Clean a Bottle Without a Brush





Introduction: Clean a Bottle Without a Brush

About: I was a teenage aesthete. Now I am a middle-aged aesthete.

You can clean narrow-neck bottles, even ones that are a weird shape - like my hummingbird feeder - for free, without a brush.

Step 1: Tools

A bottle that needs cleaning.
A spoon.
Dish Soap.

Step 2: A Spoonful of Rice

Just a plain teaspoon full should do. You can add more if it's a big bottle, but it doesn't take a lot. Don't put it in yet.

Step 3: A Squirt of Soap

Any kind of dish soap is okay. You don't need to add much, just enough to "glue" the rice together on the spoon. (About half a teaspoon here.) You don't need to mix it in.

Step 4: Slide It In

Tip the contents of the spoon slowly into the bottle. The soap acts as "glue" so the rice doesn't spill all over your kitchen.

Step 5: Add Water

Fill up the bottle about halfway with water (more than in this pic)

Step 6: Swirl and Rotate

Cap the open end with your finger and gently shake, rotate, and invert the bottle, so the rice grains come in contact with the glass.

Step 7: Rinse

Empty the bottle and give it a really good rinse, to get all the soap out. Ta da!

(If you're doing this for a hummingbird feeder, you can also give it a rinse in a mild bleach solution before the final rinse.)

2 People Made This Project!


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I got an idea from Paizley's comment of using aquarium gravel by using BB's. I had a small tube of stainless steel BB's and along with a few drops of Dawn and hot water and my irregular shaped bottle is now reusable as a drinking vessel. Thanks Paizley.

Funnel is the way to go with the rice. I used more and had to maneuver the rice around to where the "dirt" was. The bottle is shaped like a flask so had flat sides. I think coarse sand would be good or aquarium gravel. Would be reusable and not pouring food down the drain.

Excellent tutorial! This got my sodastream bottle shiny and new again :) Thanks teenage aesthete!!

Thanks for all the positive comments, I'm glad this instructable has been useful.

I know many of you have been adding lots more rice than recommended - try it next time with less. It's not the amount of rice (or the size or weight of the rice alternatives suggested) but the centrifugal action of the grains on the glass surface as you swirl it around that cleans your bottle. And you'll have a few more bites of rice for dinner!

Worked like a charm, but as others have said, I used a lot more rice in my glass feeder.

This worked like a charm for my hummingbird feeder that is oval shaped. I tried everything to clean it but nothing got the stuff off that had adhered to the neck of the bottle. The only thing I did different. 1. I tried with the recommended amount of rice and it wasn't enough. I instead used about a half cup so it really filled the neck area of the bottle and I used less water so it was really ricey. 2. I used a funnel to put the rice in. I tried the spoon and soap and it still went everywhere. I added a bit of soap directly to the bottle after the rice was in. 3. The stuff I was cleaning was so stuck on I was swirling for awhile which caused a bunch of the rice to cement itself to the bottom of the bottle. Luckily I had some of those dollar store bamboo skewers on hand. I just stuck one of those in there and it peeled away all the stuck on rice.

I purchased a gallon jug at a yard sale that had some kind of very unattractive brown residue all in it, with the bottom being especially gunky. After trying both hot soapy water and apple cider vinegar with minimal results, I tried this method using more rice due to the size of the jug. It worked great on the sides but the bottom needed more work. Reasoning that I needed more abrasive, I rinsed it out, added more dry rice (without any detergent), some Comet cleanser, a little water and swirled in around. In less than a minute, the bottom was clean. I am tickled I was able to get such great results with items I already had on hand!

ok, so i was having issues with my CamelBak(for those who dont know what that is click here anyways, my camelbak made my water and portien shake taste funky. so i decided to give her a cleaning. and if you have a camelbak make sure it has the Quickconnect system and can be removed from the bag. so i tried soap to no avail. i tried the rice(i used thai noodles since i am on a student salary) and it worked beautifully, that shaking was the hard part. had to find a way to shake it and support the silicon bag in the process(so it didnt puncture or burst). but it still has the faint after taste of soap but thats be be expected, and will go away after a few uses. and if you are asking why i have one if im a student(they are well over the 200$ mrk for a good one) i do alot of mountain cross racing(local) so it comes in SUPER handy. but all in all thanks for the tip :). if it worked on a silicon bag, it would be cool to see just what this works on

This is just amazing. This helped me clean bottles with thin heads that had olive oil inside. The bottles were very greasy and I never imagined this would work. It worked perfectly. I added warm water instead! Thanks

This worked perfectly! I had a beer bottle i had to return to the company due to a piece of glass being found in it. They came to pick it up about 3 weeks later and by that time, the bottom was all moldy. I didnt want to give them a moldy bottle so i did this method. The mold was pretty darn stubborn so i did have to add a couple pennies to really pick it up. But im so excited this worked!

This is why I love instructables. I started to notice that my narrow mouth water bottle was getting grimy. I was able to run my finger around the top of the inside and it was pretty gross. I tried shaking it with soapy water to no avail, even after letting it soak. I followed this instructable and it is clean as ever after only a minute or so of shaking. Amazing.

Fine gravel works even better as it has sharp edges and is varied in size AND doesn't get soft. When I was a kid, we used a hand full of gravel to clean any bottle that had a narrow neck.

Salt also works. Plenty of salt and a little water.

Excellent idea! Glad you mentioned the diluted bleach rinse so no residual soap (toxic). Red food dye is unhealthy too. Love those little guys!

1 reply

Liked the bleach to the soap and rice and water. It helped LOTS.

I had an old and very re-used Worcestshire bottle (bigger than a wine bottle) that has been rinsed, re-filled and rinsed, re-filled innumerable times over the years. FINALLY decided to finish and clean bottle before re-use this time. Could NOT get the sauce stains out. Used your rice and soap and water (to which I added bleach) and it was WONDERFUL. Worked like a charm. It is now back in the Fridge full again. THANKS.

Brilliant! Worked on a VERY heavily stubborn mold that had soaked for 2 days in bleach & Dawn - with no improvement whatsoever. Then I put the rice in and VOILA!!! . THANKS!