Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Removing Labels from Glass Jars

I keep an eye out on Craigslist for mason jars, but they get snatched up before I can get to them. Since I'm not going to spend money on new ones, I have started hanging on to our empty food jars. I don't use all of them. Sometimes I don't care for the size/shape, or I am too lazy to really scrub the food bits off. I had amassed a few, so I decided it was time to actually do something with them.

I started with a variety of jars, some honey, brown rice syrup, jelly, salsa, even an empty extract bottle.

I tried two different methods for stripping the labels. One was boiling, soapy water. The other, straight vinegar in a bucket. I had heard of vinegar, and the soapy water one came from Mochatini via Pinterest. I tried a couple of different tools to scrape the labels off, but ultimately decided on a small putty knife. It worked best for both methods.

The vinegar was not my favorite method. It takes a good amount to immerse the entire label. It is wasteful, smelly, and not that successful. Plus, it takes a lot longer. I had to let it sit for several hours before I could scrape the labels off. It also seemed to work better on one label than the other. The small, brown bottle below scraped right off. The other bottle left residue behind. I  had to use a little more elbow grease to scrape it and some Goo Gone.


The boiling water went much faster, and I got better results. I recommend this method. Fill a large pot with water and a drop of soap. Let it come to a rolling boil. Gently add your glass. Wait...I know how hard it is. Trust me though, jumping the gun will only frustrate you. So wait. Once the labels start to just float off on their own, you can get to work. They should come right off with almost no effort. Just remember you are working with boiling water, so everything is H-O-T HOT! If you do happen to have any residue left, a little Goo Gone does the trick.


One more thing, don't remove the labels before hand. I know it is tempting to strip things down in the hopes of a faster result or easier effort. Sadly, it doesn't work out that way. I had peeled the label off of one jar (the first pic below). It came out of the pot about like it went in. It took a lot of scraping and Goo Gone to get all the gunk off. On the other hand, all of the jars that went in with the full label intact practically cleaned themselves (the second pic below). Like I said, the labels start to float right off on their own.

 Have fun making lots of fun things from your shiny new craft bottles! They make cute vases, storage jars for other foods or crafts, gift jars, the list is endless!

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