Quantcast

Label Removal Thread

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

lextasy23

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
366
Reaction score
46
Location
Dirty Water
Bathtub, hot water and oxi-clean. Easily 100 or more bottles fit.

The only thing I wish I had for bottle cleaning is one of those nozzles for a hose or sink. That would make things a lot easier.

I've been doing it in my condo, but my parents just bought their retirement house, and the basement is apparently going to be mantown and the brew cave. I have a feeling there will be a lot of copper and pumps and plumbing, and a proper bottling station.
 

mcbethenstein

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 22, 2011
Messages
717
Reaction score
54
Location
Waukesha
Ok, So I have had a lot of luck with just hot water and PBW. But I finally ran into a label that it can't handle. Souther tier. I was planning on saving the bottles for mead for my sister in law, but even after peeling up the plastic label there is still a super sticky residue. The first bottle I spent 5 minutes scrubbing that stuff off with a scotch brite pad and some stainless steel cleaner....still didn't feel totally off. WELL, on to my point... Tonight I wanted to clean the second bottle and didn't want to gum up my new sponge with stickiness, so I looked under the sink and grabbed a "Magic Sponge". Let me tell you, they don't lie! the sticky glue was off the bottle in under 30 seconds with literally no elbow grease! I am going to remember this one. Even if they are more expensive it is SOOO worth my time. Keep it in mind for those labels that just don't fall off with a good hot water and oxiclean/PBW soak.
 

bmeyer46

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2010
Messages
156
Reaction score
7
Location
Tipton
Breckenridge Brewery labels are a pain in the keester to remove....2 days of soaking in water and they still won't budge!! what the heck...I've probably got 150 bottles saved anyway...not worth my time at this point in the game!
little bugger still makes me mad though! LOL
 

LandoLincoln

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2011
Messages
2,983
Reaction score
1,137
Location
Joliet
My friend and I tried the Oxi Clean route but we didn't like the soap scum left on the bottles that took a lot of work to get off. I tried a new process and it works really well without the need for soaking in Oxi Clean or PBW or the like. I've yet to meet a bottle that did not clean up pretty easily (aside from painted bottles). The only drawback is since you're working with a razor blade you need to be a little careful or you might nick your hand.

Tools needed:
* Window scraper
* Laundry sink
* Y attachment for sink faucet (with valves for each side of the Y)
* Aerator attachment for faucet (attach to one side of the Y)
* Jet carboy & bottle washer attachment (attach to the other side of the Y)
* scrubby
* orange hand degreaser soap stuff
* work light

1) Soak the bottles in hot water overnight
2) Take a window scraper and get the labels and 95% of the glue off
3) Put some of the orange soap stuff on the scrubby and get the rest of the glue off
4) Rinse the soap off with the aerator side of the Y adapter
5) Give the inside of the bottle a blast with water with the jet washer for a few seconds
6) Look through the sides of the bottle in the bright work light. Also look through the end of the bottle like a spyglass to make sure that there's nothing left inside.
 

logan3825

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 6, 2010
Messages
1,029
Reaction score
53
Location
Madison
I wouldn't even let them sit overnight in Oxiclean unless they are really dirty inside. 20m tops. 2 three gallon buckets. Put 12 bottles in one to soak then fill the other one. Wait about 10m then go back to the first and start working on the labels. Go back and forth between the buckets and they will peel off really easy. If you soak the bottles overnight in Oxiclean that's when you start to get film problems.
 

Pappers_

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
17,690
Reaction score
4,092
Location
Chicago
logan3825 said:
I wouldn't even let them sit overnight in Oxiclean unless they are really dirty inside. 20m tops. 2 three gallon buckets. Put 12 bottles in one to soak then fill the other one. Wait about 10m then go back to the first and start working on the labels. Go back and forth between the buckets and they will peel off really easy. If you soak the bottles overnight in Oxiclean that's when you start to get film problems.
If you do get that film or scale, a quick soak in some diluted vinegar or star-San will take care of it quickly and easily.
 

Ravenshead

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 15, 2010
Messages
1,224
Reaction score
45
Location
League City
I wouldn't even let them sit overnight in Oxiclean unless they are really dirty inside. 20m tops. 2 three gallon buckets. Put 12 bottles in one to soak then fill the other one. Wait about 10m then go back to the first and start working on the labels. Go back and forth between the buckets and they will peel off really easy. If you soak the bottles overnight in Oxiclean that's when you start to get film problems.
This seems to depend on your water supply. I often soak them for days and have never seen the film others speak of. I also use cold water since I'm usually working in the garage.
 

Satisfaction

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2011
Messages
384
Reaction score
38
Location
Brunswick
Ravenshead said:
This seems to depend on your water supply. I often soak them for days and have never seen the film others speak of. I also use cold water since I'm usually working in the garage.
I've never had the scum build up either. Mine soaks for weeks sometimes, I just wash them right before use. Really simple and easy..
 

Tiredboy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
200
Reaction score
3
Location
Kingston
I posted this in a another thread and it may have been posted here but what worked for me is a short soak (minute or so) in warm water, rub with some damp fine wet-and-dry paper, rinse in warm water. I needed to repeat the process for some that had stubborn labels but the process worked really well, including removing stubborn labels, foil and glue residue. I now have a nice selection of new looking bottles. I even set up a family production line - good "family time"!!

For attaching my own labels I used the milk trick - worked well and no problem of not sticking or staying on when I wanted to remove them (although I did need to soak them in more milk than I expected). I used UHT long life fat free milk if that makes any difference!

All I need now is a way to remove the painted labels from redstripe bottles as I can get those REALLY easily!!
 

xkristoferx

Member
Joined
Dec 15, 2011
Messages
16
Reaction score
0
Location
Nashville
If there's any left over glue on the bottle, a SOS pad takes the glue right off without any hard scrubbing.

Its a hard life having to drink all that beer to make those bottles empty but, hell, someone has to do it.
 

Kate00

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
Messages
322
Reaction score
15
Location
Denver
5 gallon bucket with a few tablespoons of PBW. soak for a day or so, the labels fall right off.
 

Ceetar

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2010
Messages
198
Reaction score
6
Location
Ridgewood
The #1 way to get labels off is to offer homebrew to your friends if they save and de-label leftover bottles for you.
 

drewneely

Active Member
Joined
Apr 25, 2011
Messages
32
Reaction score
1
Location
Chattanooga
Oxiclean, warm water and a 2 hours soak. May need to use a Scotch-Brite pad for some stubborn glue but will come right off with very litle effort. Most labels slip right off.
 

ringatom

Active Member
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
33
Reaction score
0
Location
Halifax
5 - 20 minutes in Cold water, and a knife. usually the labels are really easy to peel after soaking in water, Molson Canadian, and Budweiser. Labatt Blue and Keith's Not so easy.
 

najel

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2012
Messages
82
Reaction score
1
Location
Mankato
Sorry if I repost, but I have to admit I did not read all 22 pages of this post.
My method: soak in cold water overnight usually, then peel labels off. If residue is left, I use a hardbristled brush and go over it, usually takes everything off.
And by the way in my experience it seems that bottles that were meant to be reused instead of "just" recycled for glass are easier to deal with. For example, Warsteiner is the easiest label to take off, they always come off in one piece, same for many other German beers.
 

Fennis

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
385
Reaction score
27
Location
Readfield
I've found for the labels that leave behind a sticky residue, rubbing alcohol works really well most of the time, but for the absolute worst labels that seem to really be stubborn, use acetone, which if you have a wife/girlfriend should be somewhere in your house as nail polish remover. Between the two, I've never had a label get the best of me, but make sure you are in a ventilated area, and if you have a lot of bottles, use gloves, acetone can do some damage to your skin if you have it on your skin for an extended period of time.
 

ayoungrad

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2010
Messages
1,101
Reaction score
13
Location
Tampa
DO NOT WASTE money, time, or chemicals.

I used to have trouble removing labels. But not anymore. The easiest, fool-proof way to remove labels (which was probably mentioned somewhere above) takes one hour or less:

Put a good amount of baking soda in hot water in a sink or pail. Fill all bottles with hot water. Soak for 1 hour. After an hour soak, the labels literally slide off, whole and intact. Any residue wipes with a sponge with no effort at all.

I really don't measure the amount of baking soda - just make the water look a little murky. But baking soda is so cheap that you shouldn't be afraid to use too much.

This works for even really tough bottles. If anyone has ever tried to remove a Smuttynose Big A IPA label, this method works even for those bottles.
 

bestswmbo

Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2012
Messages
18
Reaction score
1
Location
Clearfield
I use an Oxyclean knock off called Sun. Works like a charm. Sink the bottles in a tub (I use our washtub/sink in the basement) by filling with water, and use only as much water as you need to cover the bottles, thus making the solution more concentrated (1 scoop to this minimum amount of water). A lot of labels come off in 15 minutes to one day on their own. Bell's labels fall right off! Best. Sam Adams labels and a local breweries labels must use Gorilla Glue, although with soe srubbing you're good to go. Nice thing with the Oxyclean is you get all the mold out of the random bottle that wasn't rinsed prior to sanitizing.
 

Tiredboy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2011
Messages
200
Reaction score
3
Location
Kingston
What do people do about painted labels? I have easy access to redstripe bottles but the labels are painted on. I was going to try the star san option but realsied its a corosive (?) liquid and not sure TSA will be overly please about me bringing that back on the plane!
 

Fennis

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
385
Reaction score
27
Location
Readfield
What do people do about painted labels? I have easy access to redstripe bottles but the labels are painted on. I was going to try the star san option but realsied its a corosive (?) liquid and not sure TSA will be overly please about me bringing that back on the plane!
Acetone/Nail polish remover? Acetone is used as a paint thinner and I don't think the TSA will care too much if you have a small bottle of nail polish remover with you.
 

grimzella

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 8, 2012
Messages
321
Reaction score
22
Location
washington
Chimay & Duvel 11oz bottle labels are easily removed by soaking in hot water with Easy Cleaner. left in for maybe an hour and some labels were already floating off. I left in overnight and most if not all the glue is gone. now they will go straight into the dishwasher on rinse, with heat dry, then removed and foil capped.
 

strongarm

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 20, 2011
Messages
316
Reaction score
15
Location
Laguna Beach
Soak in plastic tub of water (warm preffered) for 24 hours then they peel off and residual glue can be scrubbed off with potato scrubber.
 

Yourrealdad

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 2, 2012
Messages
278
Reaction score
21
Location
Glenwood Springs
Easiest: Paulaner, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Great Divide
Hardest: Green Flash Friek Bomber and Pliny the Elder (Green Flash and Pliny weren't too hard just the hardest I have ran into)

I was going to use oxiclean but then I read about the scaling issues and I would have had to stop drinking and start driving to get some. Plus I would have had to spend money that could have gone to beer.

So I tried the baking soda method. I used a coleman cooler to keep the water hot and then filled my bottles and the cooler with hot water, then dumped a bunch of baking soda in. I don't know if you can use to much, I probably use 1/4 to 1/3 of a small box. If anything it is going to clean out your smells right?

I let it sit for at most an hour, and then lightly scrubbed with one of those soapy scrubby thingys. Nothing left on them. Easy,cheap, don't know why you wouldn't use that method.

Pliny had to sit for a few hours and be scrubbed with a green scratch pad for the glue
 

D_Ranged_Eskimo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2011
Messages
1,223
Reaction score
123
Location
San Antonio
I toss mine in the dishwasher with a couple of scoops of oxyclean and run on the pots and pans cycle. I also turn off the heat dry at the end as to not reheat the glue and have them stick back to the bottle (learned this the hard way the first time).

Works like a charm and the bottles come out looking brand new.
 

ktblunden

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2011
Messages
1,950
Reaction score
318
Location
Lancaster
Has anyone figured out how to get Rogue's silkscreen off bottles? I soak Stone bottles overnight in Star San and the ink scrubs right off, but I tried soaking a Rogue bottle for several days and I can't even scuff it.

As for regular labels, I soak in Oxy like others. A day or two soak and most labels slide right off. I've been using Avery adhesive paper labels on my own brews and those don't like to come off very easily, I usually have to scrape them off (I use the plastic paddle for my rice cooker) and then scrub the adhesive off.
 

spaten1966

New Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2012
Messages
4
Reaction score
0
Hi, I a first time brewer and thought I'd share a tip, I hope I'm not repeating anyone's prior post.
I was reading several posts about using oxyclean, so I decided to make some out of hydrogen peroxide and arm and hammer super suds. I used an 18 gallon tote, added about half of a bottle of peroxide and three cups of super suds. Filled the tote 3/4 full of water, loaded the bottles and in about an hour of soaking the labels peeled off, most floated off . It also removes the Heineken glue residue. Hope this helps.
 

Chriso

Broken Robot Brewing Co.
Joined
Oct 31, 2007
Messages
4,621
Reaction score
87
Location
Someplace
Madhouse Brewing - somewhere in Iowa - uses these plasticized, shiny labels that have adhesive more like a Industrial grade Avery label.

The plastic label peels right off of the bottle... leaving behind the sheet of adhesive applied by Lucifer himself. Oxyclean doesn't eat it, neither does StarSan. Going to soak it in isopropyl alcohol next - and if that doesn't work, the bottle goes in the recycling bin and I give up. (mcbethenstein, I'll try the Magic Eraser trick too.)

If you see a shiny, plasticy label, beware of reusing that bottle until you test out how tough the adhesive is.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I'd like to give some thanks to Odell. Their labels *literally* fall off once they've been wet with OxyClean for ten minutes. The glue is super soluble and scrubs right off - AND their bottles have the cute little hop cones embossed on them to boot.
 
Joined
Apr 20, 2012
Messages
234
Reaction score
25
Location
Montgomery
newbeerpig said:
I did it in the kitchen sink, about 2 gallons HOT water (as hot as the tap would go, then I just wore dish gloves to help handle the heat), and maybe 3-4 Tbsp. of baking soda. I made sure all the soda was dissolved, and I noticed it actually gave the water a "slimy" feel... Let the bottles sit about 45 seconds, then take the brillo pad to it. The labels & glue wipe off with a light touch. The foil takes a little bit of rubbing, but it's not at all hard to get off. After the baking soda treatment, a little dish soap to remove any reside, and the bottles look like they never had labels on them!
I just used this method with a slight tweak and had excellent results with Rogue and Breckinridge bottles - after the initial soak, I peeled the labels off and put the bottles back in the hot baking soda water for a minute or two. This loosened any remaining glue and I washed them with a blue scotch brite scrub pad and some dish soap. 12 bottles clean in 20 minutes, not too shabby!
Thanks newbeerpig!
 

bobeer

Fermentation Specalist
Joined
Feb 21, 2012
Messages
2,847
Reaction score
802
Location
Hamilton
I fill the sink with hotish water; just hot enough not to burn my hands. Then I break out an oxyclean brillo pad and squeeze it a few times in the hot water then add in 6-10 bottles. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Then I grab my handy-handy 2 inch paint scraper and scrape off the label and use the brillo pad to get off any remaining glue or parts of the label. Then I toss the cleaned bottle back into the hot oxyclean water and grab the next one. After all the bottle are delabeled I fill them all up with the oxyclean water, shake them a bunch and rinse them out/off and dry them.
I find any Sierra bottles are have a lot of glue on them which can get messy. I try to stick with the bottles that have a recycled paper-like feel to the labels. Lagunitas come off with ease and I really dig their beers so I have used a lot of their bottles. I also like the shorter bottles because they fit in the crisper drawers in the fridge standing up.
 

Herky21

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 6, 2012
Messages
302
Reaction score
19
Location
Des Moines
Here are some good reference links to add to this thread:



Hope that helps :)


Also, in my personal experience, New Belgium bottles are easiest to delabel - no OxyClean needed, the labels literally fall off in hot water after about 3 minutes. Soak, slide, drain, dry. It's faster than a cheetah chasing a hare covered in delicious bacon.
I'd second the New belgium bottles being easy. Also, Boulevard Smokestack series bottles and Samuel Smith bottles are extremely easy to work with. I generally use bleach and water, soaking any bottles.

I haven't found anything to get rid of the glue under laminated labels though. Bleach certainly doesn't help, nor does a brillo pad. Always end up throwing those away.
 

Serialk1llr

Member
Joined
Jun 27, 2011
Messages
9
Reaction score
0
Location
Cincinnati
I'll add my two cents here.

Bottles with lables that fall off - Souther Tier (anything in 12oz) and Bells. I just look at them crossways and they fall off! Sam Adams Boston Lager has been easy too.
Bottles with glue held on by rivits and space tar: Fort Collins Brewery. Judas Priest those were on there!!!

My method. Hot water soak for 20 min and a butter knife gets the easy to mid-range stuff. For REALLY hard to clean bottles, I boil water and let the bottles set in there with a oxyclean bath. To be honest, I am avoiding those beers where I cannot easily recycle their bottles for home brew.
 

mors

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 8, 2009
Messages
882
Reaction score
89
Location
Berkley
I guess I'm lazier than you guys... I let bottles build up until I have 100 or so... Then fill a big tote with hot oxyclean water. Submerge all the bottles... come back 2-3 days later and all the labels have fallen off... the ones that don't... are not worth my time.. I throw those bottles out. So I vote for hot oxyclean + a sponge with a scrubby on one side for any glue residue that might remain (usually there isn't).
 

keatz85

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2011
Messages
51
Reaction score
4
Location
jacksonville
The hottest water ever and dish soap (didn't measure, probably close to 2 TBSP) in the bath tub (did 50 at once) for 15-30 minutes. I'm sure longer would be better and even draining the water after it cools and re-filling with scalding hat water again. 312 were the easiest, as in barely any effort. Sam Adams are pretty easy. Unfortunately I don't remember the PIA brands (I'm pretty sure Flying Dog sucked) but I just took a butter knife to them and it wasn't too bad. Also, dish soap may worry people about foaming, I use the dishwasher w/ no soap to clean/rinse the bottles w/ the heat cycle to sanitize. No foam issues or soap taste.
 

Stauffbier

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 7, 2011
Messages
5,091
Reaction score
1,049
Location
El Paso
I guess I'm lazier than you guys... I let bottles build up until I have 100 or so... Then fill a big tote with hot oxyclean water. Submerge all the bottles... come back 2-3 days later and all the labels have fallen off... the ones that don't... are not worth my time.. I throw those bottles out. So I vote for hot oxyclean + a sponge with a scrubby on one side for any glue residue that might remain (usually there isn't).
This is me. I even get lazy and let them soak for as much as 5-6 days, and when I do all the labels come off easy from every brand of bottle I put in there. I do 30 at a time, and I do it constantly. This way I'm always ahead on bottles. Not to mention I have about 500 that are already de-labeled that cycle regularly.
 

keatz85

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2011
Messages
51
Reaction score
4
Location
jacksonville
I guess I'm lazier than you guys... I let bottles build up until I have 100 or so... Then fill a big tote with hot oxyclean water. Submerge all the bottles... come back 2-3 days later and all the labels have fallen off... the ones that don't... are not worth my time.. I throw those bottles out. So I vote for hot oxyclean + a sponge with a scrubby on one side for any glue residue that might remain (usually there isn't).
Definitely doing this!
 

Fishtank

New Member
Joined
Mar 19, 2013
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
I use Killian's bottles (front label only, no labels on the neck).

I soak them in hot water for about 10 minutes.

Get as much of the label off as possible (most come off in one tear).

Spray the remaining glue area with Windex (I use the cheap glass cleaner from Target - works the same).

Let the bottles sit for another 5 minutes or so.

Adhesive comes right off with a light scrub brush.

The glass cleaner actually cuts the adhesive.

Cheers!
 

citingzero

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 4, 2012
Messages
107
Reaction score
12
Aren't killians bottles screw top??

I use an oxiclean soak for a few hours. Sierra Nevada float within an hour. Others take a little longer but come off with very little effort (of course there are some local brews that just get throw away because they don't come off... ...ever)
 

Latest posts

Top