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Relabeling: Tips for Removing Old Label Adhesives

October 27, 2014

Canning is a popular method of preserving food where the contents are processed and sealed in an airtight container. The shelf life of canned foods ranges from 1 - 5 years. On that point are a bunch of different foods that can be preserved, which is why canning has been an indispensable component of life historically. Canning is still very popular to this day and canners know that it is important to reuse mason jars whenever possible. This is also a great way to recycle other old jars after using up all of the spaghetti sauce, pickles, applesauce, or anything else that you bought in a jar.

Since it is important to label all of your canned goods, you need to find a good way to remove old labels from the jars that you recycle. There are a few different techniques for doing this and they all work well. In this post we will cover a few of the best ways to remove old label residue and you can decide which way is best for you.

Method 1: This method is completely chemical free!

The first step in this process is filling your sink with warm soapy water. Bring the water to the hottest temperature that you can handle putting your hands in.

The next step is to peel off as much of the old label as you can and place the jars in the soapy water. Place as many as you can in the water and let them sit in there for 5 minutes.

While the jars are soaking you can perform the next step, which is making a little mix to get rid of the remainder of the label residue. To do this you need to add equal parts of baking soda and vegetable/olive oil to a bowl and mix it all up until it becomes pasty.

The next step is to take the jars from the soapy water after they have soaked for a bit. You can simply pat them down with a towel if you want, or leave them wet. Now it is time to take the pasty mixture that you made and rub it all over the old label and residue on the jar.

Once the pasty mixture is applied you need to let the jars sit for a few minutes to let the mixture help break down the residue.

After the mixture has time to do its job you can begin to wipe it away with a clean soft material. This will get all of the residue off since the oil helps break down the label adhesive and the baking soda adds a bit of texture to help clean it away. If there is anything that does not come off you can just use a regular scrubby dish sponge and wash the rest away.

Method 2Nail Polish Remover

The first step here is similar to the other processes. Remove as much of the old label as you can, then you soak the jars in some warm soapy water in your sink. Use the warmest water possible and just let them soak for 5 minutes.

Next, you want to take a cloth with the warm soapy water and try to clean off as much of the sticky residue as you can. After you do that you can set the jars on your counter before getting ready for the next step.

Now it is time to use the nail polish remover, and the best way to do this is with a paper towel. You then get some nail polish remover on the paper towel and start wiping away at any sticky areas on the jar.

After you have cleaned the residue all off with the nail polish remover is very important to wash all of the jars again with clean, warm soapy water. This will ensure that you get all of the chemicals off of the jar before you use it again.

Method 3: This is another totally chemical free manner to get rid of old label adhesive

The 3rd method that we want to go over requires a blow dryer and a few minutes of your time.

Once you have your blow dryer ready to go, it is time to sit down with your old labeled jars. This process is simple and it works by applying heat to the label to help break down the adhesive so the label peels away cleanly.

The best way to manage this is by placing the labeled jar between your knees and starting to apply the heat to the edge of the label. After a minute or so the edge of the label will start to come off so you want to get a grip on the edge as it peels up.

As you start to slowly peel the label off you want to keep moving the heat up along the label as you slowly peel it away. After a few minutes of doing this you will get the whole label off and much of the sticky residue should come off with the label.

If there is any remaining residue left on the jars usually just washing the areas with warm soap and water will get it all off. You can also choose to just run the jars through the dishwasher after the blow dryer step. The dishwasher heat and water pressure should take away any leftover stickiness.

Once you have all of your jars clean they can now be reused for all of your canning needs with fresh labels!

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