Cooking Oil to Remove Labels

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:

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 Irishwitch from Aurora,CO

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January 20, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks very much, JodiT, for this hint. I'm going to try it pronto because, I, too, use lots of plastic jars for many craft projects and those darn labels are really difficult to get off, if ever!

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May 10, 20160 found this helpful

I tried it and it work great thanks so much for your help, I had been trying to get the glue off of 2 puckers for a week now, I will remember this again and thanks so much

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August 20, 20160 found this helpful

I still can;t get the label off.I;m trying baby oil. Its a cookie plastic Container,Excelian for gifts.thank-you please help me.

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December 7, 20160 found this helpful

I have a different problem with price stickers on a wood surface that I want to paint on. You cannot use oil to remove the sticker if you are going to paint with acrylic.


Sometimes even the hair dryer won't remove it. I wish they would not place those stickers on a surface that is intended for a painter to paint on.

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January 13, 20170 found this helpful

This worked for me in seconds! You don't know how many times I ruined a plastic container being in a hurry to remove the gummy residue from a price sticker. Thank you so much! Never too old to learn something useful!

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March 21, 20170 found this helpful

I put mine in freezer for about 30 seconds and it peel off. I peeled off about 50 medicine bottles no trouble at all but had 2 that did not peel off good. Now try the oil.

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April 5, 20200 found this helpful


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