How to Remove Sticky Labels from Bottles


How many times have you sacrificed your time, effort and patience trying to remove those sticky labels from bottles before you got frustrated and gave up? You might even have been successful in removing the label, but you lost every battle against that sticky glue.

Reusing and recycling habits make for a resource-efficient lifestyle, and old jars and bottles can be reused in countless ways. But removing the labels can easily become a pet peeve.

Well, none of that from now on. There are some pretty easy methods to help you tackle this problem. You can remove those sticky labels without any hassle and put into action all the plans you have for those bottles sitting at the back of your kitchen cupboard.

Here are two methods to remove sticky labels from bottles without fuss.

Method 1: Soaking in Hot Dishwashing Solution

This method proved to be the more effective of the two.

Things you’ll need:

method 1 things need

  • Bottles with labels to be removed
  • Tub, large enough to completely submerge the bottles in
  • Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
  • Baking soda – 1 tablespoon
  • Dishwashing liquid – 1 tablespoon
  • Water
  • Measuring tablespoon
  • Mixing bowl
  • Old toothbrush
  • Towel

Step 1. Fill the tub with hot water

Fill the tub with hot water

Be sure to use a tub large enough to completely submerge all the bottles you are working on. Fill the tub with enough hot water to thoroughly soak the bottles. Take care not to fill the tub up to brim.

Step 2. Add dishwashing liquid

Add dishwashing liquid

Measure 1 tablespoon of dishwashing liquid into the tub.

Step 3. Dissolve completely

Dissolve completely

Stir the dishwashing liquid with a spoon to dissolve it completely into the hot water. Hot soapy water is the best remedy for stubborn labels.

Step 4. Pull loose labels off the bottles

Pull loose labels off the bottles

Pull off loose labels

Without getting too worked up, tear and remove any parts of the labels that easily come off the bottles before putting them in the water.

Step 5. Soak the bottles for 1 hour

Soak the bottles for 1hour

Soak the bottles for 1hour

Once you’re done removing loose bits of labels, soak the bottles in the hot soapy water for about 1 hour. If the empty bottles keep bobbing up, fill them up with enough water to weigh them down.

Step 6. Easily remove the soaked labels

Easily remove the soaked labels

Soaked labels easily removed

You’ll find it easier to remove the labels from the bottles now that they are loosened up by the hot soapy water. Simply use your hands for this easy job.

Step 7. Use an old toothbrush to finish the job

Use old toothbrush to finish

Use old toothbrush to scrub the glue

Make use of an old toothbrush to scrub any stubborn spots clean. Your bottles should be free of any goopy labels and glue now.

Some stubborn spots may remian

If there is still some stubborn adhesive left on the bottle making you feel that it was all for naught, don’t lose heart. You can still remedy that.

Step 8. Put baking soda in a mixing bowl

Put baking soda in a bowl

Measure 1 tablespoon of baking soda into a mixing bowl.

Step 9. Add olive oil

Add olive oil

Pour 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the bowl.

Step 10. Make a paste

Make a paste

Mix the ingredients into a paste using a spoon. The olive oil in the paste works to soften up the glue and the baking soda works as an abrasive agent, effectively working on the stubborn adhesive.

Step 11. Scrub the paste on the bottles

Scrub the paste on the bottles

Spread and scrub the paste on the bottles using the toothbrush. Work the toothbrush on the surface for about 5 minutes.

Step 12. Wipe clean with a wet towel

Soak a towel in water

Wipe clean with a wet towel

Dip a towel in water and use the soaked end to wipe the paste off the bottle.

Cleaned bottles

Once you’re done, your bottles will be squeaky clean on the outside.

Method 2: Soaking in Vinegar

This method proved to be somewhat less effective than the previous method.

Things you’ll need:

method 2 things need

  • Bottles with labels to be removed
  • Vinegar
  • Glass bowl, large enough to completely submerge the bottles in
  • Old toothbrush
  • Towel

Step 1. Pull loose labels off the bottles

Pull off loose labels

Pull the loose labels off

Tear and pull off any loose parts of the labels that you can easily get at. Let any hard stuck labels stay on the bottles.

Step 2. Put the bottles in a glass bowl

Put the bottles in glass bowl

Put the bottles in a glass bowl that is large enough to completely submerge the bottles.

Step 3. Pour vinegar in the bowl

Pour vinegar in the bowl

Next, pour in enough vinegar to thoroughly cover the bottles.

If the empty bottles float, fill them up with water to weigh them down. Put the cap on so you don’t dilute the vinegar.

Step 4. Soak for 1 hour

Soak for 1 hour

Let the bottles soak for about 1hour so that the vinegar can work to loosen up the labels.

Step 5. Scrub off soaked labels

Scrub off soaked labels

Scrub soaked labels with toothbrush

When the soaking time is up, you can start cleaning the loosened up labels. Use an old toothbrush to scour the surface of the bottles clean.

Step 6. Wash the vinegar off

Wash the vinegar off

After you’re done scrubbing, wash the vinegar off the bottles with clean water.

Step 7. Dry with a towel

Dry with a towel

You can dry the bottles with a towel.

This method was not effective

We didn’t find this method as effective since our plastic bottle didn’t come up free from the labels.

Additional Tips

  • You can use any type of oil you have at hand to make a paste with baking soda.
  • Use hot but not boiling water, or else it may damage the plastic bottles.
  • Different companies use different types of adhesives for the labels. You need to find a method that will work on the adhesive of your bottle’s label.
  • Arrange a spacious workstation for this task that you can easily clean later. Congested surroundings will make your task difficult.

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