Thursday, May 8, 2014

Remove Labels From Glass Jars

remove labels, clean glass jars, remove glue from glass, remove labels from glass jars

As I sit down to write this, I am slightly out of breath.

You may be asking yourself:
  • Was she carrying lumber to make an outdoor bench?
  • Was she moving all of the furniture, including area rugs, in her living room to create the perfect grouping?
  • Was she spending three hours sanding a very old table down to the original wood?
  • Was she digging a flower bed, and weeding?
Well, I have done all of those things this week... But none of them had me out of breath.

Here's what did have me out of breath:

As I waited for a newly painted table to dry, so that I could apply a second coat of paint, I decided to remove the labels from some old jars, so that I could make vases, or candle holders - I don't know - whatever. Just something to do.

remove labels from glass jars, clean glass jars, remove glue from glass

Let me tell you, removing labels from jars is one of life's little pleasures. The feeling of accomplishment when you have your crystal clear jar before you, ready for adornment, is simply second to none.


I'm sorry, I was about ready to lose my ever lovin' mind  a little irritated. This wasn't my first rodeo with labels. But I've caught my breath a little now, and am no longer traumatized.

It started because I decided to find the best method for removing labels, because I DID NOT HAVE ANY GOO-GONE.

There are so many cute glass jar shapes and sizes, but those darn labels. What do they use to adhere them? If we find out, we should let NASA know. That stuff is HARD CORE. Anyway I bravely marched on.

And here are my scientific label and glue removing findings:

I tried giving the glass jars a bubble bath, with super hot water and a little Dawn. I filled the jars and soaked them for about 20 minutes. Afterwards, some of the paper label came off, but none of the glue. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed.

remove labels from glass jars, clean glass jars, remove glue from glass

I dried the glass, and rubbed the remaining label/glue mess with nail polish remover with a paper towel. (I thought this was a genius move.) Uh, no. That simply didn't work. So I tried letting a paper towel soaked in nail polish remover sit on the glue for a minute, and scrubbed like my life depended on a crystal clear spaghetti sauce jar - no dice.

The clear winner, but not exactly "the miracle" I was looking for... rubbing alcohol. I poured a generous amount of the alcohol on a paper towel and most of the glue dissolved and came off.

remove labels from glass jars, clean glass jars, remove glue from glass

Some stubborn parts required steel wool, and just about all of my elbow grease (read: sanding the table was easier), and eventually came off.

(If you have a foolproof method for removing labels, do tell. I can take it if there's an easy way, and I've wasted hours of scrubbing my fingers to the bone. I promise not to run screaming into traffic.)

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remove labels from glass jars, clean glass jars, remove glue from glass


Unknown said...

I have used GooGone, works pretty good. I have read peanut butter works good, I have not tried it. I can understand your frustration...been there ;)

Happy Thursday!

Unknown said...

Sherri - I did think of the peanut butter - will try that the next time I'm ready to tear my hair out :)


Unknown said...

I use inexpensive essential oils - not the good ones but those that are too cheap to believe. They remove every bit of glue and the room smells great too - I like lemon and orange best. Luckily these oils are always the least expensive.

Unknown said...

Karen, I'm going to search you down for details - so do you soak the label, and do you let it sit for a bit?? Where do you get inexpensive essential oils - maybe Walmart?

Thank you for stopping by! Julia

Sarah A said...

Olive oil works pretty well for me. Sometimes I peel the paper off and even soak it to get the rest of it so it doesn't get as messy. You can coat the glue with olive oil and let it sit for about 20 minutes. I think it's the oil in the peanut butter that makes it work so it's the same concept. Good luck!

Unknown said...

Yep, somewhere other than Whole Foods! (Amazon has a brand called Now that is about $1.50 per oz. for Orange). I kinda scratch up the label and then just pour a tiny bit over and wait for about 5 minutes - everything will just rub off. Magic and non-toxic..

mama chelle said...

I too have tried every method under the sun and have found that soaking in hot soapy water to loosen /remove the paper first then smearing peanut butter on the jar, let it sit for approx 20 mins. Wipe most of it off leaving only a film over the glue. Wipe with a per towel using circular motions and the glue will come right off. I have only had a few problems with some stubborn wine bottles where I had use put some elbow grease. It so far has been the easiest method I have found that works.

Debbie said...

We save jars for my Mum who is an avid jam and chutney maker, and the thing I hate most is removing the labels - I don't like to give them to her with the labels on if I can help it as she is always giving us jars of her makings.

The easiest way I have found is to pre-soak the jar like you suggested in warm, soapy water. I then rub off the label and put a drop of cooking oil on the the glue and rub hard. The oil seems to break down the glue.

I then put a drop of dish washing liquid onto the jar, which gets rid of the oil.

Janarama said...

Any type of oil would work; baby oil, vegetable oil, canola oil, olive oil. Just brush some oil onto the label and let it sit for a few hours. Then wipe off with a paper towel. Save the expensive peanut butter to eat. ; )

Unknown said...

Sarah A - I will try olive oil! Soaking for 20 minutes.. and will let you know!

Chelle - I only have cruncy peanut butter! LOL! I know peanut butter will get gum out of hair, so why wouldn't it work on labels?! :)

Debbie - I suppose it's only fair to remove the labels - you're a good daughter! Yum - chutney!

Janarama - seems like oil/peanut butter will work! All this talk of peanut butter IS making me hungry!

Thanks all for stopping by, Julia

Janice said...

Goo Gone works great but I can't stand the smell. Then I found out about baby oil. No smell, it works great. Soak the jar in soapy water, peel off the paper so that you're just left with the glue. USE A COTTON BALL AND RUB BABY OIL ALL OVER THE GLUE. leave about 5 mins. and then just rub with the cotton ball and it all comes off. Then I wash in soapy water and the jobs done. Great.

*rosam@r said...

Put the jar in the microwaves 30s

Erlene said...

You're too funny. I've had some stubborn bottles too. I've used olive oil before and that works on the gooey type of adhesive, but not on the hard solid type. Thanks for sharing your label removing adventures on Merry Monday.

Unknown said...

Janice - I tried your method last night, and it worked! Thank you!!!

Rosam - will try that as well. Must loosen up the glue?

Erlene - I think it always depends on the bottle... Sometimes it's just a battle of the wills!


Unknown said...

I know you already read my post about soaking the whole jar in water over night. That's my method! I like using olive oil to remove any stubborn parts that still remain. One commenter on my post said blowing hot air from a hair dryer on the label for 30 seconds works, but I haven't tried it yet. I'm glad I'm not the only one out to solve the jar label removal problem that plagues us all! Great post! :)