Reusing your packaging
Many soap-makers have found the usefulness of packaging that can be used as molds in creating distinct shapes. My most unique was a 2 ounce bar shaped like a small pipe cutter created by filling the cavity of the tool’s packaging. I know many soapers using cat food dishes, soda bottles, potato chip cans and other “waste” packaging. The role of reused items for soaping is probably only limited by your imagination and your ability to disinfect and clean previously used items.
Getting the fragrance out of fragrance bottles
While many people have found ways to use or reuse found material in their soaping, it is often the products designed for making that wonderfully fragrant or oddly shaped creation that leaves us baffled when trying to reuse their packaging; in particular, the bottles that we all get our fragrance or essential oils in. For most of us, the bottles are too valuable to throw into the recycling bin and we’d really like to use the space, but the previous occupant just lingers on, a ghost of its former self.
The solution is, to pardon the pun, salt solution. I have rescued many a brown bottle with nothing more than Morton Salt from the pantry. I usually try to throw in some rock salt for scouring and that’s it. So what’s the salty secret? Old fashioned elbow grease – nothing more. Often, in order to clean glass, you must scrub it like last week’s lasagna casserole, but don’t worry, I won’t tell your mom it sat so long! Also, you must create an environment inside your bottles amenable to removing the oil clinging tightly to the glass. Water, as we all know, even with lots of warm suds just won’t remove all the smell from your brown, Boston rounds. The salts, besides providing the rough scouring action you’ll need, act as a place for the oil to attach once it is removed from the glass.
So what you will do is add a nice amount of Mortons’s and any rock salt you can find – usually a quarter inch in the bottom is enough. Or you can really splurge and try any of the Dead Sea Salts or Bath Salts Bramble Berry carries here. Then add enough warm (not hot) water to fill the bottle about one third fill. Too much water doesn’t allow the crashing action (think ocean waves during a current) and too little doesn’t lubricate the process. Do not add any sudsing agents or you’ll fill the bottle with bubbles that will only need to be removed for this to work. Next, put the cap on tightly and shake like a mad demon. Also, this process relies upon your ability to imagine you are one of those salt grains slamming about the bottle, crashing into every nook and cranny, and dragging those stubborn oil particles away from the glass. If you skip the imagination step, your bottle with not come clean, trust me.
Next, empty the bottles’ contents into your drain, or your next load of laundry (not the salt though), rinse the bottle and “poof,” all clean. This will clean your bottle as well as you’ll need to. You will probably smell a small amount of residual fragrance in the bottle, but it will be so tiny that any new fragrance added to it will easily overwhelm it with no risk of contamination.
The thing to remember when reusing your bottles or any other item is that sometimes you are limited in what you can do. For example, leftover organic scraps from the table can be fed to your worm bin, your compost, or just tossed into the neighbor’s yard and your old newspapers can be turned into paper mache Halloween masks, but your fragrance oil bottles should probably not be used to store water for your fallout shelter. Their best use will remain as storage for your soaping supplies so don’t even think of switching them out with your child’s broken Incredible Hulk thermos.
Next issue, how to make a dog sweater from your dryer lint…
Tc Fergus says
I reuse my bottles by adding the scent with others for a perfume with jojoba oil. Once I have used up that, I add salts to the bottle..close it tightly and let the salts absorb the scent well. (These I use in my burner , with a tea light underneath) They last for ever, and the scent stay a long time. Then I fill that empty bottles with water, and use it in my rinse cycle for laundry. The bottle then gets the label removed, washed, and put into the dishwasher. 🙂
My BB bottles go a long way.
Becky with Bramble Berry says
What a creative idea to reuse the bottles! Did you know that you can purchase pour spout tops for our larger amber round bottles? That way you can create your own blends and pour them easily from our 8 and 16 ounce bottles! 🙂
Pour Spout, Pour Spout: https://www.brambleberry.com/Pour-Spout-Pour-Spout-P4066.aspx
-Becky with Bramble Berry
Barb Miller says
Oh that’s me – the brave one 🙂
I can’t believe you were brave enough to put fragrances in your dishwasher. I’d be scared of the fragrances leaching into the plastics in the dishwasher. =) I’ve had too many experiences of fragrances getting into my food to try that without first doing the salt water bath.
Lakeview soap mom says
I love the salt idea; I’ll have to try that one. While I’ve done a whole dishwasher load on super power, too much of the scent lingered. My tip is this; use rubbing alcohol; the highest percentage you can get. Not the regular 70%, but one that is 90%. It works really well, but does tend to take a lot and dries out your hands. My husband, who works in the automotive industry, told me about that little trick and it works great. Maybe after the salt wash, add in a bit of the alcohol to get the remaining out. It also works in removing the sticky residue from the labels as well.
I also run them through the dishwasher. Sometimes it works well, sometimes, not so well. I use them to create my own fragrance blends.
Thanks for the tip. I like your idea MUCH BETTER!!
Barb Miller says
I’ve run them thru the dishwasher with decent results (and the dishwasher smells really good for a long,long time). The scent always lingers in the caps though – does the salt help with that?
Miller’s Homemade Soaps
Thanks for the post. Informative as usual but also entertaining. I love your descriptions.
Teresa R says
Yet another terrific post to add to that bound volume of Wisdom from The Soap Queen’s Blog! I’m eagerly awaiting this volume. 😉
I chuckled at the last line too, but truth be told, I am actually collecting the dryer lint from when I launder our organic flannel bed sheets. I was thinking of using it as stuff for rag dolls. :}
Thanks so much! This very afternoon, I was wondering how I could reuse all of those little bottles I’ve been hanging on to. 🙂
Sweet Cakes Candles says
Wonderful idea. I’ve looked for ways to reuse them. Great tip!
Thank you for this post! Very helpful and very fun to read. The last line especially cracks me up! Thanks!
Soap Kitten says
What a wonderful tip! Thank you