Monday, July 17, 2017

I Figured Out the BEST Way to Clean Glass Bottles, and Surprise, It Requires Power Tools!

First, some news:

News Update #1: Crafting a Green World has been sold, and so I am no longer its editor. I might write a post a week or so for the new iteration of Crafting a Green World, or I might not--in other news, negotiating sucks and I hate it. I do love being paid, though, which is now not happening, so this is as good a time as any to remind you about my Pumpkin+Bear etsy shop and that if you shop on Amazon using my Amazon Affiliate links--why, look! Here's one now!

--I get paid a miniscule percentage of that sale, but hey, every nickel shifted my way from Amazon is one more nickel towards my kids' ballet classes and horseback riding lessons.

The upside is that I've finally discovered that what I actually needed in order to consistently work on my novel-in-progress was actual dedicated writing time, and so using my formerly CAGW writing time as novel writing time has been excellent.

Which leads me inevitably to...

News Update #2: I'm on a roll with working on my novel, so of COURSE my laptop died. The computer repair shop says the motherboard stopped working, and the laptop is under warranty so Dell says they'll fix it... in 10-12 business days, not counting transit time. Many men have mansplained for me not to worry, Little Lady, your computer's memory is fine and so you'll still have your novel and all of your photos when it comes back, but in my 40 years on this planet I have learned some distrust, let's say, for the patriarchy, so all I'm gonna reply is a disenfranchised sort of "we'll see."

And that's why today's post is 1) not a continuation of my Greece vacation, on account of all of my Greece photos are on my laptop with a dead motherboard, and 2) concerning a subject that normally I'd be writing about on Crafting a Green World, because I'm not writing for Crafting a Green World right now, and although I'm negotiating (shudder), I'm not holding my breath that I'll be writing for Crafting a Green World again, so why sit on a post that I've researched and am ready to write?

If I do write for them again I'll probably wish I'd sat on some posts and had them researched and ready to write, but whatever. Live in the moment, Y'all!

Anyway, y'all know that I have been trying to find meaningful uses for a neverending supply of vintage glass bottles pretty much since we moved into this house. It was about a week afterwards that the kids and I discovered that the drive-in next door apparently spent the 1960s and 70s dumping its trash into the back of the woods, and man, if you went to the drive-in in the 1960s and 70s, you sure as hell drank a lot of beer and soda!

None of them, not even the perfect Coca-Cola bottles, are worth more than a couple of bucks, and the vast majority of them are worth absolutely nothing, but still... I can't put them in the recycling, because if they're not soda-lime glass, they won't go through the equipment correctly. And I CANNOT toss them in the trash, because then they'll just live forever in someone else's dump instead of my own.

So yeah, I hoard them. One day I'm going to get over my fear of being axe-murdered and put them on Freecycle, but today is not that day.

To make the thing a little more annoying, even if I do want to clean up some of the nicer bottles to display or maybe even sell, it's ridiculous, because they've spent 40-50 years outside in the woods, and so they're dirty and gross and need a good scrubbing inside and out. I broke my heart trying different methods to get them clean, always coming back to the need to scrub each one by hand for a million years...

Until Matt thought of the solution. It looks like this:

This is a cordless drill with a paddle bit attached, and to that paddle bit Matt has duct taped a bottle brush. Here's a closer look at the sophisticated join:

Yes, I love it, but I do want you to notice that he used not the regular duct tape, but the more expensive gold duct tape that I bought for making Spartan armor.
That, my Friends, is all you need to do this:

Thanks to Syd for the excellent photography. No thanks to anyone in the family for not helping enough with the dishes.
You put a squirt of dishwashing soap into the bottle, then some water. Then you insert the bottle brush and use the drill to scrub that baby OUT!

Soap will fly everywhere if you do, but you can also scrub the outside with the same set-up:
See the soap flying everywhere? Worth it!
It used to take FOREVER--seriously, I promise you it took forever--to scrub one bottle, but yesterday I did seven of them, timing myself with the oven clock, and my average was five minutes per bottle for the whole process, including rinsing it out afterwards.

If you're dealing with vintage bottles that have been exposed to the elements, this will not make them perfect. Nothing will do that. They won't have degraded, because they'll never degrade (which is why you want to keep them out of the waste stream as much as possible), but the sun will have done weird things to them, as will the soil, as will the 40+ years of temperature fluctuations and freezes and thaws. If I want them to look as nice as possible I will then fill them with straight vinegar and put them in a bucket of straight vinegar and leave them to soak for at least a day.

I didn't do that for these bottles, though, because I'm probably just going to paint them. Still, don't they look very nice?

Some will be cut and turned into candles, because I've also taught myself how to cut glass bottles in my CAGW-free time, but for most, I have this weird idea for painted bottle candle holders that I'm playing with... stay tuned!

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