The Best Way to Remove Labels from Glass Jars

Dinner tonight is spaghetti.  You are in a rush and there’s no homemade sauce but you have your favorite jarred sauce on hand.  You open the jar, put the sauce in a pot, and then comes that moment.  Should you rinse the jar, add it to the recycling bin and consider it a day or should you wash that jar up and use it for something pretty?The easiest way to remove labels from glass jars in minutes. Once the jar is label-free, add some brown paper, a twine ribbon, fill with water and flowers and have a farmhouse vibe for any table or tablescape.You decide to wash it up but then you remember that labels can be hard to get off totally so a quick rinse and then a toss into the recycling bin is what you go with, but wait!

I have a super easy way to remove the labels and all the icky glue residue so you can have a virtual garden of jars on hand for all your decor and crafting needs or even organizing .  I like to use mine as vases, to hold office supplies and to store cupcake wrappers.   Oh, the possibilities are endless!

After Christmas this year my husband, unfortunately, had a long stay in the hospital.  I was preoccupied with that and a lot of other “life stuff” so asked my oldest son to do the grocery shopping.  One of the things he bought were three jars of holiday cookies.  They were on clearance so he couldn’t pass them up (I raised him right!).

Nicely shaped glass jars - my test subjects for the best and easiest way to completely remove sticky labels from jars.

After the jars were empty I decided to keep them and try a little experiment.  I tried three different ways to remove the labels and here’s what worked….and what didn’t.

Three Methods for Removing Labels from Jars and the Very Interesting Results

The best way to completely remove labels from glass jars - step one - the big soak.

Step One:  Fill sink with warm water adding dish soap.

Add jar with label to water - The Best Way to Completely Remove Labels from Jars

Step Two:  Add jars to warm, soapy water.

Completely submerge jars in water and begin soaking.

Step Three:  Completely submerge the jars.  I went a little wild with the water and bubbles – I was distracted and came back just in time to turn off the water.  Does this ever happen to you?

The Best Way to Completely Remove Labels from Jars - the big soak. Allow the jars to soak in the warm and soapy water for 15 to 20 minutes.

Step Four:  Allow the jars to soak for 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove jar from water - the best way to completely remove labels from glass jars

The label, at this point, should come off easily leaving a residue of glue.

Step Five:  Remove the jar from the water.  Starting with a corner remove the paper portion of the label.  This will leave behind a gluey residue.

Rinse jar before moving on to the next step.

I rinsed my jars but I don’t think this step is necessary since you’ll be washing them after the label is completely removed.

Test subjects all lined up.

My test subjects are now ready!

Three different methods for removing labels from glass jars - which one does the best job?

For my test, I chose regular vegetable oil, Totally® Awesome from the Dollar Tree and Goo Gone.

How effective is Goo Gone in removing labels and residual glue from glass jars?

For my first jar, I sprayed it generously with the Goo Gone.

Totally Awesome to remove labels. Does it work?  For the second jar I poured a generous amount of Totally Awesome on to the jar.

Vegetable oil to remove glue from paper labels.

The third jar was slathered with pure vegetable oil.

Removing glue from glass jars

I waited 10 minutes and then began to remove the glue from my jars.  I normally use a sponge with a scrubber side to do this but that tends to be messy so this time I used  Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloths – the textured side.  This worked so much better.  I rinsed the cloth as needed and there was no glue build up.

If you’ve never heard of the scrubbing dish cloths you can check out my post about how I use them to Wash Walls in 5 Easy Steps – I find myself using them for a lot of my cleaning now.  I especially like that they can be machine washed and reused over and over again.

After I did the above steps with all three of my jars I washed them again in a soapy water solution and rinsed them well.

The Results – Which Product Worked Best?


Now, for the results.

The Best Way to Completely Remove Labels and the Sticky Glue Residue from Jars - Results - Goo Gone

The Goo Gone was the clear winner – clear….get it? It left absolutely NO residue and hands down did the best job.

Does vegetable oil remove label glue from jars?

Second place went to the vegetable oil.  There was still some residual glue left but not much and when I washed the jar almost all of the remaining glue came off.

The loser was the Totally Awesome.  It’s hard to see in this photo but it really didn’t do a very good job of removing the glue and I would NOT recommend it.

The best way to totally remove label glue from glass jars.

Here’s a close up of the Goo Gone treated jar.

*Note:  I did wash it in soapy water after removing the glue as I did all of the jars above.

The best way to completely remove labels from jars. I tried three different methods. Find out which one worked best and completely remove the leftover label glue.

Do you have a favorite method that I didn’t try above? I would love to hear about.

Thanks so much for stopping by! You can check out some other easy cleaning and homemaking tricks here.

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The absolute best and easiest way to remove label glue from glass jars. Reuse, repurpose and recycle with style!