How to Remove Jar Labels Easily
With ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ becoming the norm, there’s a host of items in the kitchen cupboard that can be repurposed. And the glass jar is, quite rightly, at the top of the really useful list.
From pickles to olives, sauces and chutneys, the glass jar is super-useful and once the food contents have been used up, can easily be re-used for a host of reasons. Looking for a cool candle holder or a rustic way to display some flowers? Or how about a container for your homemade jam? Look no further than your reusable jar collection!
But to get those jars ready for re-use, they need to clean and label-free. Which is where this blog comes in. There’s no need to get frustrated with a half-removed paper label or that stubborn glue residue as we have four fantastic hacks to get those glass jars label free and squeaky clean!
Prep Your Jars
It sounds obvious, but before you remove the label on your glass jars, you need to remove every last drop of its previous contents. Wash both the jar and its metal lid thoroughly in hot soapy water, paying particular attention with your scrubbing pad to the ridges in the jar rim and the screw lip of lid.
Four Methods That Really Work
Now the inside of your glass jar is totally clean, it’s time to turn your attention to the outside, and that glued on paper label. Each one of our quick cleaning hacks totally works, so pick the one that suits you and the cleaning items you have to hand.
- White vinegar
Found in most kitchens, this is an effective way to whip off those jar labels once and for all. And it’s really easy to do. Simply fill your sink with hot water – the hotter the better to dissolve the glue – making sure it’s deep enough to fully submerge the jar. Add a few squirts of dishwashing liquid or you can use ordinary hand soap to loosen the label, then a few cups of white vinegar. The acidic nature of the vinegar will dissolve the label glue and any residue. Now place the jars in the water, without their lids so they fill with water and sink. Wait for 10 minutes, then check the labels – if they are still remaining stubbornly in place, pop back in the water and leave for around 30 minutes. Now remove the jars and slide the label off, scraping any residue off the glass with a scrub sponge.
- Washing soda
Washing soda – aka sodium carbonate or soda ash – is a natural cleaner with a power kick when it comes to removing stubborn labels and glue. To use washing soda, fill the sink with hot water, making sure it is deep enough for your jars and add in ½ cup of washing soda to the bowl. Give it a good swish to dissolve the soda before adding your jars and sinking them to submerge. Leave for a good 30 minutes, or enough time for the label to start floating off and for the soda to dissolve the glue. Remove the jar and slide off the label and then rub off the glue residue with your finger. Scrub neat washing soda on any stubborn marks and voila, a label/glue free jar!
- Nail polish remover
You can raid the bathroom cabinet for this one as the acetone in nail polish remover is a fantastic label remover, although only use on glass jars, not plastic as it could distort the surface. You’ll need to peel off as much of the label as you can first, then with a generous amount of polish on a cloth, work the remover across the leftover label and glue residue, rubbing as you work. Wipe the surface clean, then use a little more nail polish remover on a scrubby sponge to whip away any stubborn residue that’s left. Rinse the jar in warm, soapy water or even better, pop it in the dishwasher for a hot clean before leaving to dry.
- Oil and baking soda
For really stubborn jar labels, this oil and baking soda concoction is sure-fire way to get them moving. Peel off as much of the label as you can, then in a bowl mix equal amounts of baking soda and oil. Any cooking oil such as canola, olive or vegetable will work. For an average-sized jar, you’ll need about a tablespoon of the oily paste, rubbing it over the label so that it’s completely covered, focusing on the areas with the most residue.
Now leave it on for around 30 minutes so that the oil paste can penetrate the glue residue and dissolve it away. Once the time is up, use a scrub sponge or steel wool to rub over the paste in small circular motions, lifting off of any stubborn paper or glue residue. Rinse clean and dry. If there are still a few flecks of residue, pour some olive oil onto a paper towel then work the oil over the surface until everything has been lifted and the jar is clear. Simple.
- Easily Remove Jar Labels – Instructables