Cleaning Crates

One great ‘go with’ collectible for bottles is the crates the returnable bottles used to come in. There are many different styles and many material types, wood, plastic, metal, cardboard, etc.

The crates had a hard life, being tossed onto and off the delivery trucks, sitting out in the weather, dusty warehouses, etc. so they are usually dirty. Of course cleaning them can be difficult.

 The metal ones are of course the easiest to clean. Usually a cleaning agent like 409, and a good brush and scrubbing sponge is all you need.  Steel wool can be used to remove rust spots. If the crate is the stainless steel type great care must be taken to not scratch the finish. Look for stainless steel appliance cleaner at a local hardware store.

 When cleaning a plastic crate, some precautions are necessary. Most of the plastic crates will have painted logos on them.  After being weathered this paint is unstable. A cleaning agent or simply water can remove the paint. It is best to test a small area of the paint first before you submerse the crate in water.  It is best to just clean around the painted areas and maybe touch them up lightly with a damp cloth.

 The wooden crates are the most common and can be easily cleaned. I don’t suggest to immerse a wooden crate in water. The wood will absorb the water and cause the crate to buckle or warp. If the paint seems to be stable (not flaking off or peeling) an electric leaf blower seems to work wonders.  This will remove a great deal of dust from the inside as well as from the outside. Take care not to drag the hose of the blower across the crate; it will leave a black mark on the paint that can not be removed. (Voice of experience here again)

The cardboard crates come in a number of varieties, the most common is the cardboard coated with wax and has a metal rod for the frame of the crate.  Since it is coated in wax, a damp cloth or paper towel can be used, but be sure to dry it off after cleaning.

 Clean crates make a wonderful way to display your clean bottles. So drag those crates outside and get busy with some spring cleaning.

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