How to Remove Labels From Glass Jars

How to Remove Labels From Glass Jars
As a zero waster, I tend to collect a lot of glass jars, bottles and containers. I can’t help myself really. Once a product empties, it would be a waste to just toss a perfectly good jar away. You can reuse glass jars to house so many great things – from DIYs to bulk goods. The problem lies in the annoying sticky labels that come with most jars. Not sure about you, but I like the aesthetic of a clear glass jar – not one with an annoying tomato sauce label on it. But when you try to peel it off, it just leaves behind sticky residue! Well, thankfully, I’ve got the cure for both of those problems. Here’s how to remove labels from glass jars, hassle free (including the sticky glue residue left behind). 

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How to Remove Labels From Glass Jars

How to Remove Labels From Glass Jars

Why you should reuse glass jars – and remove jar labels

Likely, if you want to remove a label from a jar, you’ll be reusing that jar. That’s a good thing, and I’ll tell you why – putting glass into the recycling bin is a waste of resources.
Hear me out – glass is infinitely recyclable. It never loses its quality, no matter how many times it gets recycled. The problem is…is it actually being recycled? The sad truth is, only 33 percent of glass is recycled in America.
Not all places actually recycle glass. There are some states that take it, crush it and use it as a landfill cover. This is cheaper than actually recycling the glass, but still not a good enough excuse!
If you’re not sure, landfill covers are basically used to control the gross odors landfills give off, prevent waste fires, deter pests, and more. Sadly, using glass to cover landfills doesn’t help our planet at all because it’s essentially downcycling glass and preventing it from being reused, or recycled.

Plus, it takes a lot of resources and energy to make new glass! Glass is made using sand, and we’re using it faster than the planet can replenish it – it’s not an infinite resource, after all. Most sand is harvested from riverbeds and seabeds, which disrupts the ecosystem.

Did you know, worldwide we go through about 50 billion tons of sand every year? We use sand for many things besides glass (making concrete is another example), but we really need to stop relying so much on it.
Glass also takes forever to biodegrade – approximately one million years in the environment, perhaps even more in a landfill.
So…with all this in mind…it’s super important we reuse the glass we already have. We cannot afford to waste more precious resources.
While a lot of zero wasters think glass is better than plastic, the truth is glass isn’t perfect either. It’s certainly a better option than plastic, but we must get the most use from it for it to be as kind to the planet as possible.
Removing labels from glass jars will definitely encourage you to reuse your emptied glass jars. Once the label is gone, it’ll look so much nicer and make you want to put all kinds of stuff into it!

How to remove labels from jars:

How to Remove Labels From Glass Jars

What you need:


  1. Peel off as much of the label as you can using your fingers. Combine the baking soda with a little olive oil until it forms a thick paste.
  2. Apply it to your jar. Wait 30 minutes. Scrub it off. BAM. You’ve got yourself a stick-free, label-free jar.
Note: This DIY tends to get a little messy, so keep your jar on something you don’t mind the DIY dripping onto while you wait the 30 minutes or during application. Also, if you are able to remove the label with just your fingers, but there’s still sticky residue left, this DIY will help remove that entirely.
How to Remove Labels From Glass Jars
I really love this simple DIY because it helps remove that annoying sticky residue from otherwise pretty jars.

It’s also so easy to whip up and doesn’t cost much at all to make. Likely, you already have the ingredients needed to make this DIY at home.

However, if you don’t have these ingredients on hand, or would prefer something that doesn’t require you to peel the label first, there are other options.

Other easy ways to remove labels from glass jars:

  • Fill a sink or bucket with hot water, adding a few squirts of dish soap to it, along with a few cups of white vinegar. Place the jars inside the sink or bucket so they get submerged. Wait anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes, then take the jar out and peel the label off.
  • Using washing soda, fill a sink or bucket with hot water and add 1/2 cup of washing soda to it. Use your hand to mix the soapy water around. Put the jar in the sink, submerging it in the water, and wait about 30 minutes. Take the jar out and peel off the label. Any residue? Use the DIY I list above to fully get it off. Or, use a little peanut butter – the oils from the peanut butter will help remove excess residue. Just be sure to scrub it in!
  • Rubbing alcohol can help remove sticky residue, but it’s not exactly zero waste friendly (so I avoid it) – just figured I’d mention it here for knowledge.
How to Remove Labels From Glass Jars

What to do with your (clean) glass jar?

Now that you have a clean glass jar, the possibilities are endless! There are so many ways you can reuse it, but here are a few ways that should inspire you and get you thinking.
Use it to craft DIYs like:

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Millet
  • Popcorn
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Oats
  • Spices
  • Herbs
  • Dried chickpeas
None of that float your boat?
The possibilities truly are endless!
How to Remove Labels From Glass Jars
How do you remove labels from glass jars?
For more zero waste living tips, be sure to check out how to freeze food without plastic (using glass jars), and my top 10 zero waste kitchen swaps.

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By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.


  1. Thanks so much for this article. I've been using the rubbing alcohol method for a while because it was the only one I could think of, and I eventually stopped taking the labels off my jars because it was too time consuming. Now i'll have pretty jars and more time to do other DIYs you have on your website. 🙂

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