Find All The Ways On How To Remove Labels From Jars

There are so many things around the kitchen that need cleaning. Take cleaning your chopping board for example. But do you know what else you can find in that same kitchen? Jars of all shapes and sizes are very popular and are very often used for household products. People repurpose mason jars for crafts, storage, and just about anything else they can think of. Unfortunately, many of these jars come with obstinate, difficult-to-remove labels.

Removing sticky labels from glass jars.

They frequently leave paper and glue residue behind that no amount of water or scrubbing can erase. Thankfully, removing jar labels is simple, and you can also remove the residue left behind. We will show you how to remove labels with six all-natural methods so that your jars can be given a new life!

Method 1: Using white vinegar

1. Fill a sink or a bucket halfway with boiling water

The water should be deep enough to submerge your jar fully. If you’re removing labels off jars of many sizes, make sure that the largest jar is also fully covered in water. The hotter the water, the better because the adhesive under the label melts easier.

2. Pour in drops of dish soap over the labels

If you can’t find dish soap, you can use regular hand soap instead. This will make it easier to remove the label by loosening it.

3. Add a few cups of white vinegar to the mix

Because vinegar is acidic, it will dissolve the glue that holds the label to the jar. It will make it easier to remove both the label and the residue.

White vinegar on wooden table

4. Place the jars inside the sink

Remove the jar lids and place them on their sides so they can fill with water and sink to the bottom.

5. Wait for a few minutes

For stubborn labels, 30 minutes should be enough, but you can always check your jars after 10 minutes.

6. Remove the jar from the water and take off the label

It should now be simple to remove. If any residue remains, try scraping it off with a sponge.

7. Rinse the jar and pat it dry using clean water

After removing the label, rinse the jar and dry it with a clean towel. You can now reuse it in any way you wish.

Method 2: Using nail polish remover

1. First, remove as much of the label as you can

If the label is too difficult to remove, soak the jar for 10 minutes in warm, soapy water before peeling it off. There will be some residue, but that’s okay. 

2. Pour some nail polish remover on a paper towel, cloth, or scrubby sponge

If the residue is minor, a towel can be used. Stick to a sponge if you have a stubborn residue. This approach will also work with acetone. 

Note: If your container is made of plastic, avoid applying nail polish remover or acetone. They may cause the jar to deform or discolour. Instead, you can consider rubbing alcohol but bear in mind that it may not be as effective. 

3. Scrub in small circular motions

Any adhesive will be dissolved by the chemicals found in the nail polish remover or acetone, making it easier to scrape away. It’s possible that you’ll need to reapply two or even three times before it is fully dissolved.

4. Clean the jar with some soapy warm water

This is especially important if you intend to store food in your jar. After cleaning it, dry it with a clean towel before reusing it for your project.

hands of child wash & clean glass jars in kitchen sink

Method 3: Using oil and baking soda

1. Get rid of as much of the label as you can

If the label is extremely adhered to the jar, soak it in warm water with soap for a few minutes before peeling it off. There will almost certainly be a lot of paper and/or glue residue left behind, which is ok.

2. Mix baking soda and oil both in equal parts

Any cooking oil, such as olive oil, vegetable or canola oil, can be used. Baby oil can also be used. You’ll need around 1 tablespoon of each for a small jar. 

Note: If you have stubborn paper labels, you will need some abrasive baking soda.

3. Apply the paste to the jar and rub it in

Concentrate on the regions with the most residue. You can use your fingertips, a paper towel, or even a cloth to apply it.

4. Allow 10 to 30 minutes for the process to complete

During this time, the oil will penetrate and dissolve any glue residue and this will make it easier to remove later.

5. Remove the paste using a scrubby sponge or steel wool

Rub the paste in small, circular motions. This allows the baking soda to scrape away any remaining adhesive or paper.

6. Use soap and water to clean jars, and blot dry with a towel

If any residue is visible, wipe it away with a paper towel and a few drops of oil.

A jar of baking soda on a wooden surface, a handy ingredient to remove limescale from the toilet

Method 4: Using a hairdryer

1. Set the hairdryer to a high setting

Keep in mind that this method has had various outcomes for different people. It only works if your hairdryer can reach high temperatures and the label isn’t too difficult to remove.

2. Heat the label for about 45 seconds

The glue will dry out and become brittle as a result of the heat. This will make it easy to remove.

3. Try to peel a corner of the label away

Use your fingernail or a razor blade to take the label off if necessary. If the label doesn’t come off easily, heat it for another 45 seconds and try again.

4. Remove any residue with olive oil, then wash it with soap

Carefully massage any leftover spots away using a towel and a few drops of olive oil. Wash the jar with warm, soap to get rid of the oil and dry it with a clean towel.

Method 5: Using washing soda

1. Fill a sink halfway with boiling water

Make sure the water is deep enough for your jar to be completely submerged on its side. 

2. Add half a cup of washing soda (around 90 grams)

To help it dissolve in the water, swish it around with your hand.

3. Wait 30 minutes after opening the jar and placing it in the water

Allow water to enter the jar and weigh it down. You don’t have to wait exactly 30 minutes, but long enough for the water to seep through the label and dissolve the glue.

4. Remove the jar and peel off the label

The label should readily peel away. If any residue remains, try rubbing it off with your finger first. 

5. Scrub stubborn stains with extra washing soda

If any residue remains, add some more to a scrubby sponge and gently buff it away.

6. Clean the jar with water and pat it dry

After removing the label, rinse the jar with clean water and dry it with a cloth.

Method 6: Using peanut butter

1. Peel the label

Remove as much of the label as you can. Try to do it with your fingers to avoid scratching the surface.

2. Soak your jar in hot water

See if you can remove more of the label by soaking the jars in hot soapy water for a few minutes. Of course, you don’t have to soak the sticky labels, but this will help you use less peanut butter later.

3. Now cover the label 

Allow a few minutes for the peanut butter to soak into the label and any sticker.

4. Wash

Scrub around the sticky spots with a towel or a sponge. Then, rinse using hot water and dish soap.

 hands with gloves washing jar

5. Dry

Your food jars will be ready to use after they have dried.

Cleaning tips

If you want to be one step ahead and learn everything you can on how to tackle this task like a pro, then these tips are what you need:

  • Don’t use a sharp knife blade. You risk cutting yourself and scratching the jar.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaners. Who knows what’s in them or whether or not they’re even safe to use. Try to stay away from them whenever possible.
  • Remove the sticky residue as soon as possible. Dirt and germs will accumulate on it, which you don’t want in your food storage containers. It’s generally best to recycle the jar if you can’t get the adhesive off.
  • Essential oils such as eucalyptus oil, lemon oil, orange oil, and tea tree oil can be used to remove the sticky residue once the label has been removed.
  • In most cases, no soaking will be required. It should start working right away. It should dissolve if you rub the essential oil on it with a towel. After that, rinse, dry, and use or store the jar.

jars filled with cereal and pasta

Citrus-based cleaners are one option you can consider too to remove pesky labels from glass jars and glass bottles. Spray it on the glass jar and let it sit for a couple of minutes, or soak it in a citrus cleaner and scrape it clean until no sticky glue or residue remains.

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