Author Topic: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?  (Read 4343 times)

Offline twodogbrew69

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What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
« on: October 12, 2010, 06:09:03 AM »
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
Kevin

Offline theDarkSide

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Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2010, 06:19:07 AM »
I soak mine overnight in PBW or Oxyclean and they usually fall right off when I pick them up.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2010, 07:00:48 AM »
Ammonia solution also works well.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline hokerer

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Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2010, 07:05:24 AM »
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.
Joe

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2010, 07:08:02 AM »
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.
Dave

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Offline theDarkSide

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Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2010, 07:21:31 AM »
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
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2010, 08:17:38 AM »
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.
Jeff Rankert
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Offline richardt

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Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2010, 10:12:46 AM »
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.

Offline alikocho

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Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2010, 10:19:37 AM »
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.
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Offline euge

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Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2010, 10:48:50 AM »
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. ::)
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2010, 11:16:18 AM »
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.

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Offline tom

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Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2010, 11:37:32 AM »
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.
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Offline Mark G

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Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2010, 01:22:41 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.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 02:28:46 PM by Mark G »
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Offline dbarber

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Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2010, 01:24:42 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.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: What is the best way to remove stubborn labels from bottles?
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2010, 02:50:07 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. 
Jeff Rankert
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