I got the Basic Brewing DVD, and on it they suggest soaking bottles in warm water for a while, then peeling the labels off as best you can, then using a stainless steel scouring pad to take off the rest of the gunk. I tried it, and it works as advertised. I used a large ice chest in leiu of a large sink, and found the water gunked up terribly - which means I had to change it out between bottle batches, and had to dump it out in the yard for fear I'd clog my drains inside. The scouring pad also gunked up 'til it was unusable.
Next time around, I had seen here on HBT where an overnight soak in warm to hot water spiked with OxyClean will cause the labels to remove themselves. So I gave it a shot, and it also worked as advertised. The labels literally floated off all by themselves, and I was left with nice neat waste water. Also involved no scouring pad whatever. A distinct improvement!
On de-label session no. 3 -- each of these sessions invloved about two cases worth of bottles -- I used too-tepid water and/or not enough OxyClean, evidently, as I was back to a lot of what I describe in the first paragraph, and that's a lotta work...
On session no. 4, I made sure the water was plenty hot, nearly too much to stand sticking an arm in, but not enough to cause scalding, and added half a scoop of OxyClean, and was back to second paragraph results. De-labeling is as painless as it's ever gonna get using this method. The ice chest keeps the water nice and hot for a couple days, too.
I also can't praise my Fermtech double bottle rinser enough . . . I love that dude!!
Fermtech Bottle Washers, Avvinator Bottle Rinser/Sanitizer and Bottle Drainers - Wine Making Superstore!
Just thought I'd share...