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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I wanted this to be as effortless as was promised

Getting labels and their adhesives, off of glass jars with baking soda and vegetable oil

After I soak and peel the label off of jars, I'm left with that white adhesive on the glass jar. I can scrub and scrub, or I can try a short-cut.

There are commercial solvents on the market to remove labels and stickers. But if you don't happen to have any, or you wish to use something totally harmless, and that you have in your pantry right now, this may work for you.

Using a paste of baking soda and veg oil has worked on a couple of jars, but not on all of them. This was one of the stubborn labels, on a jar of peanut butter.

I peeled as much of the label off, as possible.

Then I spread a mixture of 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, generously onto the remaining label.

As advised, I let it sit for about 30 minutes.

I used a clean, dry, rough rag to rub the label off. Not much came off, so I used a table knife to scrape the rest of the paper off. But it left the adhesive residue.

So, again I generously wiped the paste onto the jar and allowed it to sit.

When I came back, I used the same, dry, rough rag to wipe the adhesive off. I will say, almost all of it came off. I had to rub vigorously in places.

Then I washed with soapy water, dried with a towel and it did come pretty clean.

It just wasn't nearly as effortless as the other jars I had cleaned. So, just one of those things that sometimes works very well, and sometimes you have to put extra effort into it to get it to work.

Overall, I did much, much less scrubbing than just with soapy water, on these really stubborn labels. So, it did work well, in that sense. And it didn't cost me any extra money, buying a commercial product. And it didn't dry my skin out or require me to wear gloves. So, yeah, it was worth it. Just not totally effortless.

I've been keeping this dish of baking soda and oil paste in the cupboard, and using it for a month or so. I had to use some the other day, when I discovered a piece of chewed gum was stuck to the kitchen counter. I pulled up the bulk of the gum, then spread this paste onto it, and wiped it up with a clean rag. On chewing gum, stuck to the counter top, this was brilliant.


  1. I have also had a hard time removing labels from jars. I really like jars and use them for just about everything. I take them to work and drink lemonade out of them. At home I store pasta, spices and many other dry type items in them. I made a pour spout salt container out of a large quart jar. I save jam jars when I buy jam at the Amish market but their labels are so difficult to get off. I use the knife scraper idea after letting them soak in hot water for a while. There are a few jars that I never could get the glue off from. I could try this method but if it is time consuming I probably will only try it once.


    1. Hi Alice,
      Try it once, and see if it works on your particular labels. It did work well on another items labels, so some adhesive it does work well on. I will say that with a bit of effort, I got the jar really clean.

      I reuse jars, too. They make nice containers for storage, and I use them for gifts.

      Have a great day, Alice!

  2. I'm just glad to see I am not the only one who saves and reuses jars!

    1. Hi Anne,
      I love glass jars. I have a hard time parting with them!

  3. Oy! That glue is soooo hard to get off! Here's my system. First I fill up the sink with HOT water, then I score the label as many times as practical with a knife to let the water get under the label to the glue. After about 20-30 minutes in the water I scrape with the knife to remove most of the paper. Then I use baking soda and a metal scrubber (metal is the key) to remove the rest of the glue. After that, I stick it in the dishwasher for good measure. It works, but it's not exactly easy. I'll try adding some vegetable oil to the mix next time and see if it helps.

    1. Hi Cat,
      yes, try a little oil and baking soda, and let it sit for a bit. It may lessen some of your work to get the jars clean.

  4. I have an extra stubborn one right now. I will try this😊I forgot I used to use dish soap and peanut butter it takes gum out of hair.

    1. Hi Patti,
      I remember the peanut butter to get gum out of hair! It brings back memories of slumber parties, as a girl. The only times I could get away with chewing gum in bed.

      Have a great day, Patti!

  5. I've had good luck with rubbing the goo off with plain vaseline (after soaking off the paper part in warm water), which seems easier to me than mixing baking soda and oil. When that doesn't work, nail polish remover (from Dollar Tree) almost always does.

    1. Hi there,
      That's good you have a method that works for you! I'm allergic to Vaseline, so I never have it here. But it likely does the same thing the vegetable oil does, in acting as a solvent on the adhesive.

  6. I like your tip of using baking soda for scouring stains on tubs. I tried using it to clean the grout on our ceramic tile counter and as a scouring powder in our toilet and it worked so well. Baking soda seems to have so many uses.

    Hope your day was great!!


    1. Hi YHF,
      I haven't bought scouring cleanser in over a decade, now. I've just used baking soda or salt. Salt is good for the inside of pots and pans, with milk scum that scalds onto the surface of a pan. It's grittier than baking soda.

      Have a great day, YHF!

  7. Unless I'm using a jar for a gift, I don't bother removing any more of the label than comes off easily. A jar without a label certainly looks better, but is usually not worth effort for me.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      sometimes doing less is the answer.

      Have a great day!

    2. Hey June... don't know if you'll see this or not... I used to take the same approach you do, until I read a blog post by Beth Terry about how her dishwasher almost bit the dust because it got clogged with bits of paper from the labels on jars. I think there was also something in there about the glue being toxic. Anyhow, after reading about her trials and tribulations with the dishwasher, I decided that getting the goo off probably was worth the effort. YMMV :-)

    3. Thanks for the info, Cat. I certainly don't want to ruin a dishwasher. I wasn't sure why, but I knew putting jars with labels on them into the dishwasher was bad, so I try not to do it. Most of the jars I use for food stuff are canning jars that come with no labels. Other labeled jars, I use for other things than food or wash them by hand.


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