I love to save jars and use them again for storing different food items, craft supplies, or other odds and ends. There’s also no shortage of cute crafty jar projects floating around the internet and I see a new one almost everyday that looks intriguing to me. Getting jars cleaned up for re-use can be a little tricky though. First you need to clean off the label and remove that pesky glue from the glass part of the jar. You can find my solution for dealing with that issue here. The next challenge that comes up with jars is often cleaning and deodorizing the lid, so it doesn’t impart the scent and flavor of whatever was in it previously into the new jar contents. And that’s what we’re here to talk about today!
The jars I try to save most often are the cute mason jars that pasta sauce often comes in, but the lids almost always have a bit of a tomato-y, onion-y, garlic-y smell to them that can really be tough to get out. Cleaning and deodorizing jar lids is honestly kind of something that you have to deal with on a case-by-case basis because you may need to try a different method each time depending on what type of lid you’re dealing with and also what was in the jar. Today I’m going to show you what I do with my pasta sauce jar lids, and then I’ll give you a bunch of other ideas for things to try on different lids if you’re having trouble getting the smell out of them.
So here’s what I do!
I usually like to save up a few jar lids and do them all together at once. This can get a bit messy, so I like to put a big tea towel down first.
I start out by sprinkling my number one favorite deodorizer, baking soda in each lid. Use a fairly generous amount, a couple of tablespoons at least. You can see I always buy this stuff in a giant box. Those little boxes that baking soda usually comes in don’t last me 5 minutes! 🙂
Then, I top each lid up with vinegar and let it all fizz away for a few minutes. Once the fizzing has stopped, I leave the lids to sit like this on the counter for a few hours or overnight.
Next, I rinse the lids out and see how they’re smelling. Often at this point, they’re mostly scent-free, but I like to take a few drops of lemon essential oil on a cotton ball and rub that inside each lid for an extra dose of deodorizing power. I just leave the lids like this until inspiration strikes and I’m ready to use them for whatever storage or craft project.
If you’re going to be using the lids on jars storing food, make sure you clean the lids thoroughly with soap and water to remove the lemon oil just before you put them on their jars. If you’re just using the jars for storing craft supplies, or for home decor type projects, them lemon oil can stay.
But what if your lids still aren’t completely deodorized? Those tough odors can be stubborn sometimes!
Here are a few other things to try!
-Try placing fresh, dry coffee grounds either directly in the lid or in the jar with the lid tightly screwed on. Leave it for a few days and then check it.
-Ball up as much old newspaper as you can fit inside your jar and close the lid tightly. Leave it for a few days and then check it.
-Place your jar lids out in the hot summer sun for a few days, smelly side up.
-Soak a cotton ball with vanilla extract, place that in your jar, and close the lid tightly. Leave it for a few days and then check it.
-Soak your lids in a bucket of plain, fresh water for a few weeks, changing the water everyday, until the smell is completely gone.
-Create a liner for your lid by cutting a circle of wax paper or parchment paper, and place that inside the lid as an extra barrier between the smelly lid and the new jar contents.
The number one thing to remember is that the smell will eventually come out of your lid if you keep at it. If you have a jar that you really love, you definitely can save it with some persistence and a number of clever cleaning tricks up your sleeve. If you get impatient though, you can always recycle the old lids and buy new ones to fit your favorite jars. These ones here fit the pasta jars that I use (also check out these beautiful wood mason jar lids!), but you can find new lids in all kinds of sizes and styles, so don’t despair! There’s always a solution. 🙂
Do you have a trick that you use for cleaning and deodorizing your jar lids other than the ones I mentioned here? I’d love to hear about it!
If you love little cleaning tips and tricks like this, my new book The Cleaning Ninja is full of ’em!
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