I dove into my herb cabinet late last week for a bag of Red Clover flowers, and was nearly pelted with a number of old tincture bottles. They’d piled up and spilled out of the plastic bin I keep up on my restocking shelf for used dropper bottles. Clearly, it was time to clean bottles.
A few years ago, a fellow herbalist told me that she didn’t bother to clean and reuse tincture bottles. I understand her perspective. It’s kind of a tedious job. Dropper bottles aren’t terribly expensive, so it’s not like there’s a huge cost-savings. Still, I have too many frugal years under my belt to toss what I could so easily clean and reuse. If I was smart and did it as I emptied each one, it wouldn’t be such a huge task.
But, I am a truly lazy herbalist. I stack them up for months on end, then spend an hour or two cleaning all at once. It used to take me several hours, but I’ve found ways over the years to expedite the process. This week, I posted a copy of my method on The Practical Herbalist for those of you who’re interested. Basically, I keep it simple and natural. Washing soda, dish soap, and cotton swabs are my mainstays. I wish I had a mini-bottle brush that would fit perfectly into those tiny bottles, or better yet, into those even tinier dropper pipettes. They probably even make one, but I have cotton swabs already and, like I said, I’m kinda lazy. I’m not going to go looking for a bottle brush when I can just use what I’ve got.
Now that I’ve finished the job, I wonder why it took me so long to do so. Honestly, last week wasn’t the first time I’d caught a couple of dropper bottles before they hit the ground when I opened that cabinet. It feels like a huge weight lifted from my shoulders to have the job done. Between cleaning the bottles and my mini-fast this week, I feel ready to leap into the new year with grace and exuberance…or at least with exuberance.