Being kind to the planet by consuming less is a wonderful way to create good karma for yourself. Up-cycling is one step better than recycling since you are breaking the cycle of consuming altogether. By repurposing bottles you can also save yourself some money too, which is always a good thing!
Keep these things in mind when selecting bottles for your kombucha.
* Choose food-grade glass only. Plastic has the potential of leaching harmful chemicals into your brew, even if BPA free.
** Choose bottles that are meant for carbonated beverages. To create the beautiful carbonation that kombucha is known for the bottle must seal well and be able to hold pressure. Bottles with weaker glass may explode.
A bottle of beer is under 50 psi, and kombucha is usually under 100 psi. But, in the right circumstances, kombucha can create over 100 psi of pressure and can lead to exploding bottles. Do not add too much sugar or leave in a hot place.
TIP: If you use pineapple, mango, peach or watermelon juice be extra cautious and burp the bottles or check carbonation earlier.
*** DON’T USE Ikea swing-top bottles (KORKEN) nor milk bottles – these are for water or other non-carbonated drinks.
Depending on your budget here are a few ideas on where to get bottles for next to free.
1. Buy beer, wine, or lemonade in swing-top bottles. Drink contents and reuse for your kombucha afterwards.
- Grolsch Beer – A Dutch beer that is readily available comes in swing-top bottles. (~50 psi)
- Some specialty wines and liquors also come in swing-top bottles, keep your eyes open for these as well. (unknown psi)
- Lorina Italian Sparkling Lemonade – Can be found at Superstore or Italian market stores. (unknown psi)
2. Buy commercial kombucha bottles. Drink contents and reuse.
- Save the bottles from when you buy commercial kombucha.
- GT’s bottle work great for bottling. Keep in mind eventually, the lids will start to leak and need replacing. 👉 Find Replacement caps here
3. Reuse refillable kombucha growlers
- I have replacement caps for these bottles as well.
4. Visit your local bottle depot.
- Because Grolsch is from overseas the bottle depot doesn’t send the bottles back. Many locations have a stash of them that you can buy for $1-2 apiece.
- These do need extra care cleaning and sterilizing but if hard work doesn’t bother you go for it.
- Tip: Your local homebrewing store can sell you sanitizer that will dislodge any amount of nasty that may be in these bottles. Make sure to rinse, rinse, rinse, before using for kombucha.
5. Visit Kijiji, Letgo, or Craigslist & buy used bottles.
- Often you will find someone looking to get rid of their homebrewing supplies.
- Generally, you can get bottles for less than half the price of buying new.
- Tip: Make sure to check the rubber rings on them, as over time the rubber dries out and cracks. they can be replaced but will cost you @ $0.50 apiece.)
6. Buy New Bottles
- As always I want you to have access to the best kombucha brewing supplies possible. So, I have sourced the swing-top bottles rated at 100 psi for your kombucha needs. This is the highest psi available.
- Head over to my shop and choose 500 or 1000 mL swing-top bottles.
Getting the labels off commercial bottles – A few tips:
- Scrub out any residue with hot water, dish soap, and one of our specially designed bottle brushes.
- If the residue is stubborn, it may require sanitizer available from your home brewing store.
- Rinse with super hot water, rinse again, and rinse again. We want to remove any traces of soap or sanitizer. Then a quick rinse with White Vinegar will sanitize the bottle.
- Removing the sticky labels from the glass can be a bit more of a chore. Depending on the glue the manufacturer uses sometimes all it requires is to soak in hot water and the label will peel off. (Grolsch & Lorina bottles)
- Other bottles (GT’s specifically) can be sent through the dishwasher dozens of times and very little label comes off. I recommend soaking in the very hottest water you can get out of the tap and scrapping with sponge scrubby. Remove what label you can and then to remove the adhesive from the glass, you will need some citrus essential oil to break down the glue. Lemon, Orange or Grapefruit are all great choices. Put a few drops on a scrubby sponge and let it do its magic, dissolving the glue. Essential oils offer an excellent natural, non-toxic alternative to harsh chemicals and are often just as effective. If you are using them for cleaning purposes, you can save money by purchasing “soap grade” essential oils.
- Next, to get rid of the oily residue, simply add some dish detergent to the sponge and give a wipe. Give a final rinse in hot water and set aside to air dry. TaDa!
- Or practise ‘letting go’ and just leave the label as is. :)