Removing Labels from Medicine Bottles?

I want to donate my prescription medicine bottles to the Humane Society. Can anyone tell me how to get the labels off when they are really stuck?


By Lorraine from St. Louis

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April 15, 20091 found this helpful
Best Answer

Soak them in warm soapy water for about ten minutes and they shoud come right off! Another way is to use some type of cooking oil on a cloth and rub until they're gone.

Goo Gone or Goo Off is supposed to be great for removing sticky stuff, but I haven't tried it.

Good Luck!

August 23, 20161 found this helpful

I tried this method and it didn't work for me. I still had the glue on the pill bottles and they were sticky.

March 13, 20170 found this helpful

put in freezer for about 1 minute...


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April 21, 20092 found this helpful
Best Answer

I use a hair dryer to warm the labels and then they just peel off nicely! Veterinarians also take clean prescription bottles. I divide ours up between the vets in town (My hubby has had a liver transplant so we go through bunches).


Grandma Jan and Kato the Wonder Dog

February 9, 20170 found this helpful

I truly wouldn't want to re-cycle a prescription bottle knowing that my beloved animal is getting a med in them. I wouldn't put gum or candy or anything consumable in them. They can be recycled by your city.

An older child who is used to seeing a prescription bottle could accidentally take deadly meds or try to break the bottle open with a rock. Kids can teach adults many unfortunate lessons. I would only use them for small craft items.

All medicine containers should be locked up. I thoroughly rinse mine out, soak and scrap the labels off and, when I think of it, I crush them so they can't be re-used by anyone for anything. I would be appalled if thought I received anything in a used script bottle.


It's great to be frugal and brainstorm and I'm not saying that there are not some cute ideas for re-using the bottles- I'm not trying to offend anyone. I'm truly voicing some concerns I have. Thank you.

June 23, 20170 found this helpful

my dad uses them to store screws and bolts in, actually. More handy than the plastic containers because of the gaps in the top.

June 14, 20190 found this helpful

I'd normally agree if the idea was to use them around the house for one's personal use (or to start storing aspirin or something), but the OP is asking this so that she can donate the empty bottles to the Humane Society. When animals are rescued and fostered outside of a shelter, etc., they need to be able to take home deworming medicine at the time they pick up the dogs.


These empty pill bottles are great for that, are usually re-labeled (the rescue I work with has new stickers clearly stating what they are) that don't resemble human prescriptions, and the rescue fosters know to keep them out of reach of children. It's also usually a liquid and not a pill. The pill bottles are watertight when shut so it's a good solution.

June 14, 20190 found this helpful

And they'd be thoroughly cleaned so there'd be no residue from the previous med.


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April 22, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try lighter fluid. It works for taking labels off magazines, stamps off envelopes, etc. It evaporates in a few seconds and leaves no residue behind. Or on the plastic pill bottles, vegetable oil might work, also.


Harlean from Arkansas

January 18, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

The best way to remove labels from medicine bottles:
1. Heat water up to boiling (tea kettle works best)
2. Pour the water in the bottles once hot.
3. Put cap back on medicine bottle.
4. Wait One minute or until the label will come up by scratching corner with finger nail
5. Pull label off and re-stick to sheet of paper to shred.

September 4, 20161 found this helpful

This did work to get the labels off, but the medicine bottles melted. It might work on some bottles with thicker plastic, but it didn't work on the medicine bottles provided by my pharmacy.

September 12, 20130 found this helpful
Best Answer

1. Immerse vial in small bowl or cup of water.
2. Microwave for 2 minutes.
3. Peel label off with fingernail.
4. Remove residual glue with "Goo Gone" or similar product.

August 18, 20162 found this helpful
Best Answer

I also go through a lot, and donate them to Medicine Bottles for Malawi, and the coolest, easiest, no-peel way I've found to get them off is by spraying them with Goo-Gone, wrap in a paper towel, wait overnight, then when you take the paper towel off, the entire label comes with it! No residue left! Just don't do what my mother-in-law did: Used a Sharpie to cross out everything and then gave them to me to do the Goo-Gone. I was covered in Sharpie.

April 16, 20090 found this helpful

Goo Gone, a product that removes anything sticky. It's great and really works. You can get it at Walmart and other stores.

April 21, 20090 found this helpful

I can usually get the labels off if I peel veeeeryy slowly. also soaking them in hot water helps. How does one donate them to the Humane Society?

July 3, 20210 found this helpful

We are donating ours to Doctors Without Borders

May 18, 20131 found this helpful

We remove the lables for the missionaries. We pull off as much dry and then pour hot water over them.

June 10, 20132 found this helpful

30 seconds in microwave and then remove the label.

March 31, 20160 found this helpful

Put hot water in the bottle, let sit two minutes, put the lid on and let sit two more minutes. Peel label off. This works really well

March 6, 20170 found this helpful

First, score the labels...I use a razor blade to make lines one way and then the other way, making little squares. DO NOT PRESS SO HARD,
since you don't want to cut the bottle. Just scratch the surface. Now, let it sit in a sink of very hot water. I actually start working the surface right away BRIEFLY, to create spaces that the water can penetrate.


I use my fingernails...or you can use the scrubber side of a sponge. Don't work TOO hard on this, because the water will do most of it. If you add Dawn to the water, the glue residue will come off pretty easily.

March 27, 20170 found this helpful

I put jars, bottles etc in the microwave and add some water. The heat and steam will release the labels without any messy residue left .


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