Label Removal Thread

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chaserchap

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I've only cleaned Schlafly (a local brewery) bottles so far, but they are a piece of cake. I let them soak in warm water with a little dish soap (which is probably unnecessary) then after an hour or so the labels peel right off...I take the rough side of a sponge to the glue and it practically just wipes off. I would assume that most smaller brewery's would be slightly easier to get off...but I only have experience with one...
 

tjp68

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I've only cleaned Schlafly (a local brewery) bottles so far, but they are a piece of cake. I let them soak in warm water with a little dish soap (which is probably unnecessary) then after an hour or so the labels peel right off...I take the rough side of a sponge to the glue and it practically just wipes off. I would assume that most smaller brewery's would be slightly easier to get off...but I only have experience with one...
I keep two 5 gallon buckets half filled with PBW solution in my unheated garage. I only save Schlafly and Sierra Nevada bottles. When finished with a beer, I drop it into the bucket and leave it.

When I check the bottle again a couple of days later, the labels are usually on the bottom of the bucket. As you say, a quick scrub with a sponge, and the glue residue is gone. It's very easy.

I have yet to try this with Rogue bombers, but that is next.
 

suicidal

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i just removed the labels off of a few bottles tonight. going from the guidance in this thread, i got some oxiclean free, and went to town.

sierra nevada - the labels fell off on their own in about 10 minutes soaking

magic hat - the label came off easily after soaking for 30 minutes but all the glue stayed on the bottle. I let the bottle soak a bit longer to disolve the glue, and it came off when i rinsed.

dogfish head - labels came off after about 20 minutes of soaking. glue rinsed off easily with no further soaking.

i have some new belgium bottles that I am going to do sometime soon. I just thought i would contribute to this thread.
 

sammy33

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Giving back. :mug: Thanks for all the suggestions in this thread. Here is how it went for me.


Empty bottles, 5g bucket, oxy-clean free, hot water and gloves.


Use 1 scoop of oxy-clean per 3 gallons of hot water. Mix well to dissolve the oxy-clean. Dunk the bottle in the oxy-clean filling each bottle. Let the bottles soak overnight for the best results. Use gloves!


Most of the labels will simply float off the bottles. Use a sponge to get off the glue residue. Rinse in hot water and your done removing labels!
 

McMalty

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i soak in PBW and soak in hot water for as long as possible.

BTW, pretty sure Saranac welds their labels on, they're hard as eff to get off, especially without tearing (if u care about that)
 

KreamCityKid

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I soak my bottles in very hot water with just a touch of regular dish soap and use a razor blade to remove any excess glue. Most labels will remove very easily after a few minute soak. Best luck is with Goose Island, New Glarus, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Bells. Others that have proved to be a pain Lake Front Brewing 22oz, DFH, Milwaukee Brewing Co, that have really stuck out.

I like using the method of very hot water and minimal use of soap to avoid any soapy residue left over. Having my razor blade handy to aid with the glue removal is necessary.

I haven't tried any other methods because this works well for me and is easily done in the sink.
 

mr_goodwrench

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When using OxiClean, I fill the bottles with plain tap water to keep them from floating and fill the bucket to just below the rim. That way there is no rinsing (I always clean my bottles immediately after pouring so there is no need for and Oxi soak.) That way I don't need to deal with the film that can occur. Of course, if you rinse with hot water, the film should not develop and if it does, a quick rinse in hot StarSan should do away with it, but I prefer to not deal with it at all.
 

burntcedar

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I fill my bottles up with hot water then sink them in the tub filled with scalding hot water and OxyClean. After about an hour go to work pulling off the easy labels and scrubbing the glue off with a dish scrubbing pad. A little elbow grease on the others and some peeling with my fingernails. Just did 3 cases last night in about 2 hours. Easiest bottles were: Bells (labels just slipped right off with no effort), DFH (the glue is a little thick), Magic Hat and New Belgium. Worst were: Old Smuttynose (almost not worth saving) and Sweetwater , and somehow a Pete's found its way into my bin and it was a real PIA.
 

Annubis

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I've got my entire collection of coke bottles soaking in a muriatic acid solution right now. I'll be honest, I was kind of scared of the stuff. I was worried about what to soak them in, terrified when I poured the acid into the water (NOT THE WATER INTO THE ACID) because it smoked a little...It's scary stuff but I hope it works. It's been about 12 hours, I"m going to check on them.
It may have been posted already, but I've only made it this far...

Muriatic acid is formally known as hydrochloric acid (HCl dissolved in water)- the stuff sold at my local hardware store is about 9 molar (chem geek speak for REALLY freaking strong). DON'T inhale the vapors; DO add acid to water, slowly!!! It can produce massive amounts of heat and even cause the water/acid mixture to boil out if you're not careful.

Neutralize the acid with baking soda (this also works if you have skin contact- rinse with water, dump baking soda onto it while you've got your contaminated part(s) in running water. Strip off contaminated clothes if you have to).

Having worked in a lab, it really makes me nervous to know people are using this... I really hope everyone who does elect to use muriatic acid is taking every precaution and READING THE WARNING LABELS.


Be safe, please ^.^

-Chris
 

dallasdb

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Annubis said:
Neutralize the acid with baking soda (this also works if you have skin contact- rinse with water, dump baking soda onto it while you've got your contaminated part(s) in running water.
Haha I just got a flashback to "Fight Club"
 

fdemt84

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I have found as cold of water as you can get works the best for me. I usually just fill the tub, and put the bottles in, fill each bottle so they sink and allow all the labels to be under the water... about 20-30 min later they are good... that or I throw them in the dishwasher with out soap and run them for a cycle.
 

0110x011

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Just de-labeled some champagne bottles for my Saison with the Oxyclean method. The Fantome labels literally slid right off, the Upright beers required some delicate peeling, but left little residue, and the Cantillon bottles........ well...... they were a bit more stubborn. But a scrubby and some elbow grease worked nicely!
 

Kam

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I just throw my bottles in a little water, hot or cold. After 10 or 15 minutes I take a bottle by the neck and with a rectangular razor held at roughly 45 degrees (in a razor holder) just skin (from top to bottom) the main labels off and then for the label on the neck just hold the razor flat to the bottle and rotate the bottle. Then for any remaining glue on the bottle I just use one of those green scrubber pads (wet) that you use to clean pans with by just grabbing the bottle with the pad and rotating the bottle. It’s quicker than you would think and works like a charm. Takes about a minute a bottle total time. Give it a try!
 

ryopo

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For stubborn glue residue I've found that vegetable oil works extremely well. I got a few cases of Hamm's returnables for free that had been sitting in my gf's grandma's garage for probably over ten years. I had no problem removing the labels, but the glue was another story. After doing lots of searching and experimenting I came across the wonders of veggie oil.

I just pour a little bit on the residue, let it sit for a few minutes and it wipes away with a sponge. It sounds stupid, but it has worked really well for me!
 

coryforsenate

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Oxyclean or the off brand version work amazingly well. I filled my bathtub with several dozen bottles, turned on the hot water, and dumped the stuff in. Half an hour later the labels had floated to the top and what little glue was left rinsed off.
 

Annubis

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I bottle wines, but labels are labels, in my world...

My LHBS mentioned to me that they use the hot water with oxyclean trick, but for an extra boost of power, they add bleach (a cap-full, say, per 5 gallons of water). So, I tried this. Glad I did it outside- you never know with bleach. The solution, if you wait for the oxyclean to dissolve completely, bubbles furiously after adding bleach. I'm guessing it released oxygen, as I didn't die or get chemical burns from the invisible released gasses.

I didn't notice any improvement on the label removals.

I did notice this: Any paper with foil in it is going to be a PITA to remove. It'll leave paper fuzz attached to stubborn glue residue on the bottle. Plastic/vinyl labels are easy; once you get a corner up, they just peel right off.

The labels that come off, but leave a plastic-film type of residue that kinda bubbles up, come off best with stainless steel ribbon scrubbers. They're less than $1.00 each in Asian groceries (for some reason, Giant Eagle doesn't carry them). I use ultra-concentrated Dawn with that, just in case it might help.

A friend of mine is a jeweler- I'm going to have him try copious amounts of my mead, then convince him to let me try to use his sand blaster. At the very least, it'll be interesting.
 

pm5k00

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I use warm water and dish soap, soak for 15 minutes then peel, and then use a stainless steel scrub pad for any residual label or adhesive. beers from dog fish head take the longest.
 

unionrdr

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I was putting the bottles in a pot of boiling water to slip the labels off,but the glue was a pita. So I then dug out an orange 5G bucket I'd gotten from home cheapo for $5. It holds 13 bottles,& just mixed enough PBW to cover them by about 2". Let'em sit overnight with the lid just sitting on top of the bucket. Labels slipped off,& glue is dissolved off all but Rogue & Sierra Nevada's. The rogue ones have to be lightly scraped & scrubbed;the Sierra Nevada's just need a light scrubbing to get the softened glue off.
It's the easiest way to get'em de-labeled & clean without killing myself doing it.
 

logan3825

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I use Oxiclean in warm water. I put the bottles in and let them sit 15m. After 15m I start peeling labels off to expose the glue. No need for scraping they are ready to easily peel off. By the time I am done peeling all the labels off the first ones I peeled labels off of can be pulled out and the glue will just wipe off. No scrubbing or waiting overnight.
 

Carnak

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First, thank you everyone for your suggestions. Thought I'd throw my 2 cents in since I've been experimenting with the best method of cleaning my own bottles. Arm and Hammer washing soda is fantastic for removing labels (as per Papazian's suggestion in his book) but I find it leaves a film that's hard to get off without excessive rinsing. I then started doing a secondary soak in oxyclean which removes the prior film but tends to leave it's own scale on the bottom of the inside of the bottles. I guess this means I have hard water.

I just tried some One Step and hot water, and after about an hour all the labels had slipped right off. I might be switching to B-Brite since it's also sanitizing. I am going to do a trial run with plain old baking soda since it's much cheaper than the One Step. Whichever method I find that's effective, I'll probably do a two stage process similar to someone's response early in the thread. Soak in One Step/baking soda/B Brite solution for removing labels. Quick rinse, then soak in StarSan or other. It might be overkill but I worry a little that you get some glue residue left in the solution that your bottles are in. Plus, what's a dollar worth of sanitizer versus a whole batch of beer.
 

Pappers_

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First, thank you everyone for your suggestions. Thought I'd throw my 2 cents in since I've been experimenting with the best method of cleaning my own bottles. Arm and Hammer washing soda is fantastic for removing labels (as per Papazian's suggestion in his book) but I find it leaves a film that's hard to get off without excessive rinsing. I then started doing a secondary soak in oxyclean which removes the prior film but tends to leave it's own scale on the bottom of the inside of the bottles. I guess this means I have hard water.

I just tried some One Step and hot water, and after about an hour all the labels had slipped right off. I might be switching to B-Brite since it's also sanitizing. I am going to do a trial run with plain old baking soda since it's much cheaper than the One Step. Whichever method I find that's effective, I'll probably do a two stage process similar to someone's response early in the thread. Soak in One Step/baking soda/B Brite solution for removing labels. Quick rinse, then soak in StarSan or other. It might be overkill but I worry a little that you get some glue residue left in the solution that your bottles are in. Plus, what's a dollar worth of sanitizer versus a whole batch of beer.
Have you tried, after the oxyclean or washing soda soak, a short soak in diluted vinegar? Cheap, and for my water at least, gets rid of any residue or scales. Plus, its cheap, like me ;)
 

Carnak

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Have you tried, after the oxyclean or washing soda soak, a short soak in diluted vinegar? Cheap, and for my water at least, gets rid of any residue or scales. Plus, its cheap, like me ;)
I tried a small amount of white vinegar on a couple that had the scale and that seemed to work well. What's a good ratio for a large batch (5 gal)?
 

Pappers_

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I tried a small amount of white vinegar on a couple that had the scale and that seemed to work well. What's a good ratio for a large batch (5 gal)?
Sorry I can't help, I've never measured it. I use a utility sink in my basement/brewery, fill it with what I would estimate might be 2 - 4 gallons of water (enough to cover the bottles) then pour in what might be 20% of a large bottle of plain white vinegar.
 

logan3825

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First, thank you everyone for your suggestions. Thought I'd throw my 2 cents in since I've been experimenting with the best method of cleaning my own bottles. Arm and Hammer washing soda is fantastic for removing labels (as per Papazian's suggestion in his book) but I find it leaves a film that's hard to get off without excessive rinsing. I then started doing a secondary soak in oxyclean which removes the prior film but tends to leave it's own scale on the bottom of the inside of the bottles. I guess this means I have hard water.
How long did you soak. I have never had a problem with film from Oxiclean. I don't soak for more than 20-30m though.
 

Carnak

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How long did you soak. I have never had a problem with film from Oxiclean. I don't soak for more than 20-30m though.
Well on at least one occasion it was overnight, but other times it's only been for an hour or two.

Edit: But this is also after the washing soda so maybe it's not Oxiclean's fault...
 

Carnak

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Sorry I can't help, I've never measured it. I use a utility sink in my basement/brewery, fill it with what I would estimate might be 2 - 4 gallons of water (enough to cover the bottles) then pour in what might be 20% of a large bottle of plain white vinegar.
What do you do to clean the bottles after this or is it just a rinse and then sanitize before use?
 

logan3825

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Well on at least one occasion it was overnight, but other times it's only been for an hour or two.

Edit: But this is also after the washing soda so maybe it's not Oxiclean's fault...
I know Oxiclean will leave a film but in most cases that is because somebody let it sit overnight. If you look further up in this thread I posted my procedure.(post #127)
 

lextasy23

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I use OxiClean also. Works pissa in a sink full of rocket hot tap water.

Then I do a quick rinse while they're wet to get potential film/scum off, and dry on my bottling rack. Then I do another bath of sanitizer before bottling.

But at this point I have so many delabeled bottles, a hot sanitizer bath is mostly all I need.
 

runningweird

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i put bottles in a big 50 gallon plastic drum, add water, and ammonia. labels come off within a day or two. oxy works, but ammonia is a sure thing for labels.
 

brewmcq

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Oxyclean, water and a long soak removes everything I've ever come across.

The most difficult to remove: Sam Adams and Otter Creek.

The easiest to remove: Smithwick's and Guinness (which are related, so prolly the same glue).
 

jeepinjeepin

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I have had no trouble with Sam Adams. Anything with a plastic sticker type label is a pain. CLR takes the paint off of Corona bottles.
 

Fennis

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For me Sam Adams have far and away been the easiest labels to remove. I fill a large cooler full of hot tap water and let the bottles soak for about 15-20 minutes. Some of the labels are already floating at the top and the rest slide right off. The water is usually hot enough to melt the glue away too, but for any remaining glue I scrub the bottle with fine steel wool, and it takes it right off.

The worst are ones with stickers, but I found that soaking them overnight with some oxy clean takes care of them. For ones with more stubborn labels, especially ones that use foil in the label as they seem to do an excellent job at keeping water away from the glue, steel wool takes care of it.
 

dr_al

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I keep a cooler outside with water and oxy, i just drop them in when i get them and come back 20 minutes to a week later wipe off the glue with a chore boy, foil i let soak, scrape then soak again, plastic i tear the edge up and let them soak again.

I need to try the starsan for some stone and corona bottles, if that doesn't work for all of them ill try CLR
 

Thefirebuilds

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New glarus labels are like off white kraft paper. They come off nicely all on their own. Another great reason to support them.
 

msh227

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Water and SOS pad.

I'm a big fan of Moosehead bottles for two reasons:

1. The beer is good!
2. The label comes off easy when it is dry. I then throw them in a water bath and take an SOS pad and lightly remove the glue and remainder of the label. Simple and fast and the SOS pad does not scratch the glass.

I've tried this method with other bottles and the labels were tough to remove!
 

Jayman931

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I don't know if its been said but Abita Brewing Co. labes are incredibly easy to remove...10 minutes in water and they are off...

Abita also makes great beer!
 

lex990

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i found a delabelers 2 best friends. soak bottles in hot soapy water, then get extra coarse steel wool and it takes the glue off in under 5 seconds a bottle. I delabed, and cleaned the inside of some pretty moldy bottles in about an hour by myself, and that was 60 of em
 
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