How to Remove Labels from Bottles for Reuse

March 29, 2021 3 min read

different food in reused glass jars

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When making the switch to low-waste living, it can be tempting to go out and buy fancy glass storage to help you sustainably organize your life. But why purchase a brand-new product when you can simply reuse the bottles and jars you get from your weekly grocery store haul? Reusing jars and bottles is easy, eco-friendly and doesn’t cost a thing. Usually, the trickiest part is getting that pesky label off, which brings us to this simple guide on how to remove labels from bottles. With the right ingredients and a little elbow grease, those labels should be gone in no time!

How to Remove Labels from Bottles: 7 Different Methods

There are few things more frustrating than scratching uselessly at a stubborn label that won’t come off. The next time you need to remove a label from a bottle or a jar, try using one of these tried-and-true methods.

1. Cooking Oil and Baking Soda Method 

Mix together equal parts cooking oil — such as coconut oil or olive oil — and baking soda to form a paste. Apply your paste to the label and rub with a washcloth. If the bottle is still sticky, you can use a qualitydish brush and some elbow grease to get rid of the remaining residue. 

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2. Hot Soapy Water and Baking Soda Method

Running low on cooking oil? Try this method instead. Fill a bowl or a saucepan with hot, soapy water and add a few tablespoons of baking soda. Stir it a little so the baking soda doesn’t clump together. Allow the bottles to soak for 30 to 45 minutes. Usually, the label comes right off after that!

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dish washing set

3. Razor Method 

Do you have an old razor that you don’t use anymore? You can use it to scrape the label off old bottles and jars. A couple of passes with the razor is usually all it takes to get rid of the label. When using this particular method, be careful! The razor can get caught on the label and move forward quickly once it releases. Make sure that the hand holding the jar isn’t in the path of the razor.

4. Heat Method

Heat is another effective way to remove labels from bottles. If you have a hair dryer, aim it at the label. The heat should loosen the adhesive enough to where you can simply scrape it off using the razor method.  

Note:Do not use the oven to remove labels from glass bottles and jars. If the glass isn’t oven-safe, it could shatter or crack inside your oven.

5. The Freezer Method 

If heat doesn’t do the trick, try putting your bottle in the freezer and allow it to sit overnight. By morning, the label should come off. Alternatively, you could try soaking it in ice water.

6. The Vodka Method

Got a bottle of vodka in your liquor cabinet? Alcohol is super-effective at getting sticky residue off glass. Just pour some vodka on the label (bonus points if it’s sustainable vodka) and rub with a rag.

7. The Citrus Method 

natural home cleaner

Source: Switlana Sonyashna/Shutterstock.com

This method takes a little more effort than the others, but we promise that it’s worth it! Not only do citrus-based cleaners smell divine, but they can also be used to clean your home in an eco-friendly way. The best part? You can use leftover citrus peels that would otherwise get thrown in the trash!

Here’s how to make your own citrus-based cleaner:

  • Build a collection of citrus peels in a Mason jar. To prevent them from molding, keep them in a glass jar of vinegar.
  • Once the jar is almost full, pour in white vinegar and allow the citrus peels to soak for one week.
  • Place a bowl in the sink and pour your citrus-vinegar concoction into a fine mesh strainer over the bowl.
  • Pour your citrus-based cleaner into a spray bottle.

Spray the cleaner on your labels and let them sit for a little bit before scrubbing it off with a scrub brush. When all is said and done, you should have a label-free jarand a multi-purpose cleaner that’s free of harmful chemicals!

Creating a Low-Waste Home 

There you have it! With these label removal methods, you can finally get rid of that annoying residue and find creative ways to upcycle your bottles. 

Looking for more tips to help reduce your waste? Read more posts from The Earthling Co. blog or browse our collection of low-waste products.


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