Easiest Way to Get Labels Off Bottles

Updated April 17, 2017

If you brew your own beer or wine, you can save yourself some money and reuse the bottles from commercial beer or wine, rather than buying brand new bottles. Other people may want to remove labels from glass bottles and jars so that they can repurpose them as flower vases, craft projects or for bulk food storage. If you're lucky, the label will peel off easily with a fingernail, but too often it's glued onto the bottle pretty securely. You can still get that label off so that you can reuse the jar, but it'll take a bit of time and work.

Fill a tea kettle with water and set it heating on the stove.

Hold the empty bottle over the steam that emits from the hot tea kettle. Wear oven gloves to protect your hands. Hold the bottle about 6 to 12 inches from the spout--close enough so the steam will weaken the glue, but not so close that you are in danger of burning yourself on the steam or overheating the bottle.

Rotate the bottle so that the steam is directed over the entire label. Apply steam to the label for about a minute.

Remove the bottle from the heat and allow it to cool just enough so that you can safely handle it with your bare hands, about 30 seconds.

Use your fingernail or a razor blade to gently peel the label off of the bottle. This method usually preserves the label intact, which is beneficial for wine enthusiasts who like to collect wine bottle labels in a scrapbook.

Return the bottle to the steam if the label seems to be stuck.

Remove any sticky residue from the bottle with a small amount of turpentine applied with a cotton ball. Wash the bottle very thoroughly with soap and hot water if you are planning on reusing it for food storage purposes.


You can also try soaking the bottle in warm or hot water with a few drops of dish soap for about an hour and then peeling off the label by hand. This method may cause the label to fade or tear and may leave more glue or label residue on the bottle.


Be careful when handling the razor and always point the blade away from you.

Things You'll Need

  • Tea kettle
  • Oven gloves
  • Razor blade
  • Turpentine
  • Cotton ball
  • Soap
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About the Author

Heidi Almond worked in the natural foods industry for more than seven years before becoming a full-time freelancer in 2010. She has been published in "Mother Earth News," "Legacy" magazine and in several local publications in Duluth, Minn. In 2002 Almond graduated cum laude from an environmental liberal arts college with a concentration in writing.