Learn the simple trick to remove labels from jars using a common ingredient you already have on hand! Ready in minutes, cheaper than buying new jars! Consider reusing your jars to stock your real food pantry!
Do you have any empty bottles and jars from grocery stores in your house?
You know, the jars ones that you’ve emptied and washed, secretly hoping the dishwasher would get rid of the paper label and the sticky residue for you, but it didn’t, so you reuse it anyway and hope the dishwasher will remove the label the next time it’s washed?
Yeah, that’s about how it works in my house, lol. I used to have lots. LOTS. But… they’re gone. Vamanos. Vamoose. Nada. Elvis has left the building!
I found a magic potion that will remove labels and glue residue from jars. And guess what! You probably already have some of this potion under your bathroom sink.
It’s called rubbing alcohol.
Who knew, right? You know how white vinegar has a bazillion uses? I’d venture to say that rubbing alcohol has quite a few too. I’ve only tried two so far, but both worked well so I’m sure there’s more!
Once I took off one label, I had to take off more. When I say “more,” I really mean all of them.
It’s kind of addicting. 🙂 But aren’t they beautiful?! With the labels gone, I can finally see the jams, salsa, spaghetti sauce, strawberry puree, freshly drained coconut water, homemade vinaigrette, pizza sauce, soup, vanilla chips, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, sunflower seeds, pepitas and specialty flours that I keep in there. Their food storage capabilities are endless! And I haven’t even touched the surface of crafting potential!
How to Remove Labels from Jars
- Pour rubbing alcohol into a wide yet shallow container and set your ugly jars with the label facing downward. Soak the jars for 5-10 minutes (or even longer, like during nap time or during dinner, etc.)
- Take out the jar and the label should wipe right off.
- If it’s a stubborn label (like some of the Smucker’s jams), put it back in the alcohol and let it sit for an hour (or while you’re doing something else) and try to remove it again.
- If it’s an extra stubborn label, (like Trader Joe’s coconut oil… ahem), let it soak and use a stiff brush (I used a grill brush) to help you remove the residue. I’ve used a wooden spoon too when my grill brush went MIA and that worked well. A couple drops of lemon essential oil works well too.
- If any goo remains after you’ve peeled off the label, use a scrubbing sponge to scrub it off. Dipping the sponge into rubbing alcohol makes it practically dissolve on contact.
- Place jars in the dishwasher and run a cycle (with your other dishes is fine).
Every label is different – some absorb the alcohol and the glue is loosened without actually being in the alcohol. Other labels refuse to let go of the jar unless every single portion of the label has had a chance to bathe in the alcohol. I guess even jars have their own personality!
As I kinda mentioned, we keep our jars to store leftovers in since glass is non-toxic and it’s reusing items we already have – which in the long run, means saving money!
Why should I remove labels and reuse jars?
Well, plain and simple it helps reduce waste. Reusing a jar is a pretty straightforward way to keep it out of the trash. Removing the labels means you can easily see what is inside of the reused jars.
I use glass jars for homemade chicken stock, leftover soup, and even around the house for homemade beauty products. Use this guide to learn how you can freeze food in jars without breaking them.