The Best (and Easiest!) Way to Remove Sticky Labels from Glass Jars

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

You might find yourself in the same boat that I’m in — the kind of boat that strictly prohibits labels from being on jars and bottles? I mean, they all come with labels, but I just nervously peel off every single one while I wait for the oven to preheat or for timers to go off. It’s not a terrible idea, either, because a label-less jar has lots of potential as a drinking vessel, storage jar, or vase.

Of course, this compulsive picking I (we?) do is a good way to end up with an opaque, very sticky jar. And that’s not super ideal if you want to reuse the jar. Luckily, there’s a quick and easy way to get rid of labels and that sticky residue (or just the residue if you’ve already peeled the bulk of the label off).

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Fill a pot (I usually use my Dutch oven) 3/4 of the way with water and put it on the stove. Carefully put your jars into the pot. (You’ll probably need to tilt them to fill them up with water so that they sink!) Turn the burner on high and either sprinkle in some baking soda or a squeeze of liquid dish soap. I’ve had success with both, so use whatever is within arm’s reach.

You can let the jars simmer until the labels peel off on their own, or you can get in there with a pair of tongs and (carefully) encourage the labels to come off. Use the tongs to take each jar out and let them cool on a dish towel. If they still have traces of a sticky residue, rub those parts with baking soda — the glass should come clean in a matter of seconds.

Then just wash the jars with soap and warm water and they’re ready.

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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

In case you’re wondering why we’re talking about this now, well, there are two reasons. For starters, Earth Day is coming up, and the best way to keep something out of landfills is to reuse it if at all possible. Also, we just decorated an Easter brunch table almost exclusively with pickle, olive, and salsa jars. And we have zero regrets.

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