How to Remove Labels from Glass Jars

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Removing Labels from Glass Jars | My friend Jami has another tip to share with us. She saves jars and containers for her own purposes and shares how she easily removes labels, whether paper or sticky adhesive. |

My friend Jami has another tip to share with us.

I like to save and ‘use for my own purposes’ jars and containers. Some of my favorite saves are:

  • Spice shaker jars to refill with bulk spices. And large plastic spice shaker containers for homemade cleaners.
  • Glass syrup jars. These are wide and narrow, fitting into spaces nicely.
  • Glass condiment jars with pour and/or shake lids.
  • Glass bottles, wine bottles or whatever I find just for fun and decorating.

To remove the labels, use water for the paper and oil for the gum/adhesive.

With thin paper labels you can simple rub any ‘safe’ oil (I use grapeseed oil) on the label and allow it to soak in. I put my finger over the oil bottle and flip, then rub the label, repeat until the label is covered. Come back later that day and using a knife (butter will do) scrape the label and goo off. For any residue use a non-stick green kitchen scrub pad with soap and scrub/wash off the oil and stubborn adhesive residue at the same time.

With most labels the paper will be thicker, so before the oil treatment use water to remove the bulk of paper as the oil needs to reach the adhesive to start breaking it down. You may stick your container into the dish washer to remove the paper or fill it with water to hold it down into a sink or bowl of water to soak for a good while, at least an hour. The paper part of the label will come off easy with your fingers or knife – then you may continue with the oil process to remove the adhesive.

Any stubborn labels will come off, just repeat the process allowing more time for the water/oil to do it’s magic. I just leave mine for most of the day insuring they will give me no troubles when the time for scrapping comes.

I wish I would have gotten a Mrs. Butterworth’s bottle before they went plastic. Oh, well… Have fun collecting and re-using your favorite bottles – jars – containers today!

Thanks, Jami!

This post may contain affiliate links. We only recommend products and services we wholeheartedly endorse. Thank you for supporting Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS with your purchases. Our family thanks you!


  1. says

    I’ve found the easiest way to remove labels from plastic bottles is to first soak in hot soapy water as you would for glass, peel as much of the label as you can with a paring knife or similar, then coat with mechanic’s waterless hand cleaner for about 30 minutes or so. ( I used ‘Goop’) and wow! The glue is all gone! This product can also be used to remove grease based stains from clothes that you would think are ruined. Rub into stain with an old toothbrush, let sit for a while, then wash in hot water. This works great if garment item hasn’t been washed.

    • john says

      i just want to take labels off wine bottles and keep the labels to put into an album
      do i use the same process.

      regards john

      • Joan says


        I would just soak those labels in lukewarm water and then try to gently peel them off. The way I do it actually rubs them off into pieces.

      • Billie Y says

        If you fill the bottle with boiling water, the glue softens so much that the entire label comes off in one piece, I’ve done it many times successfully. Use an oven mitt or something, the glass will be HOT. :)

      • Mandy from California says

        You can try writing to the Winery and asking for a few labels for your scrapbook. My inlaws take their teardrop trailer around wine tasting and they always try to add a wine label for every winery they go to. If you go in person, it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask. Plus it saves you from having to do the soaking. And keeps the label nearly prestine..

    • Joan says

      I make jams and jellies for a living, and sometimes need reuse the jars that have already been labeled. I have found that lukewarm water is better than hot because the hot sometimes ‘sets’ the glue on the label. I run the jars under the water and rub the labels off from one side with my rubber glove. Works better than my fingers. Then if there is any glue left, I use something like Goof Off to remove the rest.

    • Kathy says

      I have several that I would gladly share one of in case Jackie only has one. e-mail me personally and I’ll mail it to you.

  2. Jo Anne T says

    I recently learned of another way to remove paper labels, from the Kombucha Kamp group I am a member of…fill the bottle with hot water, let it sit for a few minutes and the labels just peel off with no residue! I’ve tried it, it works!

    • Jeny says

      I also let hot water sit in it, then peel it off. Any residue left over comes off easily with some baking soda, hot water, and a drop of dish soap. Goof off gives me instant headaches.

    • says

      My brother figured out that using a hair drier to heat the label (and soften the glue) works really well to remove labels (not on all of them, but most). After heating it, use a razor blade to scrap as you peel it off. Works much faster than most other methods (although the hot water in the jar that Jo Ann T recommended) would probably do the same thing.

  3. Tammy says

    I do this too, but I use olive oil and if I need a little abrasiveness, I add a little salt or sugar. Gives it just a bit more scrubbing power.

  4. Susan says

    I simply soak glass jars, with any kind of label, in warm soapy water for about 30 min. and then scrub the label off with a piece of steel wool I keep by the sink. Simple and easy!

  5. Mary says

    I save glass jars/bottles too. The sticky labels were tossed after several failed attempts to remove the “stick”. I finally made a paste of crisco (we don’t eat that anymore) and baking soda. I keep the paste mixture in a plastic jar. When I need to remove the sticky residue, I drizzle a few drops of dawn liquid on the jar, then a glob of the paste and the mess rubs right off.

  6. Ellen says

    I pour boiling water into glass jars/bottles….let sit about 30 seconds to a minute and just peel it off. Some stronger glues take longer and occassionally you also have to take a paring knife to get all the glue off. It’s important to remove the label as soon as the glue has heated up enough to let go, so that the glue comes off ON THE LABEL. I find if I let the boiling water sit in the bottle too long that the label comes off but leaves the glue on the bottle.

  7. z says

    I don’t usually have trouble with the labels…. but I’d love to find a way to get the smell of what was in the jar out of the lid! The metal lids that come on regular grocery store jars of spaghetti sauce, olives, salsa etc have that kind of plasticy lining that seems to really hang on to odors. Any tips?

    • Melissa:) says

      I try to run the lids through the dishwasher a time or two, but those pickle smells really stick inside the plastic!!

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