After washing and rinsing your freshly dug or recently aquired old bottle, you will probably find that it has mineral deposit stains that just won't wash off. The best way that we have found to remove these stains and restore the bottle to its original luster is to tumble it in a cleaning machine.
I bought my machine from Dick Homme at the Los Angeles Historical Bottle Club Show and Sale.
Start by filling the bottle with cut copper wire (copper shot) to about three-quarters full. You want enough copper to clean the inside of the neck, but too much will clog the tumbling action. I add about a teaspoonful of tin oxide powder as the polishing compound then fill the bottle with water to just above the shot.
Place the bottle inside the cylinder and fill the tube with more copper shot, tin oxide and water. Again, you must eyeball the quantities to insure that the mixture outside the bottle will get plenty of action and that all of the bottles surface will be in contact with the copper as it is turned.
When you have sealed the container, place it on your machine and let it turn at about 60rpm for four days to a week, depending on how heavily the bottle was stained. Be sure to reverse the rotation half-way through.
For more information or to get bottle cleaning supplies,