5 Easy Ways to Remove Sticky Labels

The jars that we used to simply stick into our recycling are having a bit of a resurgence. They have many uses these days from reuse as jars for homemade pickles and jars to drinking vessels and even pencil holders in the office. The humble jar is a lot more than yesterday’s food container and some people are even using them to craft intricate homeware such as lanterns and candle holders.

This is all fantastic but modern jars come with the addition of a problem – the sticky label. Glued on by machines these labels are designed to stay stuck so when you try and get them off there is usually a mess to be made. Below are ten ways and ten common household items you can use to remove the stickiness from the jar and use it in any way you wish.


Olive Oil

First up is a humble household product that most of us have running spare. Pull off the easy part of the label and then use a few drops of olive oil on a paper tile to remove the remaining stickiness. The residue will slowly fall away leaving your jar reading for washing and using.


Boiling Water

Submerging your jar in boiling water is one method that will always work but it may take some time and you may need the help of a wire scrubbing brush. If you leave the jar submerged for a few moments then you should have better, quicker results.


Soapy Water

This time the water doesn’t need to be boiling but it does need to be packed with either normal soap or washing up liquid. Stick your jar in a bowl of soapy water and then leave it overnight. You can then use the olive oil once more to wash off the remaining residue in the morning and it should fall away easily.



There are very few household tasks that can’t be done with vinegar! Inexpensive white vinegar that probably already lives in your cupboard can be used for removing sticky label residue too. Soak a dishcloth or washrag in a mixture of vinegar and water, with a 75:25 ratio, and then apply this directly to the glass. With a few minutes on the label the vinegar will begin to work its magic and dissolve the glue.



It’s not many people’s favourite smell but the classic bike oil can work on your glass jars. You can apply the oil in the same way as the other methods and you only need to leave it on the jar for a maximum of two minutes. You can then clean it off with a soft rag and window cleaner, leaving your jar ready to use.

These are just five of many different methods available for removing sticky labels and chances are you’ll have at least one of these ingredients at home. Other tried and tested methods include mayonnaise, petroleum jelly and hair spray.

Whatever you choose to use ensure all the residue is removed before using your jar for any other purpose. It’s also important to note most of these methods can be used on other surfaces as well as glass.