How to Clean Perfume Bottles

by S.R. Becker
Soak the smell out of old perfume bottles with vinegar.

Soak the smell out of old perfume bottles with vinegar.

Don't throw away your old perfume bottles after the perfume is gone. When you clean the bottles, you can refill them with new perfume or display them. Antique glass perfume bottles give a touch of vintage elegance to a dressing table or windowsill, especially if they're colored or beveled. However, because perfume bottles tend to be small, they can be difficult to clean. Although professional bottle-cleaning services exist, you probably can clean the bottle yourself.

Items you will need

  • White vinegar
  • Saucepan or coffee mug
  • Dish-washing liquid
  • Small bottle brush
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Compressed-air sprayer (optional)
Step 1

Remove the stopper or sprayer from the perfume bottle and rinse the bottle in hot running water.

Step 2

Warm 1/2 cup of white vinegar in a coffee mug in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove. The vinegar should be the temperature of a warm cup of tea, not boiling hot.

Step 3

Pour the vinegar into the rinsed bottle until it is three-quarters full. Put your thumb over the bottle opening and shake it for 30 seconds. Allow the vinegar to sit in the bottle for at least one hour, then pour it out.

Step 4

Fill a sink with enough hot water to cover the bottle. Add a squirt of dish-washing liquid to make suds. Immerse the bottle in the hot water for 5 minutes.

Step 5

Scrub the bottle with a small bottle brush in the soapy water, paying special attention to nooks and crannies.

Step 6

Rinse the bottle with rubbing alcohol if all the residue doesn't come out. Fill the washed bottle with alcohol as you did the vinegar and shake it to remove any leftover residue.

Step 7

Dry the bottle with a compressed-air sprayer like you use to clean computer keyboards, or leave it outside in bright sunlight to dry.

About the Author

S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.

Photo Credits

  • Jeffrey Hamilton/Photodisc/Getty Images