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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Topic started by: twodogbrew69 on October 12, 2010, 01:09:03 PM

Title: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: twodogbrew69 on October 12, 2010, 01:09:03 PM
I have a bunch of bottles and the labels are causing me a lot of trouble.  I am looking for any and all suggestions!  Thanks! ;D
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: theDarkSide on October 12, 2010, 01:19:07 PM
I soak mine overnight in PBW or Oxyclean and they usually fall right off when I pick them up.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: jeffy on October 12, 2010, 02:00:48 PM
Ammonia solution also works well.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: Hokerer on October 12, 2010, 02:05:24 PM
Oxiclean soak has always worked for me.  And I never do it overnight, either.  The dishtub I use will fit about six bottles.  I submerge/fill each bottle one at a time and by the time I've submerged/filled the sixth bottle, the label is about ready to come off of the first bottle.  Just keep rolling from then on.

Note that there are a few brands (Weyerbacher, Blue Mountain, etc.) that require a small thermonuclear device to get the labels off - even after an overnight soak.  For those, I've found that one of those "single edge razor window sticker scrapers" will take the label off and then the bottle goes back into the rotation to soak off the glue.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: dmtaylor on October 12, 2010, 02:08:02 PM
Soak for a couple of hours in plain old hot water.  Then I use the handle end of a spoon to scrape off any stubborn ones.  Takes a bit of work but not too bad.  You will occasionally encounter labels that are a royal pain in the butt and require copious amounts of labor to scrape them off.  For these, learn what they are and just throw them away and don't try to deal with them.  But the vast majority of labels come off very easy with a two hour soak in hot water.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: theDarkSide on October 12, 2010, 02:21:31 PM
You will occasionally encounter labels that are a royal pain in the butt
I know what you mean...I tried for hours and hours to get a label off until I realized it was painted on  :D
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 12, 2010, 03:17:38 PM
I use the oxyclean in hot water overnight procedure.  If this does not work, those bottles are returned for the deposit, as they are not worth the trouble.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: richardt on October 12, 2010, 05:12:46 PM
I agree with the hot water approach.  Many labels have a temperature-sensitive adhesive.

Use a rectangular cooler and fill it up 3/4 of the way with hot water from the tap.  Take a long racking cane or a long wooden spoon and stick the handle portion into the bottle and submerge the entire bottle upright.  Fills it right up without burning your hands up.  Also makes removing the bottles easier.  Don't dump the hot water--you may need it to reheat the bottles to help complete the label removal process and/or do the bottle cleaning process. 

For what it is worth, I've had variable results with Sam Adams bottles--some labels slide right off and others are better off being recycled due to the excessive effort required.  I've had good results with Sierra Nevada bottles--their labels slide right off.  YMMV.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: alikocho on October 12, 2010, 05:19:37 PM
Hot water, maybe with a touch of dish soap.

The back of a table knife will help with stubborn labels, but there does come a point at which it's just not worth it.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: euge on October 12, 2010, 05:48:50 PM
I use copper scrubbies to quickly remove any stubborn labels that have soaked but will not slide off. Previously used a knife until the realization struck me as to the danger involved. :-\

This has always been an issue/sore point with me. I've found that European beers have some of the hardest labels to remove. One would think it would improve recycling if labels were easy to remove.

And the "foiled" bottle necks. They almost always have to be laboriously scraped. When I was in "bottle" collecting mode foil on the bottle was an immediate disqualification for any beer purchase. >:(

I like a bottle that when the condensation forms you can slide the label around with your finger. ::)
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: Slowbrew on October 12, 2010, 06:16:18 PM
I used a hot soak for several hours to days in Straight-A solution (depending on when I got back to them).  Most labels fell off in the bucket.  I just had to wipe off the adhesive.

Leinenkugel bottles where the worst for me.  Any bottles with metallic(like) parts in the label design always seemed to be a pain.  Sometimes scraping the label a little before the soak helped on these.

Paul
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: tom on October 12, 2010, 06:37:32 PM
there does come a point at which it's just not worth it.
Ditto. The metal labels are the worst. In the recycle bin they go.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: Mark G on October 12, 2010, 08:22:41 PM
For a while when I started brewing, I made my commercial beer purchases based on ease of label removal. If a label won't come off after an overnight soak in PBW, I just toss the bottle in the recycling bin.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: dbarber on October 12, 2010, 08:24:42 PM
I use the oxyclean in hot water overnight procedure.  If this does not work, those bottles are returned for the deposit, as they are not worth the trouble.

I do the same with either pbw or oxyclean, if they don't come off they go into the recycle bin.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on October 12, 2010, 09:50:07 PM
I use the oxyclean in hot water overnight procedure.  If this does not work, those bottles are returned for the deposit, as they are not worth the trouble.

I do the same with either pbw or oxyclean, if they don't come off they go into the recycle bin.

At $0.10 a bottle, you don't expend much extra time or energy if the label does not come off. 
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: dcrawlins on October 14, 2010, 04:55:54 PM
I usually soak the bottles in warm water containing caustic soda.  Liquid Plumber add to warm water works very well. Commercial
Breweries use a caustic solution to remove labels.  Just wear dish washing gloves as caustic ( sodium or potassium hydroxide) will cause skin irritation or burns in high concentration.    just rinse well after soaking overnight and sanitize and you are done.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: euge on October 14, 2010, 05:13:48 PM
I usually soak the bottles in warm water containing caustic soda.  Liquid Plumber add to warm water works very well. Commercial
Breweries use a caustic solution to remove labels.  Just wear dish washing gloves as caustic ( sodium or potassium hydroxide) will cause skin irritation or burns in high concentration.    just rinse well after soaking overnight and sanitize and you are done.

I have plenty of sodium hydroxide. Does it eat the labels or just the adhesive?
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: wingnut on October 15, 2010, 12:05:50 AM
Hot PBW in a cooler.. soak an hour, lables fall off... most of them.

The ones that do not, I take the plastic square that came with my pizza stone for cleaning it and scrap the label off. 

My alternate method is to soak as above and take a green scrubbie to the label. (some foil labels require this).
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: Podo on October 16, 2010, 03:03:46 PM
I use hot water and a big scoop of oxyclean, and most labels are off in  an hour.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: bluedog on October 23, 2010, 06:48:49 PM
I use the hot water coming out of my immersion chiller for soaking bottles. If the labels don't come off easily after a soak, they go in the recycle bin. By the way, don't use water at those temps for cleaning a carboy...
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: Tim McManus on October 23, 2010, 07:24:10 PM
I'm cheap so I soak the bottles in warm, slightly soapy water using dish detergent.  After an hour I take a butter knife or a paint scraper and take the labels off.  Then the bottles go back in the solution for 10 minutes or so.  I get the remaining labels off with a green kitchen scrubby.

So all you need is the detergent, a bucket, a paint scraper, a green scrubby and some time.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: chezteth on October 23, 2010, 07:27:16 PM
I usually use PBW and hot water.  It will take off most labels after a soak.  If they still don't come off then a scrub pad is in order.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: ipaguy on October 24, 2010, 07:58:42 PM
Hot water & B-Brite does it for me.  My local microbrewer uses  an amount & type of adhesive that's obviously designed to withstand a nuclear attack (I've tried everything).  I've given up trying on these, and turn them is for deposit.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: realbeerguy on October 24, 2010, 10:36:47 PM
Ammonia & hot water
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: sharg54 on February 03, 2011, 07:59:38 PM
I have been looking at all the suggestions and I have found that putting my bottles in the sink with some dawn dish washing liquid and as hot a water as I can stand and a putty knife works just fine. Fill them up with the hot soapy water and let them sit for about 5 minuets than just peal with a 4" putty knife. Use a scrubby to clean off the rest of the glue and rinse with hot water.  It takes me about 15 minuets to clean a case of bottles and I have yet to find a label that won't come off easy. And being as we are on the subject of bottle cleaning try sanitizing in the oven rather than bleach or Starsan. Once they are clean just get them wet and stack them in the oven, mine will hold about 4 cases. Set the oven on 275 and let them set for about an hour and a half. Let cool and bingo sanitized bottles ready for bottling and I have never had a bottle crack or brake doing this.  ;D 
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 03, 2011, 08:53:07 PM
I use hot water and a big scoop of oxyclean, and most labels are off in  an hour.

This is what I do.  If the labels don't come off after an overnight soak, they get returned for deposit or recycled if not from in state.
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: bonjour on February 03, 2011, 09:01:53 PM
goo be gone or some such petroleum based solvent for those that don't come off with some form of water.  This is more of a glue remover than a paper remover,




or just recycle them
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: BrewArk on February 03, 2011, 09:07:18 PM
Ammonia & hot water
+1
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: oscarvan on February 03, 2011, 10:39:52 PM
I keg....... ;D
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: bonjour on February 03, 2011, 10:55:09 PM
I keg....... ;D
Ok,  I'd like a 6-pack  ;D
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on February 03, 2011, 11:43:08 PM
I keg....... ;D

I gift beer to friends and enter competitions, and even though most of it goes into kegs, you still have to use some bottles.

I just bottled 5 gallons.  It takes about 1:45 these days, and I can get into a little grove doing it.  I used to hate it, but now have a zen thing going when I bottle.  Similar to shoveling snow these days.  
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: oscarvan on February 04, 2011, 01:49:17 AM
I keg....... ;D
Ok,  I'd like a 6-pack  ;D

Take a number..... I have trouble keeping up. Brewing 10 more gallons tomorrow....
Title: Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
Post by: sharg54 on February 04, 2011, 07:13:07 AM
Not into Kegs yet a six pack is just to hard to carry that way.  ::)