How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

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The Mouse
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How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

Postby The Mouse » Sun Aug 16, 2015 4:19 pm

Not strictly a cooking tip, but if you're like me, trying in vain to remove irremovable glue is something that you have probably tried to do when you are making home made jams and preserves, so I decided this was the best place for this.

I've finally found a solution (thanks to Google, of course), so I thought I would share it with any of you who aren't already in the know.

You only need two basic kitchen ingredients - bicarbonate of soda and cooking oil.
Mix equal quantities of them together (I used a tablespoon of each today and it was plenty for the two bottles that I wanted to clean). Then spread it all over the glue and wait for thirty minutes before rubbing it off with a pan scrubber. My scrubber is just a cheap nylon one, but it did the trick. After that, give the jar a good wash in warm water and washing-up liquid to get the oil residue off it.

The first time I tried this, a couple of days ago, I was a bit hasty and only waited ten minutes. Even so, most of the glue came off, but I did need to put a bit more paste on one or two patches and wait a bit longer. However, next time I'll try to be a bit more patient, though it's not my strong point.

I hope it works as well for you as it has done for me :D
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Re: How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

Postby Beryl » Sun Aug 16, 2015 7:08 pm

Much quicker Mouse to use WD40.

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Re: How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

Postby Primrose » Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:06 pm

Thanks Mouse and Beryl. We're troubled by this problem a lot as we recycle a lot of jars making fund raising marmalade, jams etc for a charity and it's a real pain on some of these jars to remove the residual glue. We'recoming to the end of an aerosol can of "sticky label remover" which was given to us so these tips will be helpful.
We use Avery labels for relabelling our filled jars and these remove relatively easily once soaked.
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Re: How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

Postby The Mouse » Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:12 pm

WD40? I'll try that next time, though I'll have to see OH has any in the shed first.
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Re: How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

Postby Tony Hague » Mon Aug 17, 2015 3:59 pm

Isopropyl alcohol. Surgical spirit or rubbing alcohol in common parlance, will dissolve the glue. Better still, it will wash away with water a lot better than oily WD40.
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Re: How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

Postby Primrose » Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:12 pm

Has anybody tried nail varnish remover? Not sure what it's chemical constitution is.
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Re: How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

Postby The Mouse » Mon Aug 17, 2015 5:09 pm

In the past I've tried nail varnish remover and it didn't work. I've also tried petrol, paraffin, white spirit and numerous other substances that OH has brought in out of the shed, but none of those did the slightest bit of good either.

Some labels and glue wash off so easily - I wish that all manufacturers would use those!
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Re: How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

Postby Beryl » Mon Aug 17, 2015 5:16 pm

Primrose I used to use Avery for labels but Staples do a very good one much cheaper. It's a while since I bought any; a box of 100 sheets x 21 will label a quite few jars. equivalent to Avery L7160. They do most of the Avery sizes in their own brand.

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Re: How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

Postby Primrose » Mon Aug 17, 2015 5:33 pm

I feel so frustrated about this non removable adhesive that I,ve just written a Grumpy Old Woman email complaint to the Food and Drink Federation (the trade association for food and drink manufacturers) asking if they will use their influence with all manufacturers who produce food in jars to use adhesive for jar labels than can be easily removed with warm soapy water instead of having to resort to solvents.

If anybody else want to add their weight to the the debate, you can find a Contact email template form at the bottom of the Food & drink Federation website.
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Re: How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

Postby FelixLeiter » Sun Aug 23, 2015 5:35 pm

Manufacturers do not want labels which come off if they get wet, or even if they get a bit damp, and nor do shopkeepers. I've always found white spirit will remove gummed labels and leaves no residue with minimal rinsing. Whichever glue is used, a metal scourer and a bit of elbow grease will always shift it.
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Re: How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

Postby The Mouse » Sun Aug 23, 2015 9:53 pm

That's strange, Felix - white spirit won't work for me on the really stubborn type of glue, no matter now much elbow grease I use.

I was given eight jars this week to use for my jam making, and without my newly-found baking soda and oil solution, I would have had to throw four of them away. Luckily, the other four had the easily-removed type of labels/glue, that washes away easily after a few minutes soaking in warm soapy water.
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Re: How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

Postby Beryl » Sun Aug 23, 2015 10:14 pm

I did try the white spirit to Mouse with no luck. The WD40 is still the best solution for me for even the most stubborn of glues. Glass isn't porous so washed with washing up liquid afterwards left no smell.

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Re: How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

Postby Primrose » Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:57 am

Just bumping this thread to say that this morning I tried some Polycleanse brush cleaner on a jar with a stubborn label glue residue and it worked effectively.
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Re: How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

Postby Pa Snip » Sun Sep 20, 2015 11:15 am

White spirit has never worked for me in this context.

When I asked this question before someone suggested de-solve-it, cant remember who, but that worked a treat used in conjunction with a green scourer
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Re: How to remove stubborn glue from jars and bottles

Postby Karmina » Wed Dec 16, 2015 9:01 am

Oil and baking soda work perfectly :) I haven't tried nail polish remover yet but I heard that it also works since it is composed by 95% of acetone, acetone helps in removing plastics.
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