Want to show off your homemade ketchup in a glass bottle, but the store-bought label is standing in your way? Or maybe you painted a special message on the bottle and now can’t get it off?
Removing labels from glass bottles can be tricky, especially if they have been painted on. But don’t worry! With just a little bit of effort and the right tools, you’ll be able to remove even the most stubborn labels very quickly.
In this article, I will show you different ways to remove painted labels, logos, or prints from glass bottles so that they look as good as new. So if you’re ready to say goodbye to those pesky stickers once and for all, let’s dive right in…
Removing Sticky Labels from Glass
You will usually see sticky labels and stickers on glass bottles of wine, beer, sauces, etc., and on mason jars for preserving jam, pickles, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, honey, etc.
Removing these stickers using warm water, dish soap, and vinegar is generally straightforward. Here’s what you need to do:
Step 1. Fill a large pot with warm water and add a few drops of apple cider vinegar and dish soap.
Step 2. Place the glass bottles into the pot and let them soak for 15-20 minutes.
Step 3. As you wait, use a non-abrasive sponge or a toothbrush to scrub the labels and peel off any pieces that have started to come off.
Step 4. Remove the bottles from the pot and rinse them with fresh water.
Step 5. Use a soft cloth to pat dry the bottles, and your work is done. You can now use these bottles for whatever you like.
Note that removing peel-and-stick labels from glass jars and bottles can be difficult if they are baked on. To tackle this, create a thick paste of citric acid and hot water mixed with enough flour, and use it to scrub the label off gently.
Removing Light Water-Based Painted Labels
Water-based painted labels are becoming an increasingly popular choice for labeling glass bottles in various industries, such as food, beverage, and pharmaceuticals.
The water-based formula of the painted labels is eco-friendly and chemical-free, which makes the label adheres well to the glass surface, preventing smudging or fading. And if you ever want to remove them, you can do it easily with some warm water and a little bit of elbow grease.
Here are the steps you need to follow if you need to remove water-based painted labels from your glass bottles:
Step 1. Start by soaking the bottles in warm water for a few minutes to loosen up the glue and make it easier to remove the label.
Step 2. Next, use a razor blade or a knife to scrape away the label gently. Be careful not to scratch the glass with the tool.
Step 3. If any stubborn pieces of glue are left behind, use a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to remove them.
Step 4. Finally, wash the bottle with warm soapy water and dry it off. Your glass bottle is now label-free and ready to be used.
Taking Off Stronger Oil-Based Prints and Labels
Oil-based paint and labels are commonly used on glass bottles of different shapes and sizes due to their durability, moisture resistance, and ability to withstand harsh conditions.
Primarily these labels are ideal for products exposed to various environments. They serve various purposes in different industries. For instance, they are used on perfume, hair care, and skincare bottles in the beauty sector, similarly on cooking oil, condiments, beer, and sauces bottles in the food and beverage industry. And also on vitamins and medication bottles in the pharmaceutical industry.
Removing these stronger labels from glass bottles, flasks, or containers, can be more challenging than removing water-based ones. You will likely need to use a harsh chemical like acetone or nail polish remover with some extra force. Since these solvents can pose a danger, take the necessary safety precautions, like wearing gloves and working in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling the fumes.
Here’s what you will exactly need to do:
Step 1. Start by soaking a cotton ball in acetone or nail polish remover.
Step 2. Apply it to the label and let it sit for a few minutes.
Step 3. Use a razor blade or a knife to remove the label. Keep from scratching the glass by using extreme caution.
Step 4. If any stubborn remnants of glue remain, dab them again with a cotton ball soaked in acetone or nail polish remover.
Step 5. Finally, wash the glass bottle with warm soapy water and allow it to dry. And your bottle is now label-free and ready to use for a new project.
Getting Off the Screen-Printed Labels from the Glass Bottles
Screen printing allows for high-quality images with vivid colors that can be applied to glass bottles, making them ideal for a range of products, including liquors. With their durable finish, screen-printed labels on decorative glass bottles can resist moisture and abrasion, ensuring the branding and information remain legible throughout the bottle’s lifecycle.
To remove these screen-printing labels, writing, or letterings from the glass bottles, you must use a robust method that involves chemicals like Star San or oxalic acid that can dissolve the ink quickly without damaging the glass.
Also, before using these chemicals, take the necessary safety precautions, as they can harm your skin and eyes. Here’s how you should get started:
Step 1. Start by mixing 1 part Star San or oxalic acid with 10 parts water in a bowl.
Step 2. Soak a rag in the mixture and apply it to the screen-printed label on the bottle.
Step 3. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then scrub at the label with a soft brush.
Step 4. Rinse your bottle well with clean water and let it air dry.
Step 5. Repeat steps 2-4 if you notice any remaining print or signs.
If you have more than one glass bottle or jar to get the logos off, you can use a pan or bucket filled with Star San solution. Soak all the bottles in the liquid solution and allow them to sit for 24-36 hours. Once you see the label has dissolved and is falling off, use a scrub brush or a scrubbing pad to scrub any remaining label away gently.
Phew! That was a lot of work. But now you know how to remove the labels from the glass at home.
So, the next time you desire to upgrade some old glass bottles, you know exactly how to get the labels off and reuse them for your next DIY project. Also, if you find some pretty glass bottles or mason jars at a flea market or garage sale, you can easily remove their labels and repurpose them into something new.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for over a decade serving customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, and Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.