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How to Easily Remove Sticky Labels from Glass Jars

To be environmentally friendly, people often reuse food jars to package home-made sauce ingredients or use the jars to contain some DIY crafts. Sometimes we found it is difficult to remove the sticky labels from the surface of glass jars. Please read this article and we will introduce the simple six-step process uses all-natural, eco-friendly ingredients you already have in your home to get jars squeaky clean.

To remove sticky labels from jars using only all-natural ingredients you already have at home, simply follow these six steps:

  • Fill your sink or a large bowl with hot water.
  • Add 1 to 2 tablespoons dish soap and ½ cup of white vinegar.
  • Submerge jars in water and let them soak for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Remove jars from water and easily remove labels.
  • For sticky label glue that won’t come off, mix together equal parts oil and baking soda in a small bowl, then rub onto label glue and scrub with a dish rag or scrub brush.
  • Wash and dry jars and they are ready to use!

There are other ways to remove sticky labels out of a glass jar. Please have a try.


  • After you have the label off, essential oils like eucalyptus essential oil, lemon essential oil, orange essential oil, and tea tree oil can be used to remove the sticky residue.
  • No soaking is needed most of the time. It should work straight away. Rub the essential oil on it with a rag and it should dissolve. The jar can then be rinsed, dried and used or stored.
  • A note on essential oils: they are generally not environmentally friendly to produce and some (tea tree oil and lavender oil) have been found to be endocrine disruptors and certain ones are toxic to dogs and cats, so we don’t recommend using these carelessly.


  • Anything with a high percentage of alcohol, such as methylated spirits, isopropanol, and nail polish remover, will also work well when it comes to removing any stickiness left over by labels and stickers. Put some on a rag or soak a rag in one of the above and rub the sticky spot until it is gone.


  • Another use for white vinegar, which is a staple cleaner in most zero waste households! It is said that white vinegar on a cloth gets adhesive stuck to glass jars off easily. If you’ve made a citrus peel vinegar cleaner, you will get the combined power of white vinegar and citrus.


  • Citrus-based cleaners are another liquid substance that is good for getting glue off glass. Spray it on the glass jar and let it sit for a bit or soak the jar in a citrus cleaner and then scrub the parts of the jar that need some elbow grease to remove any leftover label or glue.


  • Putting jars in an oven for 10 minutes, in a microwave for a few minutes, or blowing them with hot air from a hairdryer heats and melts the glue used to stick labels to glass jars, making it easier to remove the paper label and the glue.


  • Not only heating jars helps, it seems that freezing them works too! Apparently if you put a jar in a freezer with the lid off for the few hours, the label will come off easily. You could also try soaking it in ice water overnight, which is meant to remove the adhesive and label.


Some jars have stubborn smells it is hard to get rid of, especially pickle jars and ones that have held curry paste! Dishwashing and hand washing just are not enough to banish them! There are a few other things you can try to dispel the smell:

  • use the power of the sun: leave it in direct sunlight on a windowsill or outside with the lid off for a day or two,
  • put a bit of water and baking soda in the jar, put the lid on and shake it vigorously – the smell should be quelled pretty quickly as baking soda absorbs odors,
  • use a lemon: wipe the jar with a cloth and lemon juice,
  • sterilize them in the oven: wash them and then place them face up on a tray in the oven for a few minutes, or
  • boil the jar in hot water with white vinegar.


Ideas for what to store in your newly clean glass jars

  • Now that your glass food and drink jars are clean and ready to use, here are some ideas to fill up reusable glass jar for a zero-waste container storage in your pantry and around the house.
  • Use reusable glass jars to store homemade food scrap vegetable broth.
  • After saving homemade food scraps and making broth, fill up empty jars with homemade vegetable broth made food scraps and freeze until ready to use.
  • Take your empty glass jars to the grocery store to fill in the bulk section. Fill up jars with pantry staples like rice and other grains, dried fruit, flour, sugar, nuts, seeds, and other foods instead of using plastic bags.

  • Organize your pantry with glass jarsTake foods out of plastic or paper boxes and store in see-through glass jars for a clean pantry and to easily see which foods you have on hand. We have found that food that is visible gets eaten, so put food in jars to reduce its changes of being wasted.
  • Organize your kitchen drawers with small glass jars. Use empty jars to store small bits and bobs in the kitchen, like coins, leftover bread ties, bag clips, etc. No more opening ten drawers to find your small kitchen items!

  • Utensil Storage. Rather than storing your food in plastic containers, use some of your jars for leftovers. I know there are many things that wouldn’t fit in a jar, but if you have something like soup or chili you should be able to easily store it in a jar. There are those kitchen utensils that you are always reaching for when cooking. Rather than having them tucked away in a drawer, use a large jar to hold them on the counter.

  • Freezer containers. We use our glass jars in the freezer often. Just make sure you give enough “head room” at the top of the jar so it doesn’t break (I’ve had that happen a few times). I have a few jars of the last green onions from our garden chopped up and stored in a jar, as well as extra bell peppers from a meal a couple of months ago.

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