Domestic Cleaning Secrets: How to Recycle Used Jars Into Beautiful Free Gifts

Posted on 31st January, 2011

Many people find home cleaning a chore, but there are many domestic cleaning tips you can use to turn any cleaning job into a real pleasure. And what better way to get the most out of cleaning your home than when you can combine it with getting something for free? This article shows you how to turn ordinary glass jars destined for the rubbish bin or trash can into gorgeous presentation jars for every occasion.


First ferret around in your kitchen cupboards for any nearly-empty glass jars that are likely to look good when cleaned up. My favourites are Douwe Egberts coffee jars. They are a real delight visually, and very easy to clean (the coffee's good too!). If you don't have any likely jars in your cupboards right now, make a note to buy products from companies who use more recyclable packaging from now on.


You will need:


1 medium-size glass jar with a tight-fitting glass lid, such as a Douwe Egberts coffee jar

hot, soapy water

pair of rubber gloves

round metal scourer (looks like a ball of silver steel wire)

few drops of lighter fluid, such as Ronsonol or Perma Fluid (remember to read the safety instructions on the container)

kitchen paper/paper towels

clean cotton tea towel/dish towel

short scrap of coloured ribbon or cord, about 30 cm/12 inches long, to decorate


1. Put the coffee jar and lid into a bowl of hot, soapy water and leave to soak for a few minutes.


2. When the labels are soft enough to remove, use your fingers to pull as much of them off as you can.


3. How do you get the rest of the labelling off? Cleaning secret number one: put on the rubber gloves, then take the round metal scourer and use it gently to remove any remaining pieces of label. Don't worry, the metal scourer will not scratch the glass. Try it yourself and see!


4. Remove any labels from the glass lid in the same way. (Note: the metal scourer won't scratch glass, but it WILL scratch metal, so if you choose to use a jar with a metal lid do not use the wire scourer on any metal part)


5. Now use the metal scourer to remove the date and anything else printed in ink on the glass.


6. When you have removed all the paper labels and any dates in ink, you may still find a few blobs of glue sticking stubbornly to the jar’s surface. These blobs of glue can be a nightmare to remove, but here comes the really clever part. Cleaning secret number two: lighter fluid! Lighter fluid isn’t just for lighters, it has marvellous cleaning properties and can clean sticky glue from all kinds of glass surfaces. However, it can be a little too strong for some materials, such as some plastics, so when using it on a new type of surface, always test a small, inconspicuous area first. Always use rubber gloves, and above all, please remember to keep the lighter fluid away from naked flames or sparks at all times because it's highly flammable. It also has a strong smell, so keep the room well ventilated while you use it, to protect you and your household from any fumes. When you have taken all the necessary precautions, pour a few drops of lighter fluid onto some kitchen paper and then rub the moist paper over the glue. The glue will disappear like magic within a few seconds. Clean off any residue of lighter fluid thoroughly after use.











7. Now wash the jar again in clean soapy water, rinse well, and dry with a clean cotton tea towel/dish towel.


8. When the jar is completely dry, tie an attractive piece of ribbon or cord around the neck of the jar (you can find all kinds of ribbons and cord you can recycle for free from used carrier bags and other packaging from shops/stores), tie the ends into a bow or decorative knot and trim the loose ends with scissors.


9. Fill the jar with anything you like - for example, dried herbs, home-made truffles, pot pourri or bath salts - then seal with the lid.












You can also decorate the jar but leave it empty - it still looks really attractive. You could perhaps recycle a few, decorate them, and give them away empty for other people to fill with whatever they like best. Either way, this is a very enjoyable, free and simple way to use domestic cleaning secrets to turn ordinary unwanted household items into beautiful, memorable gifts.





Adore Cleaning would like to thank Sara Lee for their kind permission to feature their wonderful Douwe Egberts coffee jars. Special thanks also go to Ronsonol International Limited for allowing us to feature their lighter fluid. We bought our metal power scourers from Asda, but they are available from all good supermarkets and grocery stores.


This article was written by Lorraine Turner for Adore Cleaning.

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