The secret to removing labels from glass bottles

We have many inquiries from customers wanting to know the secret to removing labels from glass jars and bottles

Here’s what we recommend

There are many different paper stocks used for labels (including matt, glossy and textured paper) and you’ll soon discover that some will be harder to remove than others. What is common however is that they use an adhesive of course and it’s that simple ingredient which is key to unlock a successful removal!

If you search the internet you will discover a range of options. Some common attempts include:
  • soaking label in oil (scuffing the paper with sandpaper first to help the oil soak in)
  • soaking bottle in hot soapy water
When we tried these methods, both resulted in the labels turning to mush and only successfully removing the top layer of paper.

What does work?

We’ve discovered that by filling the bottle or jar with very hot water (thus melting the glue from the most direct point of contact, the inside), makes for an easy ‘no mess’ label removal.  A couple of tips:

  • Don’t pour boiling water into a cold bottle or it may create heat shock and cause them to shatter. Ensure the bottle has been heated to 50°C water before exposing it to boiling water.
  • Be sure not to get the outside of the label wet.
  • Just wait a minute for the hot water to work its magic and gently peel away the label. Be careful of the hot liquid inside!
There may be a thin film of glue residue left on the outside of the glass. There are a variety of ways to remove the glue left behind:

  • acetate (eg: nail polish remover) and a paper towel in a circular motion until gone
  • steel wool, a paint scraper or the blunt edge of a knife to scrape away at the glue
  • Eucalyptus Oil on a cotton pad

removing sticky labels from glass
Recycling and Upcycling

You may already have a firm idea in your mind what you’ll be using your de-labelled Barker’s glass bottle or jar for! If you have any wonderful upcycling ideas you’d like to share we’d love to hear from you. Check out our growing list of upcycling ideas.

If you are using your Barker’s bottle to make up diluted fruit syrup with water – use the ‘Barkers’ logo near the top of the bottle as a guide to fill the water up to, then top the rest up with concentrated fruit syrup to taste.