by | Sep 22, 2022

So, you’ve collected tons of glass jars from your past groceries, and you want to clean them out and refill them at a zero-waste bulk store like Bocaux & Co. You’re faced with a challenge: how do you easily remove the old label from the jars? What about all that glue residue?

Below you’ll find some tricks and tips to get your jars squeaky clean and ready for reuse.

Hot water

If the label has a smooth, sticker-like feel, you might be able to get it off simply with hot water. Hot water helps warm up the label’s glue, making it easier to pull off the label without any extra steps.

Place your jars in a sink, and add enough hot water to fully submerge the jars. Let them sit for 20-30 minutes or until the water cools down enough to not burn you. Dry the jars with a dish towel, then grab a corner and start peeling. The labels should come off easily.

White vinegar and dish soap

If the label feels more like regular paper, white vinegar and dish soap should do the trick.

Add 1-2 tablespoons of mild dish soap and ½ cup of food-grade white vinegar to hot water in a sink. There should be enough water to fully submerge your jars. Let them soak for 20-30 minutes or until the water cools down enough to not burn you. Take the jars out of the water, dry them off with a dish towel, then start peeling off the labels. If some areas still stay on the jar, they should easily rub off with your fingers or with a rag.

Baking soda and olive oil

If you tried removing the labels off of glass jars but some pieces are still sticking on or if there’s still dried glue on the jar, then try out this baking soda and oil method.

Mix equal parts of baking soda and oil. Spread the mixture on all areas of your jar that have glue residue or stubborn label pieces stuck onto it, and let sit for 10-15 minutes. After that, it’s time for some elbow grease! Grab a rag and start rubbing the mixture in circles until you don’t see any residue left over. If some areas still have glue, keep rubbing them with the rag until the jars are completely clean. Once the glue residue is gone, rinse off the mixture and wash your jars to remove the oily feel.

Of course, the olive oil, baking soda, white vinegar, and dish soap can all be found at Bocaux & Co., in bulk.

Before – Jars with labels
Work in progress – jars covered with baking soda and olive oil
Final results – Clean jars, ready to be filled!