Originally Posted by SoonerDoc
I just meant does the OxyClean really help that much? My labels come off fairly easily even if I soak in hot water for only 30 minutes or so.
Yes. OxyClean really does help that much.
When I first started brewing, I cleaned 200+ bottles by soaking them in the bathtub overnight filled with super-hot water. The labels came off ok, some even floated off, but it took some scrubbing with the rough side of a sponge on some to get all the glue off, and on others the glue simply didn't dissolve enough, and I had to use a putty knife to get them off, then finish it with the sponge. It was a pain in the back... quite literally.
I did some homework here, and elsewhere n the web, and OxyClean (specifically OxyClean Free... no chlorine, dyes or perfumes) was the prevailing solution. So, I gave it a try.
Night and day.
While hot water and a little elbow grease did work, and work well, the OxyClean worked so much better. Volumes better. David vs Goliath better! A soak in super-hot water and OxyClean (1 ounce of powder to 5 gallons of water) for 10-20 minutes and the labels were all left on the bottom of the bucket. Even the foil on Negra Modello bottles peeled off easily. A light pass with sponge removed the feebly clinging glue residue from every bottle.
One side benefit I've never heard mentioned was this: quite a lot of the bottles I get come from friends who don't rinse them before putting them to the side for me, and most of them end up with a mold colony clinging to the bottom (dried on, and holding on for dear life). Previously, with hot water and/or soap and a bottle brush, I'd struggle to get these out and would just pitch the bottles that had anything left in them. With the OxyClean, those little mold colonies detach from the glass within 15 seconds of getting wet and float up to the surface. I have had to take a brush to 4 bottles (out of 150 or so) since using Oxy, and have thrown none away.
Can't say for sure, but I think that OxyClean attacks the protein bonds in the mold, and causes them to detach from the glass. The same for the glue on most labels.
So yeah, hot water, a putty knife, a scrubber and some effort will work just fine. OxyClean will work better. Dunno' about you, but I'd rather work smarter than harder, and use that saved time actually enjoying my beer. Better living through modern chemistry. *grins*
Also, did a bit of a comparison between OxyClean and the Sun Oxygen Cleaner knockoff, and found that even at double the strength the knockoff wasn't as effective as regular Oxy. YMMV.