How To Clean and Reuse Your Bottles
Glass bottles can pose a bit of a problem when it comes to being sustainable and green. While they’re excellent at protecting their contents, they’re heavy and can be broken easily. This makes shipping a nightmare. On the plus side, glass bottles can be be reused and recycled.
Most of our packaging from product to shipping materials is biodegradable or recyclable. When it came to choosing bottles, we wanted to use something that protected the serum and is recyclable. It was also important to use bottles that are reusable if you want.
This was a huge consideration when choosing packaging for our sample sizes. For example, the 5 mL size of our sample bottles is perfect for a week or more of serum. They also have tiny droppers so you can measure and control the amount of product dispensed. They’re perfect for travel, but you have to be able to clean it first.
This step is crucial before adding new products to a reusable container. Everything needs to be sterile and safe, especially when it comes to skin care that'll be going on your face.
With oil-based products, cutting through the oily residue is the toughest step. It isn’t easy to do when bottles have a small opening and a glass dropper either. We’ve got it covered though.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- gloves (optional)
- razor blade or utility knife
- isopropyl alcohol
- a dry, clean towel or dishcloth (paper towels are fine, too)
1. Start by breaking down the serum bottle into pieces.
Unscrew the lid and pull out the dropper. Put the bottle to one side. Carefully push the rubber piece of the dropper toward the glass stem to push it through the silver cap. Then, twist and gently pull the white rubber dropper ball off the glass dropper.
2. Remove any labels.
The easiest way to do this is to lift an edge of the label using a razor blade or utility knife. Once you’ve pulled the label off, remove any sticky residue that’s left. Isopropyl alcohol or lemon essential oil and cotton balls work great!
3. Wash everything with detergent and hot water.
As a preliminary step, wash each piece with hot water and detergent. This will help break up any remaining product in the bottle and dropper, and clean the cap and rubber stopper.
It’s a little tough to get into the glass dropper piece and bottle with small openings. To do this, drop a small bit of detergent into the top of the glass dropper and then run through with hot water. Repeat this step a couple times for best results. Do the same with the glass bottle as well.
Gloves are useful here since they can help you tolerate hotter water. The higher the heat, the more effective the water and detergent will be at removing product.
4. Remove any remaining oil residue from the glass using isopropyl alcohol.
The next step borrows from lab techniques to remove any remaining residue by using isopropyl alcohol as an alcohol solvent. Using your thumb to stop the bottom of the glass dropper, pour a couple drops of isopropyl alcohol into the top of the dropper. Cover the top with your finger and shake the dropper. Do the same to the glass bottle. Fill it a quarter of the way with isopropyl alcohol and then use your finger to cover the top before shaking intensely. Any remaining trace of residue dissolves in the alcohol. The alcohol can be safely dumped in the sink and you can leave the glass pieces to dry on a clean cloth.
Any alcohol left over evaporates off the glass without leaving a residue behind. How effective this step is depends on how much oil is removed in the preliminary hot wash. You might need to repeat the alcohol step a couple times until there isn’t any residue left at all.
There are a couple ways to sterilize the glass pieces for future use, most involve heat and water. The easiest thing to do is to place the glass pieces in a small saucepan, cover in water and bring to a rolling boil. Boil for at least 10 minutes before fishing out the pieces with tongs, and placing on a clean, dry cloth or towel.
Leave the pieces to cool down and air dry completely before adding any product to the bottle. Reassemble the dropper component and you're good to go!
Shop our sample sizes here.