Tips for Removing Bottle Labels

Removing labels from bottles before fusing is always a chore! I’ve found one way to make it somewhat easier is to do the bottles in batches.

Start with a bunch of bottles, this is just part of my stash:

Bottles for fusing
Bottles ready to be processed

I prefer to cut the bottles before I take the label off because they have to be washed after cutting anyway, so it seems silly to wash them twice if I don’t have to.

Bottle Bottoms and Donuts
Cut Bottle Bottoms and Donuts

The bottle bottoms and donuts go straight into a bucket of soapy water as I cut them.  If you let the saw residue set up on them, it is very difficult to scrub off later.

The shoulder of the bottle gets sorted with other bottles and smashed and tumbled to create sea glass.

Cut bottle necks for tumbling
Bottle Necks
Tumbled Glass
Tumbled Glass

Which leaves the body of the bottle, with the labels.

Cut Bottles
Cut Bottles

These go into buckets of hot water with dishsoap.  I’ve had lots of recommendations for Oxyclean, so I’m trying that now.  Vinegar is also a good additive, it will help remove the saw residue.

Soaking Bottle Labels
Soaking Bottles

Once the labels are soft, I scrape them off with a safety razor.  It’s not always comfortable to hold a small razor blade for long periods of time, so I have some holders.  There are different styles available at any hardware store.

Razor blades for scraping labels
Razor blades for scraping labels

Once the label is scraped off, I rinse the bottles in a bucket of clean water and they are ready to go to the studio for fusing, or for making flat glass sheets for later fusing projects.

Label Free Bottles
Label Free Bottles

I’ve been requesting tips from readers for the last few weeks and am happy to share the entire list with you.


 

I am an art teacher & my favorite bottle removal tool is a metal kidney shaped scraper normally used to control shape when throwing clay on a wheel. It’s very thin & flexible & so after I soak bottles in water (overnight usually) I can scrape most labels off bottles fairly easily & even scrape off most of the glue. Hope that helps! Anne R.-P.
**I couldn’t find my stainless steel scraper that Anne describes, I did find a hard rubber finishing tool for ceramics, and it worked very well!  Jodi**
rubberscraper
I have several ways to remove labels.  I pour boiling water in the bottle and let it sit for 20 or so.  Thick labels will slide off.  If they don’t I put them with the water still in them In a small tub of very hot water.  Sometimes they float off.  If they have a paper like label, I fill a small tub with hot water, dish soap, and oxyclean and let the bottle soak.  Sometimes I still will have to scrape some of the label. – Syl F.
Hello, I soak the bottles in a bucket of water for an hour or so, then peel the paper off with my hands and scrape clean with a small paring knife. Finally, I use some Goo Gone on a paper towel to wipe off the glue residue. For clear plastic labels or foil ones, I just peel off with my fingers and clean with Goo Gone.  Joy K.

My husband is a home brewer, so he’s always looking for bottles and needing to remove labels.  His favorite method is to soak them overnight in a solution of Oxi-Clean and water, then scrape the label and glue off with a razor blade.  It comes right off!  Julie

Charcoal Lighter fluid works like a charm!!  Lisa H.
 When soaking w warm soapy water doesn’t work or still leaves residue, I often use a liquid called ‘goo gone’ (citrus based remover) or ‘goop gone’ (petroleum based liquid).  Both work great for seriously difficult sticky glues.And… I also use steel wool, or a knife to rub off crud… LOVE all the info you share!   Thank you so much. Flavia
I slump champagne bottles and the labels are difficult to remove. I mentioned this to someone and he is a motor cycle enthusiast. He recommended using Muc-Off Chain cleaner see www.muc-off.com.  Hannah

Hi from Sweden, Jodi!
By label removal, do you refer to e.g. price tag stickers? If so, peanut butter, or any other fat for that matter, is great. If you take peanut butter that is somewhere between smooth/creamy and chunky, you have a little abrasion that will not damage the surface. Soften the label with water (and, if you feel like it, a few drops of white vinegar) and start rubbing the label with the peanut butter until the able dissolves. The glue from the label will change/dissolve because of the fatty peanut butter.

Toothpaste alone or in combination with any fat household oil such as olive- or canola oil has the same effect, but the toothpaste wants to float on the oil. – Aza

Best way to remove gummy labels like Bombay Gin is bottles on the oven at 250* for about half an hour. They come right off, and a little goo gone and you’re all set. If you leave the bottles in the oven a long long time, the glue actually dries up! – Suzi

Some bottle labels will soak off easily in a bucket w/ vinegar and baking soda in it.
Sometimes I just leave them sitting for a few days. If the label is metallic or has a stronger adhesive, I take a knife or a razor blade and score the label quite a few times in various directions, this allows the above solution to get under the label and work on the adhesive. Again, soak for a day or several days. If the label is softened but still sticking, I scrape w/ a razor blade in a holder, then once dry if adhesive remains I spray it w/ WD40.  Let sit for a  bit, then I can usually get the remaining adhesive off w/ paper towels, or the ever favorite razor blade. If I have to use the WD40 ( cheap generic stuff will work), then give the bottle a good wash w/ hot water and dish soap. -SAMantha

I do a lot of bottle slumping and the best method I have found to remove labels is to put dish soap in the sink and fill it with hot water. While it is filling fill the bottles with hot water also. Let them sit for about 30 minutes. If they don’t fall off, use a safety razor blade to scrape them off, then use a green, scotch pad to get the glue off. For the really stubborn, really sticky glue, put some oil (I use olive oil) on the glue and let it sit. Then use an aluminum scrubby. This has worked for me for several years.  Luann B.

 

Save

Save


If you submitted a tip and it isn’t listed here, my apologies, I may have overlooked your email in the high volume of messages received!

Search Tutorials

FREE shipping on U.S. orders over $200