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Bought a Bottle Business - Need Help!


New Member
Jun 8, 2016
Hey everyone, I am new to this, and after reading the title, you might think "damn, you must mean you need mental help" because yes, I bought a bottle business with little to no knowledge of the industry haha. Anyway, I have over 2,000 bottles in inventory, including whiskeys, sodas, inks, milks, etc. There are a few shows I am going to be selling at in the next month or so and I need to clean all of these bottles before then.

With that being said, I have a few questions about cleaning and the industry/hobby in general

1) First of all, here is my cleaning process. Any critique would be greatly appreciated. I soak in dish washer detergent and room temp water overnight, clean the outside with a non-abrasive scrub, fill with aquarium gravel/rice/bb's and The Works Toil Bowl Cleaner, shake, and then rinse with water.

After I do this, the bottles look pretty great! 15 minutes later, however, they look like crap. White fog covers them inside and out (is "sick" the correct term for this?). What can I do to stop this from happening? Soak in vinegar for a long time? Use muriatic acid?

2) If I am not planning on buying a tumbler, would that significantly hurt the overall value that I will eventually sell all of my inventory for? Or do lots of collectors prefer a non-tumbled bottle? While those that do prefer a tumbled bottle don't mind buying one and getting it tumbled themselves, I'm hoping?

Thank you so much in advance!!

Harry Pristis

Well-Known Member
Jul 24, 2003
Northcentral Florida
If the majority of your new purchases are 'sick,' Your only option is to buy a tumbler and get proficient with it. In that respect, at least, selling bottles will become more of an art than an industry. Have fun! Good luck!


Well-Known Member
May 24, 2014
Yeah that sounds like "sick" glass to me, it's pretty common for bottles dug from certain environments. Like Harry Pristis said, the only way to deal with that is to tumble them. I don't know whether or not the bottles you dug were from a curated collection or just a massive collection from someone who kept everything they dug, if it's the latter then you'll definitely want to get knowledgeable over which ones are worth tumbling and which ones aren't if you choose to go the tumbler route. Tumblers aren't exactly cheap or fast, so you'll want to make sure you know which ones deserve tumbling and which ones don't.

The sickness will hurt the bottles to a degree, depending on colour and type of sickness. If they're all that hazy white sickness then that definitely leads me to pay less for a bottle and I think the same goes for other collectors. If the tumbling is done well then it shouldn't be obvious whether or not it was tumbled. Bottles aren't coins, they're rough utilitarian items that have gone through a lot in their time. Tumbling only becomes obvious if it was done too long and the edges all become too smooth. All that said, if you're just in it for the money then tumbling may not increase your profits too much if you're mostly dealing with $5-10 bottles.


Well-Known Member
Dec 12, 2015
time to locate the nearest bottle club and get a better knowledge base. as has been posted, it
may not be of benefit to you to tumble a $10.00 bottle. get on the internet and learn what you can
about what you have in your inventory so you can make informed decisions. bottle collecting is an opportunity
to learn a lot about glass manufacturing and the history surrounding it. good luck !!



Well-Known Member
Jul 31, 2016
Careful Tumbling bottle required specific knowledge not only buying tools! Tumbling not always "cure" sometimes it "kill" your bottle! Yes, Ruin your bottle!

Robby Raccoon

Trash Digger
Jun 14, 2014
Locō movērī
An under-tumbled bottle is better than an over-tumbled bottle. Find out which are your least valuable and practice with those so you do not accidentally damage/destroy anything 'good'.

andy volkerts

Well-Known Member
Jan 10, 2005
Sacramento, California
True word, as you can always put it back in and tumble it a bit more, but once overdone there is no going back, so do as Robert suggests practice practice on junk till you have it down........Andy

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