Cleaning gunk from the river

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FreeRangeAsparagus

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Hello,

I am new to this forum but I have been collecting for about 7 years now. The majority of people here tend to dig for their bottles, I snorkel for them in the Charles River. I have always had an issue with a black scale-like substance covering the outside and inside of bottles I fish out. It is easy enough to scrub the outsides of the bottles but i cannot get enough force with a wire brush on the insides to make any meaningful progress. I was wondering if there is a solution I can bathe my bottles in that will help break down this scale. Here are some before and after cleaning photos of a Dr. Swett's root beer I dove for this past Thursday, hopefully that sheds some light on what I am dealing with. I am sorry I do not know why the images are on their side.

Best,
FRA
 

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Screwtop

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I hear what you're saying. I find bottles like that in creeks, and that gunk won't come out for nothin'. Tumbling would work like a charm, but that's too expensive for bottles like you are holding right there.
 

Eric

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Since there is no ACL present what about a strong toilet bowl cleaner or CLR soaking? What are you using now? I was watching a guy on Youtube who restores old toy and he places the plastics and
rubber wheels that have crud built up on them in a Simple Green solution and places them in what looks like a large ultrasonic jewelry cleaner I would think the agitating process might help loosen the
gunk on the inside. And I'm sure there are some folks here that can tell you what works best... Good luck and keep us posted on what you find.
 

FreeRangeAsparagus

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I will look into the cleaner, I think that's my best bet right now. I suppose I can shake the bottles to simulate an agitation. Right now I'm just using the rough side of a sponge and occasionally some strong dish soap.
 

Harry Pristis

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Start with CLR, move on to oxalic acid, then muriatic acid. As long as there is no paint on the bottle, the glass will not be affected by these acids.


 

GLASSHOPPER55

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What I have done for over 30 years or more, is mix a 50/50 mix of liquid Drano and (Red Devil) powdered LYE (like soapmakers use). If you've seen that black coating railroad insulators get from train exhaust, this cleans that off when other solvents fail. Plus it doesn't have the noxious fumes that muriatic acid has, not to mention the dangerousness. Mix it in a container big enough to immerse your bottle in and cover it for a day or two, then 0000 steel wool rub. I never had good results with CLR.
 

FreeRangeAsparagus

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What I have done for over 30 years or more, is mix a 50/50 mix of liquid Drano and (Red Devil) powdered LYE (like soapmakers use). If you've seen that black coating railroad insulators get from train exhaust, this cleans that off when other solvents fail. Plus it doesn't have the noxious fumes that muriatic acid has, not to mention the dangerousness. Mix it in a container big enough to immerse your bottle in and cover it for a day or two, then 0000 steel wool rub. I never had good results with CLR.

Can’t argue with 30 years of good results! I’ll be trying this first. As for the steel wool, is that a viable option for cleaning the inside of the bottle too? I should have made it more clear, in the second photo the residue is on the inside and the outside is clean. Does the mix loosen the residue enough to be effective with a wire brush?
 

Btl_Dvr

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Can’t argue with 30 years of good results! I’ll be trying this first. As for the steel wool, is that a viable option for cleaning the inside of the bottle too? I should have made it more clear, in the second photo the residue is on the inside and the outside is clean. Does the mix loosen the residue enough to be effective with a wire brush?
Just as a note, lye is as dangerous as muriatic acid. Don't breath the fumes from either or get it on bare skin.
 

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