I love repurposing stuff if I can. Things like jars and bottles are great to keep around just in case you need. One type of jar that I have a few of in my pantry is empty spice jars. These jars typically come with a shaker insert and seem like they would be very handy for storing things in!
Actually I have had my cinnamon and sugar mixture stored in an old spice jar for years. It is very handy to have some made up in a shaker jar ready for when I need it.
This summer I would like to try drying and storing my own herbs; they would also be great stored in a shaker jar. So I was checking out my collection of old spice jars and I noticed that they still smelled very strongly of their original contents. The spice jars reeked of garlic seasoning, barbeque seasoning and the like! I know it’s just an odour but you want them to smell clean when you go to reuse them!
I tried to clean them again but found that while the glass jar cleans up okay, it was the plastic lid that retained the smell. So it stands to reason that if you put the lid back on again the whole jar will start to stink again pretty soon!
I decided to try a couple of suggested methods for getting rid of the smell in jars. Adding vinegar and detergent to the jar and leaving it overnight was suggested in a comment here. Another link (here) suggested using baking soda and water to clean the smell out of jars.
The vinegar and detergent method didn’t seem to work but the baking soda appeared to help.
The original baking soda method suggested a short treatment time but I found that it didn’t get rid of all of the smell from the lid. So I modified it slightly, leaving the baking soda and water in the jar for longer. This seemed to clear the jar and the lid of any smell. I decided to air the jar as well to ensure the all the smells were gone. Here is the full method of what I did:
How to Clean Bad Smells out of Used Spice Jars
- Wash any residual spices from the jar with detergent and water (if you haven’t done this already)
- Add ½ teaspoon of baking soda to the jar
- Half fill the spice jar with water and then put the lid on (made sure to attach the plastic shaker insert too)
- Shake the jar for around 30 seconds and then set it aside overnight
- The next day rinse out the spice jar with clean water and allow jar, lid, and shaker insert to air dry separately
- Once dry avoid putting the lid back on the jar for as long as you can (leave it a few days if you can) so that the lid is exposed to the air
- Now that the smell is gone you can repurpose your jar!
I think the moral of this story is that if you want to reuse a spice jar that has had a strong smelling seasoning in it you need to plan ahead. I have found that the longer you can allow the jar to air the better. In particular the plastic lid and shaker insert need to be aired out to eliminate the bad smells.
Do you reuse your spice jars? How have you been able to get rid of any strong smells that linger in the jar?
If you also need help getting the label and sticky glue residue off your jars check out this easy method: