An Easy Way To Get Sticky Labels Off Of Glass Bottles

We get quite a few emails asking for a little tutorial on taking the labels off of wine and Pellegrino bottles, which we first did for our wedding back in 2007 to create little water, lemonade and sweet tea carafes for every table (we even recruited a local wine store to save bottles from their wine tastings for us so we could collect them en masse for free).

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When it came to stripping the labels, we experimented with a few different ways but in the end nothing worked better than a little hour-long soaking session in hot water followed by a good scrubbing with a textured sponge (or even my fingernails- ever so lightly). After a good soak, everything slips right off.

Then a bit of Goo Gone (or de-gunking alternatives like olive oil, nail polish remover, or citrus juice) can be introduced if there’s still some residue, but usually the ol’ soak & scrub approach does the trick on its own. And that method isn’t an ancient memory because two years later we’re still saving pretty bottles and removing their labels to create an ever-growing collection of free glass vases that we like to group on a tray in the sunroom…

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… or even use to add a few pops of green color to the floating shelves in the living room:

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So there you have it. A little fast and easy label-removing tutorial that may just help you repurpose some of the things that could already be in your recycling bin at this very moment. Long live free decor- especially when it’s so easy to strip down!

Comments

  1. KV says

    If you don’t have Goo Gone hanging around the house, nail polish remover also works great to remove the remaining residue off of glass.

  2. Steph says

    OT but I just noticed your ‘how to’ page seems a little more comprehensive with more links and categories. Thank you! You’ve taken something great and made it even better!

    • says

      Thanks for all the alternatives to Goo Gone guys- we’ve edited the post to include them! We’ve also heard rubbing citrus juice (lemon or orange for example) on sticky areas can work to de-gunk them too! Hope it helps!

      xo,
      s

  3. says

    Thanks for the post!! This is exactly what I needed! There is a grocery store near us that sells tomato sauces in awesome simple glass jars with black lids – no text on the glass – but I haven’t been able to get the labels fully off! Rather than go out and buy glass containers to store dry goods, I recycle these to hold things like ground coffee, flaxseed, lentils, etc.. I’ve only got a few so far but someday I’ll have plenty!

  4. says

    from vinegartips.com (one of my favorite websites!):

    “To remove a label, decal, or price tag, cover with a cloth soaked in white distilled vinegar. Leave the cloth on overnight and the label should slide off.”

    cheap & easy, & no broken nails!

  5. Vanessa says

    Love it! Just did removed the Pellegrino label off a bottle last night, and my nails of course are a wreck, lol. I think I have almost the exact same vase, the round jewel blue one on the right side of the tray. Have no idea where I got it though, maybe the flea market.

    I love saving and repurposing glass jars of all shapes and sizes. The pantry looks so much prettier without all the noisy-looking packaging! And they make for a great centerpiece when clustered together when filled with tea lights.

  6. says

    I would always recommend tossing your labeled bottles in the dishwasher first (Pellegrino comes off super easy this way). Then if they are still adhered, put them in a big bucket with hot water and some liquid fabric softener (not sure if this is eco friendly or not??). It helps a LOT. Hopefully you shouldn’t have to use your fingernails, but if you get to that point, then a straight razor works really well too.

    Thanks for the post! I used to bottle wine with my family and so we all dreaded “cleaning bottles”.

    Good luck!

  7. Karen B. says

    Ha! Yes, I am one of the readers who inquired about this. I’m using your wine-bottle-as-a-water-bottle brilliant idea at the birthday party I’m throwing for my mom. I used a $3 paint pen to labels my bottles and it gives them a great punch of color. :)

  8. Dan H says

    I home brew, and the best thing I’ve used to get labels off bottles has been OxyClean. Soak bottles in hot water with that for about 10mins, and you’re good to go!

  9. says

    Just a word of warning: DON’T do what I did!
    I bought these great octagonal canisters for my spaghetti and for rice and sugar and flour for my new kitchen… Wanted to get the labels off quickly. Put on rubber gloves to hold the jars securely.
    Decided to use a razor blade. THIS is the part you need to NOT do!
    The razor slipped and the pointed corner cut right through the rubber gloves – the slit was literally only a 1/4-inch long. Took the glove off to check – how bad could it possibly be?
    (Warning: GROSSNESS to follow!) The blood spurted out over my shoulder – onto my newly painted kitchen wall!
    Well, I wound up in the hospital, a psych evaluation was begun ’cause it looked like a suicide attempt to the ER guy’s UNtrained eye.
    I have a 1/4-inch long scar that took two stitches. They let me go without committing me ’cause the psych guy said I couldn’t have made up that story if I was truly suicidal! I told him I had to get home to clean my newly painted walls!!!
    SOAK YOUR LABELS OFF, PEOPLE!!!