On Life Lessons And How To Get Labels Off Glass Jars


This weekend was a blur of Christmas trees, airport adventures, decorations EVERYWHERE, fun family playdates and twinkly lights.  Which, if you need a quick translation, means that it was actually pretty great.

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But I realised that no matter how many times we do this to ourselves we just never learn – putting up the tree this early always makes us want to rip it down the morning of the 26th already.  But we do it anyway, because the tree is ridiculously huge and takes forever to put up so I want to get enough reward from all the effort, it’s fun and also – TWINKLY LIGHTS!  I love good old twinkle lights all over the place, Seth is just rolling his eyes at me now when I point to a space that isn’t lit.

Anyway, I got this bright idea into my head that I was going to get a head start on Christmas presents (in my attempt to make things simpler this year).  And by head start I mean that I am actually going to make some of them, so I got out my mason jars that we’d been storing at the back of the cupboard for a rainy day and wanted to start prepping them.  We got these from possibly the best (convenience) soups out there and the jars had already been in the dish washer before we packed them up and stored them away – they even survived the move.

The labels did not budge an inch during any of it.

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So I took out the jars with their fully intact label and, like any normal person, used Pinterest to figure out how to remove the label the fastest, easiest way without leaving any residue behind.  The internet is a crazy place and I found some interesting answers:

  • Cup of vinegar in a sink full of boiling water for 20 minutes.  If any residue put back in for longer.
  • Rub butter or peanut butter on the area and leave overnight.
  • Pour boiling water into the jar and wait till you can peel the label off.
  • Olive oil and orange essence – I stopped reading here because like, who has orange essence on hand?!
  • Rubbing alcohol – again, is it just me that is doesn’t have this kind of thing in my cupboards?

Obviously I filtered the information in my mind, crossed out the ones that I didn’t have key ingredients for, then crossed out the ones that seemed too easy because well, it just can’t be that easy and that left me with the vinegar in a sink situation.  In case you are super observant and you noticed, our sinks plug has um, lack of working plug issues… So I decided to use a metal bowl instead.

In went the vinegar, the boiling water and the jars for 20 minutes – because I follow instructions like a boss.

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Nearly 30 minutes later when I got around to checking it (I’m a Mom of 3 OK?!), the labels peeled off but left like ALL of the residue behind.  Seriously pretty much ALL of it.  Bummed is a bit of an understatement of what I felt at this point, but I persevered.  I mean I KNEW it was going to be difficult, which is why I checked it out on Pinterest first anyway – to save time.  So the jars went back in for a second round.

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Because I have like 10 jars to do, (and because I wanted this to be a thorough solution) I then decided to do the only other method that I could and I rubbed it down with butter.  I put it aside to leave overnight.

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Having a few moments to just stand and stare at my kitchen – that was becoming increasingly full of jars that still had labels on them – but now also had gunk on them that I couldn’t touch.  I was holding another jar that I was contemplating filling with boiling water (just to see if anything would happen) and while my mind was contemplating, my fingers were tugging at the sides of the label.  I started noticing what I was doing and I pulled a little harder and with purpose…

And what do you know…  It came right off.  With absolutely NO residue whatsoever.  

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Are you freaking kidding me right now?!

While I am super grateful to find a much simpler and less time consuming solution, it did make me realise how silly I was for not trying to think for myself before going to the internet to find an answer.

So if you are looking for a real tip – try and pull off the label first, then try any and all of the above methods.  

Needless to say, the jar with butter on it went straight into the dishwasher and the other 2 with residue are just sitting in the corner feeling sorry for themselves (although if I’d cared to, I’m pretty sure I could have gotten the residue off with just a little bit of a rub)…

10 thoughts on “On Life Lessons And How To Get Labels Off Glass Jars

  1. Lol! I feel for you. I had the same issue when cleaning up jars for Christmas gifts. I found the easiest method to be plain ol’ vegetable / cooking oil and a rub. It gets it all off in no time. It’ll work for those two jars that are feeling sorry for themselves. 🙂

  2. The very best way to remove labels or residue (if just pulling off does not work) is Mr Min – spray on liberally, leave for about 5 minutes and rub off. Works like a charm on anything even book labels. Learned this trick from shopfront installers that have to get rid of the residue packaging tape leaves

  3. What I like to do (after puling the label off) is use methylated spirits on newspaper or paper towel to get rid of residue – that stuff is amazing! And available at hardware stores and the like. Also works well for getting old licence stickers off the inside of your car’s windscreen 🙂

  4. loving your blog. to get the residue off I use an old sponge (the green and yellow kind) and sunflower cooking oil (im sure any oil will do), the gunk comes off really easily 🙂 I have taken LOTS of labels off wine bottles, i soak them in hot soapy water a while, then scrape off as much label as i can, then use the sponge with oil 🙂 rinse bottle and you done 🙂

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