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Best way to get labels off wine & whiskey bottles?

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elephant

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Thread title says it all. I tried to peel them off but now they're covered in sticky glue and half torn off labels.
 

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Try in order water, then isopropyl alcohol, then acetone. One of those pretty much always works. As a last resort the original goo-gone (or is it goof-off?) with xylene will cut through anything.
 

Pappers_

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I fill the sink with hot water and add PBW (Powdered Brewery Wash). Soak the bottles in there, and the labels come right off.

If you don't have PBW, you could try this substitute. Recipe for making a substitute PBW beer equipment cleaner
I find this to be true for most beer bottles, but not for most wine bottles. No amount of soaking most wine bottles makes the labels just come off like they do most beer bottles. Must be a different labeling process for wineries. I don't even try anymore, I just buy the wine bottles.
 

videojunkie1208

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OxyClean does a pretty good job on both wine and beer bottles. rinse well before sanitizing. I use a use gift card as a scraper, and use a scrubby sponge to get the residue off at the end, but usually a minute or two of scrubbing after soaking for a bit.
 

Maylar

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Hot water soak followed by scraping with a knife blade. Glue residue usually needs naphtha (lighter fluid) or lacquer thinner with a scrub pad. I agree with Pappers, it's more trouble than it's worth. I'll reuse my own bottles, since my labels come off easily, but I don't reuse commercial bottles any more.
 

Sparge

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I put them in a five gallon bucket then fill it with soapy water. Leave it for a few days, then peel the labels off and put back in the water for a couple more days. Then use a pot scrubber to remove any residual glue. Not counting the soaking time, I can do a bucket of bottles in a few minutes. The key is to let them soak, then soak again to remove the glue.
 
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elephant

elephant

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I actually found a very effective way ... I collect old books and sometimes you get them with a price tag from 1980 or something still on them. I found the best way is to scratch if off very carefully, then cover it oil and a layer of plastic wrap and leave it there for 24 hours ... or at least overnight. Afterwards the 40-year-old gunk comes off with the wipe of a tissue without damaging the book.

Anyway ... obviously I tried the same thing with the bottle labels, and it worked perfectly. You don't even have to be careful obviously. I let them soak in hot water over night, then scraped as much as I could off with a knife. I then smeared them with a liberal dose of cheap oil, covered in plastic wrap over-night and the rest rubbed off with a tissue and a bit of pressure.
 

SteveO820

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I also use the hot water in a pot on the stove with Oxiclean. Get the water nice and hot, almost boiling, and then hold the bottle in for a minute. The label and glue seem to come right off, easy peasy.
 

bmd2k1

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Hot water & baking soda soak in sink. Scrape with plastic knife or old credit card if needed. WD40 on a rag to remove any glue residue -- then rinse.

Cheers and Good Luck!
 

RufusBrewer

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PBW is my go to. If PBW and Oxyclean cost the same, there would be no debate. My experience is PBW rinses clean, while Oxyclean can leave residue.

Here is where somebody pipes up and says, "I have used Oxyclean for years and never had a problem." Which I do not doubt. The FACT is I have used Oxyclean and had problems. I know of others that had issues with Oxyclean. YRMV

Yes, PBW is more expensive than Oxyclean. The question becomes, Is PBW "worth" the expense? IMHO. Yes. The reworking and scrubbing off the Oxyclean film I had on my bottles inspired me to swear off Oxyclean.

I am a right tool for the job kind of guy. Oyclean belongs in the laundry, PBW is for the brewery.
 

Maylar

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PBW is my go to. If PBW and Oxyclean cost the same, there would be no debate. My experience is PBW rinses clean, while Oxyclean can leave residue.
I haven't used Oxyclean, but I have PBW and don't like it. As you said, it does wash off clean but the film is more stubborn than One-Step, which is my cleaner of choice. The PBW does a good job on my laundry sink however, and that's an important part of the brew room.
 

Raptor99

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I've tried most of the methods mentioned in this thread. Different brands of wine use different kinds of glue, and I haven't found a single method that works for all bottles. Sometimes even the front and back labels will use a different kind of glue, because the back label is added by the importer.

A few will come off with a hot water soak. Some others use a vegetable based glue, so I rub some olive oil on the label and let it sit overnight. I might need to reapply the oil a few times. Then some labels will peel right off. But others won't be affected by this at all. If I can sort of scrape the label off, naphtha (lighter fluid) will often take off the residual glue. If a label is too difficult to remove I just recycle the bottle because it is not worth the trouble.
 

Maylar

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If a label is too difficult to remove I just recycle the bottle because it is not worth the trouble.
Wine bottle labels always seem to be applied with some NASA engineered monkey snot. Soaking overnight in hot water helps, but they always need some scraping. And yeah, naptha does great for the residual glue. I will reuse bottles with my own labels because they come off easily, but I've taken to buying new instead of getting them from my favorite restaraunt.
 
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