How to Remove Labels from Glass Jars

Seriously, is there anything vinegar can't clean?

Glass jars from pasta sauces, aromatics and preserves make free, durable containers for all around the house. Want to store dry ingredients? Simple! Pot a little plant? Of course! As versatile as they are cute, glass jars are the ultimate storage staple.

But in order to reuse them, it’s necessary to remove their labels, which undercut both aesthetic appeal and sanitary standards. Sometimes, label adhesive can be particularly sticky though, which is why TikTok DIYer and food creator Nicole Keshishian Modic (@kalejunkie) is back with some label removal wizardry for us all to implement.

@kalejunkie How to remove labels and that sticky glue from your glass jars so you can reuse them! #sustainability #nowaste #kitchenhacks #upcycling ♬ original sound – Nicole Modic, JD

How to Remove Labels from Glass Jars

To get started, you’ll need a few basic pieces of kitchen equipment, as well as classic non-toxic cleaning staples you likely already have in your pantry.

Tools

  • Large stock pot
  • Long-handled heat kitchen utensils (such as metal tongs)
  • Scrub brush

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place your glass jars in the stock pot, without their lids.
  2. Add approximately 2 cups of white vinegar to the pot, as well as a generous squeeze of dish soap.
  3. Fill the stock pot with water until all the glass jars are covered.
  4. Bring the vinegar-soap mixture to a boil over high heat.
  5. Once boiling, turn the heat off and let the jars sit in the hot vinegar-soap mixture for 20 minutes.
  6. Using the kitchen utensil, carefully extract the jars—they may be hot. The labels should peel right off.
  7. If there appears to be any glue residue left on the jars, scrub it off using a scrub brush and the vinegar-soap mixture.

How to Remove Super Heavy-Duty Glue

According to Nicole, the above method should work on “99% of jars.” However, some are treated with an intense glue mixture that still may not respond to the vinegar-soap mixture. For those pesky jars, try this special treatment.

Tools

  • Medium-sized bowl
  • Spoon
  • Scrub brush

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. In the bowl, add approximately equal parts of the oil and baking soda.
  2. Stir together until a loose paste forms.
  3. Spoon the paste over the glue on the jars, and rub it in with your hands.
  4. Let rest for 20 minutes.
  5. Scrub the oil-baking soda mixture off with the scrub brush, and rinse in cold water.

Putting Those Clean Jars to Use

Now that your collection of glass jars is rid of all that icky glue, let’s talk about using them throughout your house. Beyond the storage hacks provided earlier, there are numerous other eco-friendly ways to make the most of your jars.

Consider taking them grocery shopping with you to purchase bulk ingredients without plastic. Or, make a simple but heartfelt gift for a friend without all that packing material. To fully embrace reusing the jars, also be sure to check out some classic Mason jar accessories, which can make them even more functional.

Remember: each repurposed jar isn’t just a buck saved for you; it’s also saving our oceans from dangerous plastics. So, keep calm and recycle on, Planeteers!

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Van Van Cleave
Van Van Cleave (they/them) is a writer and artist working out of Oakland, CA. The youngest in a long line of DIYers and creatives, Van fancies themself an encyclopedia of practicable knowledge for better living. They are passionate about all things food, home, garden, and lifestyle. If you've ever dreamed of befriending the Fab Five, Van gets you, and may just be the next best thing.