I’ve recently started making some projects out of wine bottles. Don’t worry: the bottle craft tutorials are coming soon! But in the meantime I’ll be approaching bottle-craft in bite-sized chunks by going over some of the tools and techniques you’ll use in every project. Every project starts with clean bottles, which can be easier said than done. So in this article I’m going to explain how to clean wine bottles. If there’s a better way, please let me know and I’ll be happy to update the content (and give you credit).
How to Clean Wine Bottles
Cleaning the inside of a wine bottle is pretty obvious: use a bottle brush and hot, soapy water. But cleaning the outside of the bottle can be a real chore. I have a pretty good method that I’d like to share that is quick, easy, and only takes a few materials and tools you probably already have on-hand.
Tools and Materials
- Wine Bottles
- A sink, bathtub, or bucket for soaking
- A putty knife or chisel
- A spray bottle
- White vinegar
- Super Fine (#000) Steel Wool
Step 1: Pre-Soak the Wine Bottles
Start soaking your wine bottles in water an hour or so before you’re ready to clean them. You can use a sink, a tub, or even a five-gallon bucket. The important part is that both the front and back labels are fully submerged, so let the bottles fill with water so they submerge.
Step 2: Remove the Label By Peeling or Scraping
Plastic labels will peel off pretty easily. Lift a corner using your fingernail, or a putty knife or chisel. Gentle pull back the label until it’s free from the bottle.
Paper labels won’t come off in one piece after soaking, but they will scrape off easily. Using a putty knife or an old chisel scrape away the label and as much of the adhesive as possible. Don’t forget to clean your tools when you’re done to avoid rust.
Step 3: Remove Adhesive with Hot Vinegar Water and Steel Wool
Removing sticker adhesive is usually the hardest part of cleaning a wine bottle, but it’s actually easy if you have the right materials on-hand. Mix equal parts white vinegar and hot water in a spray bottle, and apply the mixture to your wine bottle. The cleaner will loosen the adhesive, which you can then easily remove by scrubbing the bottle with super fine steel wool. Repeat until you don’t see any traces of the adhesive.
Step 4: Final Cleaning
Spray the bottle one more time with the hot vinegar water. Then wipe the bottle down with recycled newspaper for a streak-free finish.