How to Remove Sticky-Gooey-Icky Adhesive Labels
Sticky Labels and How to Remove Them
We all have struggled with it, that horrible gooey residue that is left when you try to remove a label. I recently installed a new sink and have never seen so many labels, they were stuck everywhere. I want to pass on some of the methods I used to rid the glue that is left behind when you remove an adhesive label be from glass or ceramic.
Some methods you may have used before, and others may be new to you. What works well on one item may not be suited to another. Experiment with what you already have at home before going out to purchase an over-priced cleaner.
Always check for a change of color to your jar, or other glass items by applying a small amount of the remover to a hidden spot, before using where it will show. If you are using the method below demonstrated in the video, check that your item can withstand boiling water. If you aren't sure, opted for a different method.
Removing a label from a jar or bottle to reuse the bottle, as they have in the picture above is a great idea. These are perfect for giving gifts, or for making your own pickles, chutneys, or jams.
Removing Adhesive From Glass
Perhaps you've bought a vase or pitcher and there are sticky labels on it. These obviously need to be removed before you can use it. For this type of item, try soaking it in warm water to start with. This will loosen the glue and the paper. Don't be too quick to take it out and start scraping with your fingernail. Let the warmth and the water work. If you're lucky, the label will float off. If this is the case, you will be left with very little residue on your glass item.
Sometimes it isn't possible to soak an object in a sink or bucket of water. For example, a window or large mirror, these will need to have water sponged onto them. You'll want to use a blotting technique and not scrub, this will just roll the wet paper off and leave you with glue smeared everywhere.
If the label is on a jar which came with a vacuum style lid, you can pour boiling water into the jar. The glue will melt as the glass heats up. The label will then easily come off.
Using Baby Oil to Remove Glue
If you have baby oil, this will work wonders. In fact, many of the items I am listing today are oiled based. I prefer to use a cotton ball to apply it. I find it is still better to remove most of the label with warm water first, then go in with the baby oil on a cotton ball to remove the glue. The oil will loosen the glue and it will simply come away. It may be helpful to dab the oil on, leave for a few minutes and then return and wipe.
Often we can get overly aggressive when trying to remove a label. Remember, some glass is thin and as such you don't want to be exerting undue pressure.
For the baby oil and other oil-based items, I am suggesting, be careful when you pick up your newly cleaned object because the oil will have made it slippery. Wash in warm soapy water.
Use Mayonnaise to Remove Labels
Mayonnaise isn't just for your tuna sandwich! It is great for removing labels as well. As before, soaking the label before will aid in the removal. If you don't have time, or the inclination to soak it, apply a generous dollop of mayo. If the article is vertical this could prove difficult. If it is not possible to lay the item down, use the mayo sparingly, you don't want to be cleaning mayo stains from your carpet. Gently dab on with a paper towel and leave for 5-10 minutes. If you've ever made your own mayonnaise, you will know it is mostly oil, and this is why it works.
WD40 Lubricant Spray
Who doesn't have a can of this in their house? Okay perhaps the skinny straw has gone missing but that doesn't matter. If you have a can of WD-40 you can solve so many problems. I was once told,
"There are only two things you need in life! A can of WD-40 and duct tape. If it moves and it shouldn't use the duct tape, if it should move and doesn't use WD-40"
Spray the WD-40 on the label and leave for the required time, 10 minutes or so. Then continue as with the other methods of gently wiping away the glue residue.
Using Vinegar on Sticky Labels
This is different than the above products that are oil based. Vinegar, as you may remember from your chemistry class is an acid. This will burn the adhesive away. The smell isn't pleasant but it will do the trick. Again, I would use either a paper towel or cotton ball to apply. Use only clear vinegar, red wine vinegar could leave a mark.
Rubbing Alcohol, Isopropyl Alcohol, Surgical Spirit
This will melt the adhesive and with a bit of elbow grease you will roll that adhesive into little patches and can easily pick them off. This is always easy to use on a cotton ball. It does evaporate quickly so you may find you need to keep reapplying.
This can be purchased in a drug store. In the UK surgical spirit can be used. It may also be called isopropyl alcohol.
Nail Polish Remover to Melt Glue
If there are women in your house, it's likely you have a bottle of nail polish remover somewhere. This is so strong it is used to remove artificial nails. It literally melts them, and it can do the same for your sticky troublesome labels as well.
Like rubbing alcohol, this is quick to evaporate so you may use more than you think. Best applied with a cotton ball or cotton pad. Some are quite pungent and are best used in a room which is well ventilated or outside.
© 2012 Mary Wickison