The Best Way to Remove Labels from Glass Jars

Finally, an easy way to remove stubborn, sticky labels and residue from glass jars! Best of all, this method uses common household products.

It’s no secret that I hate throwing things away around here, especially if I know I can use it in a functional way for something else.  I’ve admitted to having a glass jar box in my basement that makes me feel like a bit of a hoarder, but I promise I’ve been able to give those jars a second life. (And when the box becomes overflowing because I haven’t been using them, I purge a few to the recycling bin.)

I think we all know that those labels on glass jars can be a pain to remove.  There’s always a moment of anticipation right before you start to peel: “Is it going to peel off effortlessly in one piece or am I going to need to peel, pry, and pick at this puppy?”  All too often, those labels don’t easily come off, and after trying a lot of different techniques, I’ve finally found a way to get off those labels, even the most stubborn ones.

To start, I always wash my jars in the dishwasher.  It obviously cleans the jars, and removes odors from the lids.  Sometimes, if I’m really lucky, it helps to loosen up the label, too, but let’s be honest, that’s not very common.

Finally, an easy way to remove stubborn, sticky labels and residue from glass jars!

Here are the types of labels I started with after they were washed in the dishwasher, and I tried to peel them off with the hope they’d come off easily.  The one of the left is one of those where part of the label comes off easily, but leaves behind a lot of sticky glue and parts of the paper.  The middle jar’s label is one that you can sort of scratch off with your fingernail, but it leaves behind all the glue, and, no one has time to pick the label apart piece by piece with their nail.  The one on the right is STUCK.  It’s not going anywhere without some magic.

Finally, an easy way to remove stubborn, sticky labels and residue from glass jars! Best of all, this method uses common household products.

Click on the image below to read about my process for getting these jars label-free!

29 thoughts on “The Best Way to Remove Labels from Glass Jars

  1. I LOVE GLASS JARS. Ha! I also feel like a hoarder with them, but they always get used. Can’t wait to try this !!! Thank you !!!!

  2. There are so many things you can do with glass jars or glass bottles. I love to reuse things and bring them new life. Great tips on how to remove the labels, thanks for sharing!

  3. You can use canning glasses(since they match) to put your flower,sugar beans ,rice, it.Thwy look neat in the cubord and are colorful to boot

  4. Thanks for the tip and your cute projects. I’m going to try some for sure. Just to add, the simplest way I’ve found to remove labels is to stick the jar in the dishwasher. In the morning usually the label falls off. If not then cover with wet hot cloth in the sink for a bit. That should do it. If there’s goop on it I dry then spray with furniture polish. Then take a paring knife, and, minding not to cut myself, scrape the goop and spray off. Wash in soapy water and done.
    Dish soap like Dawn seems to work great preparing jars for painting too. Cuts any grease.

    Everybody has their methods and it’s great to share. Glad I found your site.

  5. I’m with you on the glass jars! Physical pain, here, honest, when I consider throwing them in the recycling bin. Regards the gluey residue? Any oil will work! Thanks for all the great ideas and for the camaraderie on the love of glass.

  6. The Mr. Clean or white sponges from the dollar store work good. If really tough I use with Bon Ami or Cream of Tarter. Also Goo Gone. I usually soak in bowl first , overnight. Peel as much as you can and then use sponge. I too love jars, the fatter the better. My new thing is to put paint in them so I can see the color easier. Make sure it seals tight. Baby food jars are good for screws, nails, hooks. Easier to organize and will save from rust. And now that Bulk Food stores are popping up again it is fun to put nuts, beans, flour, etc in the jars.

  7. I was just reading an article about washing things in the dishwasher. It said not to put jars with paper labels in the dishwasher because bits and pieces come off and plug the drain. I don’t think it’s worth taking the chance. I imagine it would be very expensive to fix!

  8. If I ever do get to that point of tossing out a few glass jars, I make sure to save the lids anyway. Nothing like a great jar minus a lid, and they take up so little room you can afford to stash them. My daughter also saves jars, much to my son in laws dismay. He was going to do some cleaning out of the overflow and I told him, at least save all the lids!

    1. Haha, too funny! My husband is not the biggest fan of my glass jar stash either. Every once in awhile I get rid of some that I haven’t used, because if not it will overflow!

  9. Hi clean the bottle/jar insides well. Then I fill them pass the label with the hottest water from the faucet or from a kettle if your faucet water isn’t real hot. Let set. Before it cools off peal the label off. The glue on the jar will melt and the label will peel off complete in one piece. I use other already mentioned ways to get the gunk residue off.

  10. You can use rubbing alcohol to get the residue off. It’s a lot cheaper and leaves no film behind like the goo gone does. Also smells better than Google Gone or WD40. I use an old cloth, pour some alcohol on it, wipe over the residue, let stand for a few minutes and then wipe of. You might have to apply the alcohol a couple of times es and use a little “elbow grease”. Then rinse and dry.

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