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How to Remove Sticky-Gooey-Icky Adhesive Labels

Reusable jar with new label
Reusable jar with new label | Source

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 stuck everywhere. I will 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.

Another point to mention, always check there will be no change in the color of your jar, or other glass item by applying some of your chosen remover to a hidden spot before using. 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.

Use water to soak
Use water to soak | Source

Removing adhesive from glass

Perhaps you have 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 are 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. This will be a blotting technique, don't 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.

Baby oil

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. It will loosen the glue and simply come away. It may be helpful to dab and leave for a few minutes. then return.

Often we can get overaggressive when trying to remove a label. Remove some of the 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, it will be slippery. Wash in warm soapy water.

Use Mayo 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.

WD40

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.

Using vinegar to remove a label

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

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.

manicure
manicure | Source

Nail polish remover to remove labels

If there are women in your house, 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.


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Comments 20 comments

flashmakeit profile image

flashmakeit 4 years ago from usa

Useful and unusual tips for removing adhesive.


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 4 years ago from Brazil Author

Hello flashmakeit,

I am pleased to know that it will come in useful for you.

Always a pleasure to hear from you.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I should have known that WD40 would work! LOL It does everything else we need it to do. Great information my friend; I learned quite a bit in this hub.


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 4 years ago from Brazil Author

Hello Bill,

Yes, good 'ol WD-40. You know I can even buy it here in Brazil.

Glad you found the hub useful.

Have a great evening.


Imogen French profile image

Imogen French 4 years ago from Southwest England

Some good tips here, this is something I have struggled with many a time when recycling jars for home made jams and pickles. One thing I have found that works is white spirit (the stuff you clean your paint brushes with), although it does smell rather strong, so the jars need a very good wash with hot soapy water afterwards.


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 4 years ago from Brazil Author

Hello Imogen,

That is a great tip. If you have written hubs for your jams and pickles, I would love to read them. Here in Brazil, those are two of the things I miss. Also pork pies, Branston, and Marmite!


tiffany delite profile image

tiffany delite 4 years ago from united states

thanks for this hub! i have tried to remove labels before, and i usually just end up soaking the hell out of them and then using an abrasive sponge to get the rest off. i may have to try one of these methods and see if it is any easier! blessings!


btrbell profile image

btrbell 4 years ago from Mesa, AZ

great and useful tips! Thank you! up+


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 4 years ago from Brazil Author

Hello Tiffany,

Yes, we all have done just that. Inspiration came to me when I was sitting on the bathroom floor with my rubbing alcohol and cotton balls. I thought, "I have to write a hub about this!"

Thanks for stopping by.


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 4 years ago from Brazil Author

Hello Btrbell,

I am pleased you found the ideas helpful. Always a pleasure to hear from you.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I have all of these at home and will have to keep this in mind the next time I struggle with a sticky label. I do use WD40 for many household squeaks, but haven't thought of using it for this purpose. Thanks!


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 4 years ago from Brazil Author

Hello Teaches12345,

A can of WD-40 has so many uses. Especially in humid areas such as Florida in the summer. They should change the name to "Miracle in a Spray" or "Can-do".

Thanks for taking the time to comment, have a great day.


Lipnancy profile image

Lipnancy 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

Thanks, I never knew that there was any way to remove labels.


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 4 years ago from Brazil Author

Hello Lipnancy,

If only I had known this all those years ago. The worn thumbnails are testimony to too much scraping.

Great to hear from you.


kitkat1141 profile image

kitkat1141 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Some great advice. Will definitely keep this info handy. Thanks!


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 4 years ago from Brazil Author

Hello kitkat1141,

Glad to know it was useful. I am sure glue technology has improved over the years. Or it could be my patience is less. :)

Thank you for taking the time to comment.

Have a great day.


letmetellyou profile image

letmetellyou 3 years ago from everywhere

The choices you have listed here for removing labels from a jar will surely be helpful to many but my favorite is the nail polish remover. Somehow oil is just too oily, lol, i have enough of that in my kitchen. Thanks for sharing this, I may consider adding it to my kitchen labels lens (http://www.squidoo.com/kitchen-labels) over at squidoo or my 'jar label' blog.


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 3 years ago from Brazil Author

Hello Letmetellyou,

I too write on Squidoo and would always appreciate a mention and a backlink.

Thanks


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Great ideas for removing that troublesome residue from labels on jars. I often reuse jars for storing small items. You're right about trying different methods on different types of labels. Sometimes it is a combination that gets the glue off.


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 2 years ago from Brazil Author

I couldn't agree more. I sat on my bathroom floor with products all around me trying to remove labels from a bathroom sink we were installing. I wonder if those that produce the adhesives realize the problems they make for the end user?

Thanks for reading and commenting.

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