reusing old glass jars

I love reusing old glass jars and I’ve built up quite a collection of jars that I have saved from going into the recycling. 

I use my glass jars for lots of different things. But,  I always seem to have quite a few leftover. However, that’s never a problem as there’s always someone that can make use of them.

How to clean your glass jars

Before I share my favourite uses for all your saved glass jars I’ll give you some tips on how best to clean them.

  1. Wash in hot soapy water, getting as much of the label off as possible, rinse and dry
  2. Washing them should get rid of most of the label, especially if you use a steel scourer, but you may be left with some stubborn bits and some sticky residue. There are a couple of options:
    • If you just have some sticky residue on the jar use a little bit of lemon essential oil and a cloth to rub it off – it works so well and you only need a drop.
    • rub a mixture of equal amounts of bicarbonate of soda and any cooking oil over the sticky part. Leave on for 30 minutes before scrubbing it off and rinsing the jars, they may be a bit oily and need another soapy wash
  3. If the jars still have a slight odour to them (pickle jars tend to) just sprinkle some bicarbonate of soda into them, pop the lid on and give them a good shake. Loosen the lids and leave overnight.  In the morning rinse them out and thoroughly dry them.
  4. Store your jars without their lids on, but make sure you keep the lids in a small box next to your jars.

Now for my Favourite uses for old glass jars

1. Freezing stock and leftovers

Glass jars are great for freezing things in but you just need to follow a few rules.

  • wide-mouth jars are best for using when freezing
  • do not overfill and always leave room for expansion, about an inch
  • make sure contents are cool before placing in the freezer
  • stack your jars carefully in the freezer
  • allow frozen contents to thaw slowly and come up to room temperature when you want to use them


reusing old glass jars

2. Storing bulk purchased dry goods

I use a mixture of bought jars and old jars that I’ve saved for storing dried goods.  The jars that have previously had pate in are really good as they have the clip lids.

reusing old glass jars

3. Making homemade jam & chutney

If you want to give your homemade jam or honey away as gifts why not cover the lids with some paper or fabric and tie with string.  You could also check out my recipe for Elderberry Syrup.

4. Filling with homemade sweets for gifts

You can make some simple homemade sweets, why not try my Coconut Ice, and pop them in a jar to keep.  Or, add some ribbon and a label and give away as a gift.

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5. Storing leftovers in the fridge

6. Storing bits and pieces in

Old glass jars for storing all sorts of bits and pieces in from buttons to cotton buds and anything else you can think of.

7. Making homemade candles

If you would like to make your own homemade candles The Spruce Crafts has a  great tutorial How to Make Glass Jar Candles

8. Decorating your home with Tea Lights or Fairy Lights

reusing old glass jars

9. Vases or small plant pots

10. Time capsule

2020 will definitely be a year to remember so why not make your own Time Capsule.  You can put whatever you like into it but here are some of my suggestions:

  • Letter to your future self saying what it was like to live during the Covid 19 pandemic
  • Newspaper Headlines
  • Photos of yourself
  • A short diary
  • Face mask
  • Old bottle of hand sanitiser
  • Loo roll ! (maybe not a full one unless you have a very large jar)


Have I missed anything ?

Written by 

Hi, I’m Frankie. This is my blog (Thoroughly Modern Grandma) about blending old fashioned values with modern technology, whilst trying to reduce our waste and be a little kinder to our Planet.

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