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Removing Labels from Plastic Containers

Category Cleaning
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You have a perfect reusable container if you can easily get that label off. This is a guide about removing labels from plastic containers.
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Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

By 9 found this helpful
July 13, 2012

Use a hair dryer. Move it over label for a few minutes on warm, then turn dryer off. Start to peel from one corner. It should peel easily. If there is any residue left, use a cotton bud with a little eucalyptus oil. That will dissolve it. Wash in soapy water to clear any smell of the oil.

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By Lyn from Bowen, Australia

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By 11 found this helpful
January 19, 2011

I make a lot of presents using jars that have those darn sticky labels on them. Then I found this, it works wonderfully!

Lightweight, non-reactive, unbreakable, and usually airtight plastic containers are perfect for storing dried herbs and other treasures. Reusing them reduces waste and environmental impact much more effectively than labor - and chemistry-intensive industrial recycling. The only hitch is those stupid labels. Most glues don't stick to plastic, so the ones used to stick labels on it have to be practically bulletproof. Unlike glass containers, plastic ones can't be de-labeled by soaking in hot water. Scrubbing scratches up the plastic, and even then it only removes the paper. Tacky glue remains to stick to hands and attract dirt. But, removing labels from plastic containers is deceptively easy once you know how. For success every time, without scratched containers or residual glue, follow this simple procedure:

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Apply a thick coat of cooking oil to the label in question. Allow it to soak in, undisturbed, for 24 hours. Try to peel the label off. If it comes readily, proceed to the next step. If it doesn't, repeat steps 1 and 2. (Many labels require two applications; some take several.) After the label has been peeled off, some sticky, partly dissolved glue will remain. To remove it, coat the area with oil a final time and allow it to sit overnight. Wipe off the oil and dissolved glue, then wash the container in hot, soapy water. No trace of label or glue will remain.

Although this is not the book in which you'd expect to find information about removing labels, it does in fact have one of the best set of directions for solving this very commonly frustrating challenge. It is also one of my favorite books, because of tidbits just such as this.

Source: Adapted from The Neighborhood Forager, by Robert K. Henderson and Annie B. Bond

By JodiT from Aurora,CO

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June 22, 20170 found this helpful

When removing the label glue from plastic bowls remember to make sure that the product you use is safe to use on plastic. This is a guide about removing label glue from plastic bowls.

Green plastic bowls.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
November 7, 2009

How do you remove adhesive label from plastic?

By Tammie from Fenton, MI

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Answers

November 8, 20090 found this helpful

The way I remove labels is to apply oil,I use olive oil, to the label and let it soak. The oil will soften the label so you can peel it off. Also the oil doesn't harm the substrate.

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November 9, 20090 found this helpful

WD-40 works very well.Just spray a little on a rag and wipe.Let it soak for a minute and the glue will disolve.Then clean the WD-40 with any all purpose cleaner.

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November 9, 20090 found this helpful

I use a hair dryer, it works great for removing the glued stickers or labels. aim your hair dryer at label and start slowly pulling it away from what ever it's stuck to. Watch your fingers because the air gets hot! Voila! It's off in about a minute!

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November 10, 20090 found this helpful

Spray a tiny bit of no stick cooking spray on it or, W/D 40 type solution.

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November 10, 20090 found this helpful

Hot water inside the container can be used to remove labels from plastic, metal, or glass. Most labels are heat sensitive, so fill container with very hot water, allow heat to penetrate the label and then begin to slowly peel the label away. Keep the label dry and it is less likely to tear. Any remaining glue residue can be removed with goo gone.

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November 11, 20090 found this helpful

Hi Tammie, After peeling off the label as best I can, if there is any adhesive left on I use Surgical Spirit to remove the adhesive, I think perhaps you might call it Rubbing Alcohol in the USA (I'm in the UK).

Sometimes I might rinse a just empty jar then when I have my daily bath, the jar soaks along with me; that way lots of stubborn labels remove easily. I hope this helps.

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Anonymous
November 11, 20090 found this helpful

Almost every time GooGone has worked for me ;-)

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November 11, 20090 found this helpful

With some labels the glue will dissolve with hot water. For those that don't, use lighter fluid. It won't hurt the plastic. I use lighter fluid for a million things around the house. Label goo, tar, tree sap, scuff marks, candle was residue. It removes magic marker from many surfaces. I've used it on my car, clothes, floors and walls, glass, plastic, even on myself and I've never had a surface so far that it's hurt. It evaporates, doesn't have an offensive odor, and it's cheap. Works ten times better than that expense Goo Gone or Goof Off and a lot less expensive. We don't smoke but have lighter fluid everywhere; under Kitchen and bathroom sink, laundry room, garage, even in my office. It's a multipurpose product!

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August 18, 20100 found this helpful

Use a product called oops! you can purchase at any hardware store. It removes paint, tar, lipstick gum, label residue, marker pen ink, glue and crayon. I remover glue left over from plastic container in about 10 seconds.

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May 15, 20110 found this helpful

How does one remove the sticky residue left after removing labels from plastic jars?

By Richard D.

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May 15, 20110 found this helpful

Hello Richard. I have used a product called googone. But I have found that any oil will do the job.Just rub the oil on the spot where the label was. Keep rubbing and soon the label residue will be gone the just wash with soap and hot water.

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May 15, 20110 found this helpful

Hello Richard. I have used a product called googone. But I have found that any oil will do the job.Just rub the oil on the spot where the label was. Keep rubbing and soon the label residue will be gone the just wash with soap and hot water.

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May 17, 20110 found this helpful

WD40 will work as well also

http://www.wd40  home-and-garden/

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By 0 found this helpful
January 4, 2011

How do I get the sticky labels off plastic containers?

By Kaky

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Answers

January 5, 20110 found this helpful

Heat the label with your hair dryer and it will pull off easily and not leave any glue.

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January 7, 20110 found this helpful

Try WD-40 for the last little bit of gunk. Or if you want to buy something you can use Goo-Gone.

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January 7, 20110 found this helpful

How about steel wool and hot water? I get lots of labels off this way with little effort and no chemicals.

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January 11, 20110 found this helpful

Use vegetable oil (Crisco, Wesson) by putting on the label so it is saturated & let it stay on there for 15-20 mins. then try to remove. Repeat if still there. A quicker fix is Good B Gone which is meant specifically for this. Vegetable oil works, just slower & usually have to re apply more than one time.

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By 0 found this helpful
July 6, 2017

How do I remove the plastic label off of the rectangular prismatic Temptations brand cat food boxes? It is a plastic label like on the newer Stater Brothers water bottles.

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January 15, 20060 found this helpful

How do you remove the labels from laundry detergent and kitty litter jugs? Some of them seem to be sealed on. - M

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Answers

January 16, 20060 found this helpful

Try GooGone. It's awesome on stuff like that. Also if you have some lighter fluid handy it works well on non-flamable areas.

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 16, 20060 found this helpful

Have you tried a hairdryer?

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 16, 20060 found this helpful

I have used cooking oil to get labels off things. All you have to do is cover the label real good with cooking oil and let it soak in the label, and then peel it off...

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 27, 20060 found this helpful

Let me clarify this request... the product name, etc is not a label (as in paper glued onto the package) it is some kind of plastic which seems heat (?) sealed onto the container. I have had marginal success using packaging tape to strip the product info off yet this is expensive! Help! These are fabulous containers (laundry detergent, cat litter, etc) for planting flowers, tomotoes, etc yet I don't want to advertise the previous contents! thanks -

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June 7, 20130 found this helpful

I have tried most everything. It takes forever. Trust me I have used many, many techniques some are better then others, but it still takes a long long time. I am only talking about plastic bottles.

By Mario

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January 12, 20150 found this helpful

I need a quick way to get labels off of a plastic bottle. It is a hand soap bottle.

By KJeffery

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May 27, 20130 found this helpful

I have tried to find almost everything. What is the best way to take labels off plastic bottles, jars, etc.

By Mario F.

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November 14, 20120 found this helpful

I'm at a loss to remove a label from a baby wipes container (Pampers brand). It seems to be sealed onto the container. Anyone?

ByJemma

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By 0 found this helpful
February 3, 2014

How do you remove glue from a plastic container? I have tried soaking the plastic with liquid soap wrapped around a washcloth. It did not work.

By Sherrie

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May 30, 20130 found this helpful

I am having a difficult time removing labels off plastic jars, etc. I have tried many suggestions. Glass is easy. Some labels on plastic jars are crazy hard to remove.

By Mario F.

Answer Was this helpful? Yes

April 30, 20130 found this helpful

What is the best way to get labels off plastic bottles? I have tried almost everything.

By Mike

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March 25, 20130 found this helpful

How do I remove the label from hard plastic fresh pie and cake containers that are purchased in the bakery section of stores?

By L.W.

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January 4, 20110 found this helpful

It's nice to use the clear plastic bakery containers from Superstores for your own food giving, but what about the label? Try to pull very slowly so it comes off in one piece, then use the label itself instead of commercial products to remove the glue residue. Place it over the glue spots, scrape your fingernail across it, and pull it up. Much of the glue will come off. If you keep dabbing the label on, then pulling off, then dabbing, etc., soon you will have a residue-free container with no scratch marks that you can re-use.

By Patricia from Imperial, NE

Answers:

Removing Labels from Plastic Containers

A hairdryer works great, too, and normally doesn't leave a sticky residue. (08/11/2008)

By Pat

Removing Labels from Plastic Containers

That sounds like a lot of hard work. I have a few suggestions on top of that. First peanut butter will take off adhesive. Take off as much as the label as you can, then rub peanut butter over till gone. You can also try crisco or another oil of some kind. Heat, like from a hair dryer or soak in hot sudsy water will work most of the time. I hope this helps too. (08/11/2008)

By shirleyamh

Removing Labels from Plastic Containers

Isopropyl rubbing alcohol is very good for removing left over glue from stickers and labels. It also will remove scuff marks on floors, shoes, car doors, and is a great way to clean glass and mirrors for a streak free shine. (08/11/2008)

By Rachel

Removing Labels from Plastic Containers

If you get some stuff called "UNDO" at a scrapbook supply store, it will take it off too. It also works very well on pine pitch and gum. (08/12/2008)

By Chris

Removing Labels from Plastic Containers

Lighter fluid always works the best for me. (08/31/2008)

By Denise

Removing Labels from Plastic Containers

Don't laugh, but try crunchy peanut butter! The oils help loosen it and the crunchy parts 'exfoliate' it off!
Nail polish remover is a good all-purpose sticky stuff remover too.
(02/24/2009)

By CM

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

November 7, 20090 found this helpful

How do I remove a large paper manufacturer's label that is glued on plastic? It is not one of those easily removable labels that use a peel off glue. I can't tear it off.

Dennis from Vernon, NJ

Answers:

Removing Labels from Plastic

Goo Gone works great for removing labels off of all surfaces. (11/21/2006)

By Erin B

Removing Labels from Plastic

Spray it with WD40, after a few minutes of letting it sit, it should wipe right off neatly.

Good luck. (11/21/2006)

By Paula Jo, Mebane NC USA

Removing Labels from Plastic

Gently use a hair dryer to heat up the glue. Do not get too close as it will warp the jar.

Soak in a sink of hot water then use Goo Gone and a safety razor blade and scrape down with the blade.
May have to resoak and and do Goo Gone again with the blade, but they do come off. Peanut butter jars are hard to get the labels off. I use the last method for it.
(11/25/2006)

By Mimipuppa

Removing Labels from Plastic

I bought two craft boxes with transparent plastic lids only a couple of days ago, tried to peel the labels off and ended up with a real mess that even detergent and warm water wouldn't shift. My tip is to use acetone free nail polish remover, applied with a make up remover pad. It works like a dream. Rinse with clean water, wipe dry and buff a little no damage or "clouding" at all to the plastic lid. (08/30/2007)

By Lorraine Weaver

RE: Removing Labels from Plastic

Removing Labels from Plastic

Saturate the label with cooking spray (Pam), and let set for about 10 minutes. Scrape off label with plastic pot scraper, edge of plastic spatula or something plastic. Repeat if necessary. Wash and use container. Cooking spray is meant for food, so is safe on any type of container. (08/31/2007)

By Jean

Removing Labels from Plastic

I use a hair dryer to get the label off and lighter fluid to remove the residue. (08/31/2008)

By sybers

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

November 21, 20060 found this helpful

Whatever method you use, first test the cleaning/removal material in an inconspicuous part of the surface the label is stuck on the be sure it will not damage that surface.

If the label on the plastic has been wet, or the article has been stored where it was hot or humid, it will be more difficult to remove.

1. Dampen a small piece of cloth, or the end of a swab stick (cotton twisted on the end of a wooden match or orange stick). Dip cotton end in dry cleaning fluid.

2. Allow the fluid to remain on the label only long enough to allow the label to be rubbed off. Wipe away excess fluid immediately, and wash article in sudsy water and dry. (DO NOT ALLOW FLUID TO REMAIN ON THE PLASTIC SURFACE VERY LONG, AS IT WILL DULL THE FINISH OF THE PLASTIC.)

This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus, with reference from Mary Ellen Delsipee, and Isabel Jones, previous Extension specialists.

Source: MSU Extension

Comment Was this helpful? Yes
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