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labels on jars

any tricks to removing labels on glass jars?

i have empty jars that i want to use for storing spices but they have labels and hot water + soap doesn't get rid of the sticky glue or the paper as much as i would like.

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  1. I soak mine in hot soapy water then use goo gone. Gets rid of sticky stuff. A little rubbing but works.

    3 Replies
    1. re: kchurchill5

      thanks. i guess goo gone can be found at a hardware store like home depot?

      1. re: superfinespot

        Check your supermarket, local Walmart, etc first. It's a pretty common product and it is useful for many things.

        1. re: Quine

          I use it for lots of things. Smells a bit but not bad and a little goes a long way. Walmart, home depot, walgreens, ace, even most grocery stores.

    2. Naphtha. Use in a well ventilated area away from flame.

      1. Cooking oil often works on label residue. Cover it with a generous coating of oil (or spray with Pam), and let it rest a few minutes. It can usually be scraped off easily.

        1. I try to remove as much of the label as possible without using water. A trick to "peeling" off an adhesive backed label is not to try to lift it off, but pull it off with the label face folding back against itself as you peel. If you get it off that way and any adhesive is sill stuck on the jar, using the sticky back on the label will often lift it off. If the paper begins to tear and split as you peel,stop and pry up the seperating part and get it caught up with the big piece.

          If this doesn't work, or if the label was wet before you started, get as much of the paper off as possible. Hot water helps, then rub it to "pill" it. Then use any brand of cheap hair spray in a pump bottle. It will cut through the gummy adhesive as well as anything I've ever used, and better than most.

          I keep a bottle of hairspray with my cleaning supplies. It will take ball point pen marks off upholstery, remove lipstick, remove gummy glue.... It's a miracle cleaner.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Caroline1

            never tried gummy glue, but know the pen and lipstick. Very rarely have one other than a small little 3 oz one for weddings or formal events. I may just have to try it.

          2. Ammonia in warm water. Ice water. Failing that, xylene. (It's the active ingredient in goo gone.)

            1. For some kinds of glue, filling the jar with -boiling- water will instantly heat up the glass and melt the glue and the label will peel right off. A run through the dishwasher will clean off any remaining residue. Or, if no dishwasher, that type of glue seems to dissolve in mineral spirits so a quick wipe with some on a rag will clean up any last sticky spots.

              I don't know how to tell if it's the heat-activated glue or not, but it's what I usually try first. You don't get the label wet at all; in fact, it's easier if the label is completely dry and hasn't been scraped at yet.

              1. Any kind of oil...vegetable oil, olive oil, I've even read that peanut butter works. I usually spray on some vegetable oil, let it soak in, then scrub it off with a dobie/scouring pad. Goo Gone/Goof Off will also work but I'm leery about using that in/around things that will be used for food.

                3 Replies
                1. re: jzerocsk

                  goo gone and the like are either xylene based, or limonene based, depending on whether they're "citrus" based or not. there are additional ingredients (surfactants and the like), but none of them leave a residue that will survive washing. If you drink orange juice, you're consuming quite a bit of limonene already.

                  1. re: dscheidt

                    I'm sure you're right but the vegetable oil is usually right in the kitchen and doesn't smell like Zippo fuel.

                    1. re: jzerocsk

                      I wouldn't of use the good gone is the regular kitchen oil would of worked. I tried baby oil, soaking, tons of things. Goo Gone was my last resort and the only thing which worked, even then it was a bit of work.

                2. Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol will dissolve label glue. We use it at work to remove labels from laboratory glassware.

                  It's also cheaper to buy that brand name adhesive removers. It also leaves no nasty chemical residue.