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Old 02-10-2013, 04:18 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 13
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This works wonders for removing labels without ever scrubbing bottles! Thank you science for improving life once again. Removes labels like a champ, and gets rid of mold too.

You will need:

- 1 cooler that you don't use for anything else. Think Goodwill or search your garage/shed for whatever size plastic cooler you can find.
- 1 bottle Ammonia.
- Dish Soap (dial and 7th generation work best) [NO BLEACH PRODUCTS]
- Rubber kitchen gloves (the kind with the textured palm)
- mask and goggles (i think i have to list these, but i don't use them)
- Time

What you do:

Don the gloves for every single thing you do in this process. Goggles and a mask are advisable if you are the accident prone type. Ammonia reeks. I use the lemon-scented variety, but it still smells like ammonia and lemons.

Dump the ammonia into the now-single-purpose cooler. Fill the now empty ammonia container 4 times with water (that's a good ratio) and add it to the cooler.

Add some liquid dish soap. Eyeball this based on the cooler size. Add the amount you would use to soak dirty pans in that cooler.

Stir. You now have what science calls "sudsy ammonia" for about 1/5th of the price that you can buy a pre-made bottle of it for.

Fill your cooler with bottles, submerging them entirely. As many as can go, as long as your label is submerged.

Let is sit for an afternoon. Don the gloves again. Keep your head away from the cooler as you open it and remove bottles. This stuff stinks, but the stink doesn't stick to the bottle. Attempt to wipe the label off. Some brands - Magic Hat, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium - come off with such ease you will be amazed. The glue residue wipes off with another pass or two of the textured palm. Some brands - Real Ale, most european brews - may take a day or two, or sometimes even a week or two. Some won't come off at all (certain overpriced german brews come to mind here), so drop them in your city recycling bin.

From what I can tell you have about a month before the soap and ammonia start to denature in the cooler and lose their effect. But at $1.12 for a bottle of ammonia and what amounts to $0.08 of soap, you will save money within the first 2 weeks. I have now done this with 3 cases worth of bottles from 6 different brands and I have had been extremely pleased. Not even a hint of label glue is left and some very old mold has been cleaned out.

Rinse the bottles well, dry them, and they are ready to store indefinitely in a dry place. Then post a comment thanking me for this awesome tip. ;-)

***Please keep in mind that even though ammonia is sold at your local grocer, it is not exactly the safest thing in the world. Always wear the gloves. NEVER let it come in contact with bleach, or even the faintest amount of bleach residue. If that bottle has the fancy foil crap on the neck, recycle that bad boy. Nothing reactive needs to go into this mix. I'm not trying to scare you, so think of this like the warning on StarSan - it's there cause someone hurt themselves once. But they were probably doing something stupid.***

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Old 02-10-2013, 04:23 AM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 88
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I'm glad that works for you but I disagree. The only thing I've ever needed was one step and hot water. The labels fall off.

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Old 02-10-2013, 04:29 AM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Windsor, Ontario
Posts: 71
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well unless you're dealing with vinyl labels
Simple beer doesn't have to be boring beer.

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Old 02-10-2013, 04:41 AM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: escondido, california
Posts: 54
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PBW and water + overnite sit, and done.

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Old 02-10-2013, 04:43 AM   #5
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: None, Far Northern Maine
Posts: 19
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Hot Water and "pulse oxy strong stain remover" from family dollar Around 5$ for 3.5lb. one scoop in a 5 gallon pail. Most Labels fall off soon with a little scrubbing to remove the glue and a warm water rinse. thats what i do, its fast and easy. One tub lasted me for at least 8 brews and i also use it to clean all of my equipment before and after fermenting, and the used bottles also. I sanitize with star san that i also use a 5 gallon pail for. Wine bottles are a little more work but i just use a razor scraper first on the paper.

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Old 02-10-2013, 05:52 AM   #6
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Marysville, WA
Posts: 606
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water and a couple small scoops of oxy and 95% come off in a day. No nasty chemicals, no skin burns. While I am sure amonina and other chemicals work fine... why use something that requires that kind of protection? Unecessary.

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Old 02-10-2013, 02:51 PM   #7
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 88
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I don't know. Everytime I do it with one step, the labels fall off in minutes.

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Old 02-10-2013, 03:09 PM   #8
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Knoxvegas, Tennessee
Posts: 31
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I use primarily the shorter Sierra style bottle and have never had a problem removing labels by filling the bottle with super hot water and then soaking in a sink of hot tap water. Let them soak for about 15 minutes and the labels just pretty much come off. Maybe a little green scrubbing of some glue but that's it.

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Old 02-10-2013, 03:24 PM   #9
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Wichita, Ks
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I remove labels with hot water and dish soap . A couple minutes in that and they just fall off and I remove the remaining glue with scotch brite . Vinyl labels ? hmmm . Hit em with denatured alcohol or acetone . that will teach em a lesson .

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Old 02-10-2013, 03:32 PM   #10
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Yorkville, Illinois
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+1 for oxyclean and water heater hot water. I let my kitchen faucet run for 5 min at hot then fill up the sink with one scoop of oxy. Add bottles let sit for an hour and they all fall off. Plus you just did your wife a favor by cleaning the sink!

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