Get containers clean & ready for new products with these label-removal tips
Need to know how to remove a label from a plastic bottle or an old liquor bottle you love? We’ve all tried at one time or another to remove a label or sticker from a unique jar or tin or plastic bottle we want to reuse. Often we end up throwing the container away after being unable to get rid of the label and all the sticky residue.
Now, multiply that frustration 100 times for the business owner trying to remove stickers from a shipment of glass jars they just received. Or an artisan crafter trying to remove old labels from antique apothecary jars they want to reuse. We feel your pain. So to help you out, we’ve put together six ways how to remove labels and stickers from plastic, glass, metal, and more.
Always make sure to test a small area of your container before using one of the removal options below. Some jars, tins, or plastic containers can be damaged by scrubbing, scraping, heat, or chemicals.
How to remove a label from a plastic bottle
If you need to know how to get a label off plastic, some of the steps below need to be tested before use. Chemicals like acetone and nail polish removers can sometimes remove the color from plastic products, so make sure and test an area before soaking or applying. Heat can melt plastic and sharp tools can scratch. If you want to see how to remove labels from plastic containers, we recommend trying steps 3-5.
1. Nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol
Soak a rag, paper towel, or cotton ball in rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, lighter fluid, or yes, even cheap vodka. Let it sit on the face of the labels for at least 15 minutes for an easy way to remove labels. Once you see the alcohol has soaked into the label you can begin to peel it back and remove it from the container. Use a sponge dipped in alcohol to remove any adhesive left on the container.
Rubbing alcohol is not as strong as nail polish remover, so try nail polish remover or acetone to remove stubborn label adhesive.
Turn your hairdryer on to high heat and run it back and forth over the label face for 30 seconds to melt the label glue. If the label doesn’t peel off, continue heating at 30-second intervals until you can remove the label. Use a wet, soapy sponge to remove any leftover glue. This method doesn’t always work on extra-strong label adhesives.
This is a great method for removing labels from glass jars with paper labels. It is not recommended for plastic containers, as they might melt from the heat of the hairdryer.
3. Label removal products
When you need to know how to remove stickers from plastic, we can help. For really tough label residue, especially on plastic containers, you may need to resort to removal products like Goo Gone Sticker Lifter or Turtle Wax Label & Sticker Remover.
Simply apply the product with a rag or paper towel and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then peel the label from the corner or use a scraper to remove the remainder. Make sure to clean your container with soap and water before reusing it for your product.
4. White vinegar
Use a shallow container large enough to hold your jars. Fill your container with enough white vinegar to cover the entire label face and let them soak for 15 minutes or longer. Heating up the vinegar in the microwave or on the stove can help with tough labels. Carefully remove the jar and peel away the label. If they’ve soaked long enough, your label should remove easily. Otherwise, let them soak a bit longer. Paper labels often tear into pieces when you try to remove them so dip a sponge in the vinegar and rub the label to remove any pieces. This is an ideal method for most glass and metal containers.
Basic water is still a great way to remove stickers and labels. Simply submerge your items in a tub or sink full of hot water, the hotter the better. Just be careful to not burn yourself. For extra-durable labels, try mixing in some dish soap or laundry detergent. Let your container soak for at least an hour or overnight for extra stubborn label glue. Once the labels have soaked enough you should be able to easily peel off the label. Use a wet sponge to remove any adhesive residue.
This method is the easiest way to remove labels from things like glass jars. Just let them soak and go and get other things done while you wait.
6. Razor blades
While they’re not an ideal way to remove labels if you have a lot of containers to do, they do work. Hold an X-Acto® knife or a single-edge razor blade at an angle, carefully ease it under the edge of the label and push until a section is removed. Once you get the corner up, you can peel away the label. Occasionally your label will come off in sections. Just repeat the process until it’s all removed. It’s not recommended to use razor blades on surfaces that scratch like tin canisters and plastic. Test a small area before using this method.
If you want to make sure no one has the same problem removing labels from your product that you did, check out all the removable labels available from Avery.
If you need to know how to remove labels from plastic containers, or you need any help with other label-related questions, please reach out to our California-based Customer Care Team at (800) 942-8379. They’ll be happy to help you with any label questions you might have.