Food jars are a great thing to keep as they can be reused time and time again. They’re easy to clean and repurpose and this is also beneficial for the environment as it results in less wastage.
If you’re looking to repurpose jars for different foods or tasks, however, you may need to remove a sticky label from the outside first.
This isn’t always as easy as it might first appear as some labels can be almost impossible to remove. You may have no luck at all or only be able to remove chunks while leaving other bits behind.
Luckily, there are several methods you can use to remove these labels. In this article, we will look at some of these methods and give you a step-by-step guide on how to remove labels from jars.
We have three methods for removing labels and an extra method that is especially useful for removing sticky glue residue.
Soap And Vinegar
This method is easy and uses items that you probably already have around the house. You don’t need any harsh chemicals or special equipment, either!
- Sink/large bowl
- Dish soap
- White vinegar
- Fill your sink or large bowl with some hot water and add some dish soap and white vinegar. You should only need a couple of tablespoons of dish soap and half a cup of white vinegar.
- Mix these into the water so that the soap foams and the vinegar is evenly distributed.
- Put your jars in the water so that the label is fully submerged under the water. Leave the jars to soak for at least 20 to 30 minutes.
- Once the time has passed, remove the jars from the water. You should be able to easily peel or scratch away the labels while they are still wet.
Nail Polish Remover
You can use this method for any labels that are especially stuck as it’s very effective. However, you should not use this method on plastic jars as nail polish remover and acetone are only suitable for glass jars.
When used on plastic jars, they can discolor the plastic or even distort the plastic so that it isn’t safe to use.
If you have sensitive skin, you may want to use gloves when dealing with nail polish remover or acetone.
- Nail polish remover/acetone
- Dish soap
- Warm water
- First, try to remove as much of the label as you can by hand. If you can’t budge it at all, try soaking the jar in warm and soapy water first. You want as much of the top layer of the label to be removed as possible for this method to be as effective as it can be.
- Pour some nail polish remover or acetone onto your cloth or sponge. If there is a lot of the label left to remove, we recommend using a sponge that has a rough surface.
- Scrub the label in circular motions using your cloth or sponge. The nail polish remover will begin to dissolve the glue so you can more easily scratch off any label residue.
- You may need to repeat this action several times and reapply more nail polish remover.
- Once all of the residue has been removed, clean the jar in warm and soapy water.
This method may not work for everyone. You will need a hair dryer that can reach a very high heat and it may not work even then if the label is particularly tough to remove.
However, with a hot enough hairdryer and a label that is tough but not too tough, this method can work if you’re patient enough.
- Razor blade (optional)
- Olive oil
- Dish soap
- Turn the hairdryer on and set it to the highest heat setting available. Direct the hot air from the hairdryer to the label directly and from a close distance. You will need to hold the hairdryer to the label for at least 45 seconds.
- The heat from the hairdryer should make the glue holding the label to the jar dry out and turn it brittle. Once this has happened, try to peel away the label using your fingernail or a razor blade.
- If the label doesn’t peel very easily, hold the hairdryer to the label for another 45 seconds and try again.
- Once you’ve removed the label, use some olive oil and a cloth to remove any residue that is left behind. Pour some oil onto the cloth and lightly buff away the bits left behind.
- To finish, wash the jar in warm and soapy water.
To Remove Any Glue Residue
Sometimes, you may be able to remove the paper label but will still have some sticky glue residue left behind. If this is the case, then there are a couple of extra steps you can take to remove this as well.
You can use this additional method with any of the methods above if it is needed.
- Baking Soda
- Small bowl
- Scrubbing brush
- Dish soap
- Mix together the oil and baking soda in equal parts in a small bowl. They should combine to make a thin paste.
- Rub the oil and baking soda mixture onto the sticky residue and use the scrubbing brush to remove it from the jar. It should all come off with a few gentle strokes.
- Once the glue has been removed, rinse the jar clean with some soap and water.
In this article, we introduced three different methods to remove labels from jars. The methods we chose are easy to do and don’t involve any special or harsh chemicals.
They also use equipment that you are likely to have around the house. We also included a method for removing any sticky residue that is left behind after the labels have been removed.
We hope the information in this article will help you remove the labels from your jars!