
To get the label off, soak the bottles in a bowl of hot sudsy water. The label will likely leave a sticky residue that can easily be removed when you rub the excess glue with olive oil. Smear on the oil and leave it for 5 minutes. Then put some dish soap on a natural fiber pad and scrub it. The residue comes off easily.
Give the bottles another quick wash and rinse in warm, soapy water to remove the olive oil.
Cleaning Inside Essential Oil Bottles
I have a bottle brush set that is small enough to reach inside of essential oil bottles. And they are kept together on a loop so I can hang them to dry and keep them together for the next time I use them. It is so handy to have them all bundled together. This is the set I have (Amazon) They are also good for cleaning straws too because they come with a long 8-inch handle that lets you get into hard to reach places.
I clean glass droppers by repeatedly bringing hot soapy water through the tube. After this is done about 10 times in soapy water, I do another round in clear water to remove any excess residue. Then I set them aside to dry.
Get them really dry
Make sure that the bottles, droppers, and reducer caps are completely dry before you use the bottles for any new herbal remedies or essential oil blends. Introducing water into your essential oils will reduce their effectiveness and shelf life.