How to Preserve Your Collectable Whiskey Bottle

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How to Preserve Your Collectable Whiskey Bottle

Collecting and investing in whiskey bottles has become a popular hobby. They are an item that has the potential to rise in value, and can also be of historical and cultural significance. Even though obtaining the correct type of whiskey bottle is simple, keeping it in presentable condition can be tough. Bottles that are classified as collectable require care and attention in order to preserve them.

After a long day of searching through online auctions, the last thing anyone wants to do is clean. Collectable whiskey bottles need to be prepped correctly in order to make sure they don’t look scruffy. It is important that they maintain a shine that makes them stand out. This guide will look at how to go about such process by using products found on eBay.


Bottle cleaning products are both chemical infused and highly toxic. Before commencing use always read the manufacturer’s instructions. As an added safety precaution, wear a mouth and nose mask, and never handle any cleaning solution without wearing rubber gloves. Never take safety lightly and always make it a priority.


Before a bottle can enter a state of storage or display it needs to be thoroughly cleaned. Whiskey bottles are used to store alcohol and this tends to stain glass over time. When this occurs, those in the field class it as ‘bottle sickness’. The stain will look cloudy because it is actually engrained into the glass. It is caused by the chemical element of alcohol leeching into the glass. To tackle all whiskey bottle ailments you’ll need the following:

  • Copper scrubber
  • Powder cleanser
  • Ammonia-free bleach spray
  • Copper wire
  • Sponge
  • Small container
  • Bottle brush
  • Safety glasses
  • Mouth guard
  • Rubber glasses

Even though professional services are available many will relish the challenge of cleaning bottles themselves.

Bottle Condition

  • Check the whiskey bottle for chips and cracks.
  • There is nothing more frustrating than cleaning a bottle that contains damage that is beyond repair. It’s also risky cleaning a damaged bottle, as glass chips can cut the skin.
  • Dirt can often lure a person into a false sense of security and cover up cracks. Always be thorough when inspecting a bottle. In order to do this hold it up in front of a bright light and rotate.
  • Wet a sponge and gently wipe away any dirt and ash from the outside of the bottle.

Inside of the Bottle

  • Fill the bottle up halfway with water and slowly swirl it around, this will pick up any lingering loose material.
  • Pour out the water into a small container; it will make it easier to spot any shards of glass that have come loose.
  • Don’t be too vigorous when using water inside the bottle, as it will run the risk of cracking it.
  • Now that most of the dirt is removed it is time to start using cleaning implements.
  • Take a copper scrubber and spray it with bleach, before adding a touch of powder cleanser.
  • You will need to judge the volume of copper, cleanser and bleach used, as it needs to be appropriate for the size of the bottle.
  • Put the newly created solution inside the bottle, put a finger in as far as it will go and move it around.
  • Be as thorough as possible by going back and forth or side to side. Personal preference will dictate which method suits you best.
  • The cleanser and bleach mixture starts off a light colour; this means the user will be able to see what dirt is being collected.
  • Hold the bottle up to the light again to see how much dirt has been collected.
  • Clean the neck area with a small toothbrush using the same solution.

Removing the Copper Scrubber

Once it has been given a thorough clean it is time to remove the copper scrubber and rinse out the bottle.

  • Use a copper rod to pull out the scrubber if it has slipped out of reach.
  • Pour out any excess liquid into the small container; be sure that no copper remains in the bottle.
  • Rinse the bottle with cold water to remove any remaining solution.
  • Allow it to dry naturally.


After the bottle has been rinsed out it will be time to tackle the outside.

  • Take a small toothbrush and scrub the fine details with water. This includes the neck, lip, base and any other indentation.
  • There are lots of places on a bottle where dirt can become caught trapped, so be scrupulous.
  • If needs must, use cleanser and a copper scrubber to remove any persistent muck.

Finishing Up

If stains and dirt are persistent, feel free to repeat the cleaning process or any of the steps previously mentioned.

  • Repetition is the father of learning, so the more bottle owners attempt the process the better they’ll get at it.
  • Rinse the bottle gently in a sink, and part dry with a towel. This will allow you to touch up any spots you may have missed.
  • Cleaning is a long process so be patient, and do not rush it.


  • Post-1900 bottles (along with select older bottles) have a seam that protrudes. If not handled correctly a scrubber can chip this area and cause damage.
  • Solution and cleaning utensils obviously get dirty. How long it’s used after contracting dirt is up to you. However, leaving it too long could cause dirt to run up against the glass and risk scratching.
  • Avoid homemade remedies such as vinegar and other elements that have a strong chemical element.
  • Acidic sprays may claim that they’re a top cleaner, but don’t be fooled. Acid removes haze from the bottle no matter what form it comes in.
  • Mixing chemicals can be dangerous so always take care when doing so and don’t mix anything you’re unsure of.
  • If you’ve acquired a bottle that (even after cleaning) shows signs of severe damage, contemplate whether it is actually worth keeping.

How to Buy Bottle Cleaning Products on eBay

Bottle collecting can be a fun and profitable hobby when approached correctly. The core elements of this are not in what bottles you buy, but how you go about keeping them in good condition. Many vintage whiskey bottles are mistreated over time; those who are serious about the hobby need to learn the cleaning process.

When it comes to cleaning there is one resource that stands head and shoulders above the rest. eBay has all that a bottle collector needs and more in order to keep their collection preserved in mint condition.

  • To start browsing what cleaning supplies are available, go to eBay’s homepage and select the home, furniture and DIY option.
  • From there click on cookware, dining and bar then food preparation and tools. This will display all live bottle related auctions and allow shoppers to browse freely.
  • If shoppers have a specific brand or variation in mind they can use the keyword search tool found at the top of the page.

eBay Shops

The correct cleaning supplies are required in order to clean a collectable whiskey bottle. Where these products are so essential it means shops are desperate to get you to buy such items from them. Many high-street stores have taken to the eBay shops format in order to sell their goods.

Shoppers will find special offers and great bargains in these mini-stores; they can go a long way in stretching a tight budget. To find what eBay stores are open for business; select the eBay shops link at the bottom of the homepage.


Delivery of cleaning products is a tricky subject and a grey area in many regards. Items such as bleach and cleansing powder are both toxic and flammable. It makes shipping them difficult, and in some instances impossible. Shipping from abroad is definitely not an option. When buying products that have a large chemical element its important to discuss delivery options with the seller.

Completing a Transaction

When a shopper has found cleaning products of interest they will need to do one of the following.

  • Place a Bid
  • Make a Best Offer
  • Buy it Now

Once an auction has concluded the winning bidder will need to complete the checkout process.

Doing this via PayPal will mean that the buyer protection programme covers the transaction.


Whiskey bottle collecting first gained popularity in the 1960s and has remained a prominent hobby since. The unusual shapes and forms from times gone by are highly sought after, but are often in quite poor condition. This means that there is work to do before it can be ready for display. Cleaning is the key to preservation, so learning how to do it properly is important.

Alcoholic drink containers are popular and whiskey bottles are often the pick of the bunch. The market for them is ever growing, but purchasing them is only part of the collecting process. Bottle collectors need to start getting serious about cleaning and preservation techniques. This guide has broken down the entire process, while eBay will provide you with all the products needed to get the job done right.

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