OK, not exactly a food question. I want to reuse a beautiful bottle that had a sparkling drink in it. It's the kind of bottle with a hermetic closure. It has several labels on it that won't come off. I've tried boiling water, soaking for hours, and using sticky tapes to try to get the labels off but I haven't gotten even a tiny peel. Any ideas for removing very adhesive labels?

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13 Comments

zieker February 5, 2011
OK, I'm going to consolidate info here. Citrus Oil, Goo Gone, Bestine and Acetone all work on different types of adhesives. In my experience, WD-40 works the best in removing any type of adhesive. — Since I "re-purpose" all sorts of bottles, here's what I've done that works:

PAPER LABELS:
1. Soak in HOT, soapy water overnight to loosen the label. If it has any foil stamping or is particularly stubborn, score it carefully with a razor blade AFTER soaking when the label is soft and wet. Soak again in fresh hot soapy water. (Note: scoring a dry label can be difficult and scratch the glass)
2. If it doesn't come off completely, but the top layer of paper does, scrape off what you can using your fingernails. Let dry.
3. Spray/saturate with WD-40 and wipe or scrape with a dull table knife (razors get too slick to handle safely, trust me on this!) until you're down to the adhesive. From there WD-40 will remove what's left.

PLASTIC LABELS:
1. Soak in HOT soapy water to soften the adhesive.
2. Very carefully, peel up one corner of the label. (You may have to do this and then soak some more)
3. Once you've got enough peeled to get a good grip on it, under hot running water, very slowly peel the label back.
4. If it leaves any adhesive behind, use WD-40 to remove.

If the bottle has been enameled (the printing is on the bottle - think liquor bottles) you will NOT be able to remove it.

IMPORTANT!!! When using any solvent, use in a well ventilated area, away from kids and pets!! AND, thoroughly wash your hands after using.

Whatever method you use, thoroughly wash the bottle (and/or sterilize it) before using it for anything.
 
Pat E. February 5, 2011
Citus oil, goo gone, dissolve it all work great. Don't mix them with water or use on wet lables... and use a razor to score the face of the lables so the oil can penetrate to to glue underneath. Then wait and use a razor to scrape off. You may need several applications but this works every time.
 
zieker February 5, 2011
W-D 40 removes road tar from your car, so give it a shot. I've used it to take off the sticky smears and residues that are left behind after trying to take off rubber adhesives with acetone or Bestine. Worth a shot if you have some handy. — Also, if it's one of those clear labels, like on candles and some wine bottles, run it under really hot water and get a corner peeled up then slowly - with the water running on the area you're peeling away - continue to peel the label off.

Is it a paper or plastic label?
 
zieker February 5, 2011
W-D 40 removes road tar from your car, so give it a shot. I've used it to take off the sticky smears and residues that are left behind after trying to take off rubber adhesives with acetone or Bestine. Worth a shot if you have some handy. — Also, if it's one of those clear labels, like on candles and some wine bottles, run it under really hot water and get a corner peeled up then slowly - with the water running on the area you're peeling away - continue to peel the label off.

Is it a paper or plastic label?
 
spiffypaws February 4, 2011
Rubbing alcohol also works.
 
innoabrd February 4, 2011
I'd try acetone. Great solvent we used to use for just about everything. Not great stuff, but much better to work with than lighter fluid!
 
latoscana February 3, 2011
Thanks, everyone, I will try these suggestions.
 
mrslarkin February 3, 2011
If it's a flat bottle, razor blade might get it to budge. I've used my stainless steel appliance cleaner to remove labels in the past. It works.
 
prettyPeas February 3, 2011
I always use citrus-based solvents (Goo Gone or Citra Solv) for these sticky situations (or oily laundry!!) because they generally work and don't have nasty fumes (my nose is a bit sensitive). I usually scrub off as much of the label as I can after a hot, soapy soak. Most adhesives come off with the citrus oil after this, but there are some stubborn ones, for which I wrap a citrus solvent soaked paper towel around the label and leave for a while, then scrape the goo off.
 
Sadassa_Ulna February 3, 2011
Lighter fluid removes adhesives very well, nasty stuff so it requires ventilation, but we keep a bottle for adhesive removing... (although citrus based solvents probably smells good)
 
amysarah February 3, 2011
Citrus oil solvents are definitely worth a try. It really depends on the type of adhesive. Another solvent that's a common household item is nail polish remover (acetone.) Bestine will work if it's a rubber based glue - available at any art or crafts store. (Use in a ventilated area - the fumes are nasty.)
 
susan G. February 3, 2011
Goo gone has a citrus oil base -- or cover it with your own label.
 
Greenstuff February 3, 2011
In your kind of pickle, I've had a lot of luck using citrus oil based solvents. Good luck.
 
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