Reusing old wine bottles, concerns...

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Hey all,

I have been saving wine bottles, and having friends save theirs to use when I bottle my wines, but I have some concerns. Some bottles have been sitting uncleaned for months. I plan to soak to take labels off, will I be able to soak them enough to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned enough to use? Is there anything I should be worried about?
 
I get wine and beer bottles both from friends. As long as you are using a good cleaner, the inside should be good as the outside. If seriously nasty, throw that one out. You should be good to go though. I use oxyean free or unscented ammonia.
I used to soak my bottles in a large tote. Duh. Now I clean them in my utility sink. My sink is clean now too. Besides, I don't have to bend over.
Tom
 
I use "used" bottles now exclusively. I kindly ask friends to rinse and save. A few don't rinse even after several requests and I just add them to the recycle bin and everybody feels good. I do not use any bottles that have any hint of funk inside or has a flaw. If you have a winery near you and they recycle Sunday is the best day to pick up just emptied bottles. If it doesn't look brand new after cleaning simply don't use it.
 
Invest in a good bottle brush! I use an unvented oxy cleaner and brush. If it is too much work, into the recycle bin. It is much nicer if they are rinsed right away. Tell your friends that and I bet they'll do it.
 
I keep a handful of BB's and pour them in a nasty bottles with some cleaning water....shake it around a bit...that gets most stubborn bottles clean...that's my last ditch effort...if that doesn't work I pitch them. I bought a few cases to get started and the supply has just grown.
 
I only reuse the bottles that I personally rinse immediately. At $6 per case for new, it is not worth the time and effort to me to do the pbw soaking, bottle brush to make sure they are clean. I have around 150 gallons to bottle this season.
 
I only reuse the bottles that I personally rinse immediately. At $6 per case for new, it is not worth the time and effort to me to do the pbw soaking, bottle brush to make sure they are clean. I have around 150 gallons to bottle this season.

At that fantastic price I'd do the same as you!
 
I only reuse the bottles that I personally rinse immediately. At $6 per case for new, it is not worth the time and effort to me to do the pbw soaking, bottle brush to make sure they are clean. I have around 150 gallons to bottle this season.

Is it possible to share your source...$6 a case ? :HB
 
All posters above have provided great advice.

In addition, if you are re-using old bottles, I would not recommend corking threaded bottles. The glass is thinner, the opening is smaller, and may not withstand the stress of being corked.
 
I use a bottle brush. They're cheap and you can get them at Walmart, grocery stores, kitchen gadget stores, and winemaking supply stores. I have 3 bottle brushes and a carboy brush I use along with detergent and oxyclean.
 
I actually ended up washing the bottles today. They all cleaned up really well. Soaked them in warm one step for several hours, inspected, then delabled.
 
@4Score and I will each by a pallet (56 cases) this coming year. They charge $30 if you have to break a pallet.
 
If it is all crusty and ugly and stubborn, I would simply toss the bottle and move on.

What I do is to start by purchasing new bottles. This is nice as I can be sure that identical bottles will stack nicely.

As a bottle is used (emptied), I am religious about rinsing the bottle 3 times (minimum) in screaming hot water just as soon as the bottle is emptied. the bottle is then placed on a mini desktop rack to dry, then placed into a "bottle bin" (a 5'x5'x5' box on wheels) to await refill.

Prior to filling, the bottle is re-washed using pbw and then rinsed in k-meta solution.
 
If it is all crusty and ugly and stubborn, I would simply toss the bottle and move on.

What I do is to start by purchasing new bottles. This is nice as I can be sure that identical bottles will stack nicely.

As a bottle is used (emptied), I am religious about rinsing the bottle 3 times (minimum) in screaming hot water just as soon as the bottle is emptied. the bottle is then placed on a mini desktop rack to dry, then placed into a "bottle bin" (a 5'x5'x5' box on wheels) to await refill.

Prior to filling, the bottle is re-washed using pbw and then rinsed in k-meta solution.

Yepper!! Rinsing (with "screaming hot water") as soon-as-possible after empty is most important. Dried stuff can be very time consuming to remove. K-meta rinse prior to filling will do the trick. I generally discard the tapered bottles. They're nice to handle but do not stack well.
 
Yepper!! Rinsing (with "screaming hot water") as soon-as-possible after empty is most important. Dried stuff can be very time consuming to remove. K-meta rinse prior to filling will do the trick. I generally discard the tapered bottles. They're nice to handle but do not stack well.

Same here. I once had a disastrous cascade as a result of stacking those *&$% tapered bottles!
 

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