How to remove sticky labels

Remove sticky labels

One of my hobbies is to preserve vegetables, fruits or food. The reasons why I love preserving, is that you know all ingredients, you don’t need to throw food away and especially if you own a garden with fruits and vegetables, it is more reasonable than buying jam and pickles in the supermarket. As it is my goal to reduce rubbish, most of my mason jars are used multiple times. I guess everybody who reuses mason jars knows how horrible it is to remove sticky labels.

Sometimes to remove sticky labels off the jars is really easy and sometimes it is really annoying. One reason for that is the quality of the labels. High quality labels which are also easy to remove are much more expensive for the producer then the cheap extreme adhesive ones. The good thing is all used kinds of glue can usually be separated into four categories:

  • water-soluble glue
  • heat-soluble glue
  • alcohol-soluble glue
  • oil-soluble glue


Unfortunately, if you are no chemist with the right equipment, there is no possibility to identify the kind of glue in advance. The only way is try and error. However, after some time you will know which producer uses which kind of glue. For the beginning, the best practise is to try it in that order:


Remove water-soluble sticky labels

Water-souble sticky labels are the easiest ones to remove off your jars. Often those labels are gone by themselves after the dishwasher. But take care, if there are too many jars in the dishwasher the labels could clog the drain. If you have no dishwasher, put them into a bowl of hot water and wait for 10 minutes. Afterwards your can peel the labels easily off. In case you are not able to remove the labels, go on with the next step.


Remove heat-soluble sticky labels

Grab your hair dryer and blow at the sticky label for around 20 seconds. After that you can try to peel the label off. However if you don’t see any change in the labels‘ adhesive power you can go on with the next step.


Remove alcohol-soluble Stickers

The most suitable is rubbing alcohol. But any Vodka or other high percentage alcoholic beverage would do just fine. Pour some alcohol on a kitchen towel and rub over the label until the glue is dissolving.


Remove oil-soluble sticky labels

If everything else failed you can try oil. You can use every kind of edible oil. Pour one tablespoon of oil on a kitchen towel and wipe it over the label until its completely saturated with it. Afterwards you should be able to remove the labels.


If you have more tricks to remove sticky labels, please let me know.

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