You can do so much with empty glass jars and bottles; you don’t necessarily have to just put them out to the recycle. Glass jars are great for storing small items in the pantry or for storing jams, chutneys, and pickles. You can also use them for storing small craft pieces or even as a vase. The only problem with many of the jars is that the sticky labels and the label glue can be hard to remove.
If you are lucky then all you will need to do is soak the jar or bottle in some warm soapy water and the sticky label will just peel straight off. But more often than not the paper part of the label will come off but the sticky glue residue remains.
I have used tea tree oil before to take the glue residue off but I don’t like using it because it has a very strong smell. Once you get even a couple of drops of tea tree oil on anything it takes ages for the smelt to disappear. It gives me a headache!
Recently however I came across an easy solution at The Creek Line House that showed how to remove sticky labels and glue residue without using any smelly chemicals. It suggested that the glue residue from sticky labels could be removed using only cooking oil and baking soda.
We had a couple of jars in the pantry that had been saved so I thought I would see if I could use this method to remove the sticky labels and glue residue.
Removing Sticky Labels and Glue Residue from Glass Jars and Bottles
First I soaked the jars in some warm soapy water for around 30 minutes. Most of the paper labels came off after this time but some sticky labels took longer and I had to leave them soaking in the sink for a few hours.
Once the paper part of the label was removed I dried the jars and made up a paste of cooking oil and baking soda. I found that a thick paste worked best so I mixed 3 heaped tablespoons of baking soda with 2 tablespoon of canola oil (any type of cooking oil will do). If you feel your mixture is too runny just add a bit more baking soda.
I then put a small amount of the paste onto a non-scratch dish scrubber and rubbed it over the sticky residue. In some cases the residue would come off quite easily and then the paste could be wiped off with a clean damp cloth.
If the glue residue didn’t come off easily I would rub some of the paste over the stubborn areas and then leave it for a couple of minutes while I worked on another jar. After a few minutes the stubborn glue residue rubbed off quite easily.
I then gave the jars another quick rinse in some warm soapy water and they were ready to be reused!
This amount of oil and baking soda paste seemed to go a long way and could easily be used on 10 to 12 jars. I had quite a bit left over after doing 4 or 5 jars.
The best thing about this method is that there was no need to use nasty chemicals or smelly oils. Also because you are only using regular cooking items it is safe to wash everything in the kitchen sink afterwards!