This section is from the book "A Treatise On Beverages or The Complete Practical Bottler", by Charles Herman Sulz. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Beverages.
All such bottles should be looked into and their smell tested to decide the course of cleansing. It should be considered whether the bottle to be washed is worth the material which is to be wasted upon it. If not, it is better thrown away.
Some bottles acquire a crust or coating very difficult to remove. The following methods are given for removing such impurities:
1. Soak them in a solution of permanganate of potassium.
2. Rinse the bottles out with a solution of equal parts of muriatic acid and water.
3. Chloride of lime and water in the proportion of one ounce of the lime to two pints of water, and allow the bottles to lie in the solution for three or four days.
4. A mixture of potassium bichromate and sulphuric acid.
5. Strong sulphuric acid put in the bottles, corked and allowed to stand a day or two. This should remove the strongest crust.
6. Nitric acid will best cleanse bottles that have contained lead solutions, as the other acids form insoluble lead compounds.
Either of these methods require great care. The chemicals should in all cases be carefully rinsed out with clean water.
Greasy bottles may be treated with any one of those remedies, as the case may be. Hot water for grease is not to be recommended, because it only melts the grease and causes it to float on its surface, and when the water is poured out of the vessel the grease will still adhere to the sides.
We recommend the cheap benzine and naphthas to be used for cleansing fatty bottles, also caustic potash or soda, as they are indeed the best remedies.
Turpentine is useful in removing resins and all dirt of a resinous nature, as well as tar.
For scouring bottles outside, and inside by means of a bent wire, dry sawdust is good for removing grease. A piece of newspaper moistened and sprinkled with powdered pumice stone, marble dust, sand, etc., will also remove dirt of a resinous character.
A solution of crude potash is an excellent thing to keep on hand, as it is to be preferred for cleansing vessels that have contained resins and all dirt of a resinous nature.