Re-using commercial bottles

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Downey26

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To save money I'm going to re-use commercial import style bottles (no twist off). I need to remove the labels, any ideas. Some of these bastards are on here good.
 

IslandLizard

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Soak in a large tote of warm water with plain washing soda, or "Surf" powdered laundry detergent.* The labels will float off within a few hours to a day. Scrub the outsides with a stiff bristle hand brush to get the glue off and insides with a bottle brush. All the crud will come out.

Rinse well (jet bottle washer) and sanitize.

* For reference, any powdered laundry detergent will work well, they consist of 70-90% washing soda. Leave your (homemade) PBW for where it counts!
 

PADave

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Yeah for sure. I like the PBW route myself. They seem to just fall off....

Cheers
Jay
Same here. Soak for an hour or more in PBW and the labels are usually floating. There are a few brands that the labels don't want to come off. Not worth the time and effort to me. Toss them and move on.
 

slym2none

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There's a thread on here somewhere about which brands have easy-to-remove labels, but damned if I can find it...
 

pshankstar

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Soak in oxy clean or pbw over night. Some bottles are easier than others. Three Floyds bottles work very well for me. Labels come off after soaking just a few minutes.
I do the same thing. Sometimes for the harder ones I let it sit for two nights or the weekend. Also, I make note of the commercial beer bottles that are a PIA to remove the labels and not reuse them.
 

xpops

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are you using your own labels? is that why you want to remove the existing ones?

i used to do the whole soaking/scratching/scouring to get labels off....now i leave them on. Whenever i open a homebrew that has an old label of a cool microbrew i picked up while travelling out of town - it's always a nice little reminder of that trip :)
 

slym2none

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I personally don't like seeing an IPA bottle that isn't filled with IPA, et. al.

Call me kooky. You wouldn't be the first, and I have been called much worse.

:)
 

Kharnynb

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Finnish brands seem to stick their labels on with spit, the mildest moisture and they drop off.....

German and English brands seem to use superglue, a lot of those bottles are painfull to delabel, in the case of german bottles i tend to not bother as the bottle neck is slightly smaller/squarer where the capper grips and it can't grip as well during capping.
 

Psylocide

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Quick 5 minute soak and this:




I just leave them on now though, haha.
 

feinbera

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You'll quickly get a feel for which ones come off easily; after a month or two (or even less time, if you ask your buddies to donate their empties to the cause), you won't even need to bother with the ones that require more than the scrubby side of a sponge.
 

iijakii

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I had a rubbermaid I kept full of a PBW solution. Throw new bottles in there for at least overnight... more likely a month cause lazy. Labels would fall off. Never scrubbed. Some types of labels wouldn't come off, I just recycled those, not worth it. Kept the same PBW solution for a good half year until I had too many bottles. Then I went back to kegging so if anyone near Portland wants a few hundred bottles holladaddy.
 

KPBrews

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Hot water and PBW or Oxyclean Free, and a good hour long soak, and MANY labels will slide off nicely. Some bottlers use lovely labels with lovely adhesive that slides right off with only hot water! (the heat loosens the glue)

Others, though, not as nice. I find soaking those stubborn ones for several days in a relatively strong StarSan solution helps tremendously with most of the rest. (this is AFTER the PBW/OxyClean Free soak failed)

This is also true for painted labels (like Stone bottles). The StarSan does a nice job of weakening the paint to the point it wipes off. SOME of the paint. Other paint takes a much longer StarSan soak, but they all give eventually. (seems sometimes one color comes right off and then another is a right bastard!)

Ultimately, you'll certainly find some stubborn ones, but nothing a good long soak and some elbow grease with a green scrubby can't handle.

Eventually, you'll build up enough of a collection that, as long as you keep reusing your own de-labelled bottles (ask for them back when you give beer away!), you don't need to worry about it as much. You'll reach the point where you aren't keeping all bottles, let alone the stubborn ones. The ones with labels that come off easily, keep, and the ones that give you any trouble can go right into the recycling bin.

Takes some time to get to that point, but you will. :)
 

Mexibilly

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Sam Adams, Leinenkugel and Dogfish Head labels come off easy and they cap easily.
I soak them submerged completely in a sink of hot water for an hour or two, peel the labels off then scrub any adhesive that remains off with a green dish scrubby.
Total involved time for 6-8 bottles is probably 4 or 5 minutes
 

Zwerski

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All of my 100+ bottles are reclaimed- mostly from parties or from a beer market that serves bombers nearby. I've gotten to appreciate plastic labels that peel off without having to soak off. In a pinch, Stone labels can be stripped using a soak in diluted CLR.
 
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Downey26

Downey26

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Thanks guys. Yes I have my own labels, however not all my friends brew however they never remember to return my bottles. So I figured it's better to use their commercial beer bottles to replenish mine.
 

Bobbybob

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Hot water and PBW. A couple of years ago I asked friends for bottles and end up with almost a thousand of them:confused:. I still am working through the last two hundred or so.
 

Singletrack

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...not all my friends brew however they never remember to return my bottles.
You do know how to remind them to return bottles, right? You want one? You bring one.

Some of those plastic sticker-type labels leave glue on the bottle. Use Goo-be-gone or similar sticker remover to clean that.

:off:

Now, why do they put stickers on apples? You know, we eat the skin of apples, and we don't want to eat a sticker or sticker goo. So knock it off!
 

slym2none

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:off:

Now, why do they put stickers on apples? You know, we eat the skin of apples, and we don't want to eat a sticker or sticker goo. So knock it off!
Those stickers (and whatever is used to stick it on the fruit) are actually safe to eat. Its made from "food grade" materials.
 

Singletrack

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Those stickers (and whatever is used to stick it on the fruit) are actually safe to eat. Its made from "food grade" materials.
Really? Cool! Now I can't wait to eat one of those stickers! :)
 

slym2none

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Just checked with snopes to make sure - yes, they are entirely edible.

:)
 

hopkincr

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For the tough labels, a little bit of ammonia and hot water. Works great.
 

thunderwagn

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I'm curious how many bottlers clean their bottles in oxy/pbw after each use. I usually soak mine when I first get them, or to remove labels, but otherwise I typically give a good rinse with hot water after I empty the homebrew. Then on bottling day, sanitize with Starsan. Now I'm questioning my method...
 

slym2none

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That's pretty much all I do, chunkwagon. Well, I actually StarSan them well ahead of bottling & then again right before bottling, but the "pre-game" ritual is the same as yours otherwise.
 

KPBrews

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Yup. After your bottles go into Oxy or PBW, they definitely need a good rinse and then they get sanitized. Then they're stored upside to dry out, and sanitized again just before bottling.

On bottles with no labels (already used for home brew), there's no need for PBW unless there's some gunk caked in the bottom. I find if you take them as soon as you finish drinking them, and rinse them out well (add 1" hot water, shake the hell out of it with your thumb over the opening, repeat two more times), they're totally clean and ready to sanitize and use again.
 

BrewSavage

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90% get rinsed and stored well enough that on bottling they get a quick jet of water to get any dust then star san.
 

pshankstar

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I'm curious how many bottlers clean their bottles in oxy/pbw after each use. I usually soak mine when I first get them, or to remove labels, but otherwise I typically give a good rinse with hot water after I empty the homebrew. Then on bottling day, sanitize with Starsan. Now I'm questioning my method...

I do the same thing with no issues.
 

thunderwagn

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Yup. After your bottles go into Oxy or PBW, they definitely need a good rinse and then they get sanitized. Then they're stored upside to dry out, and sanitized again just before bottling.

On bottles with no labels (already used for home brew), there's no need for PBW unless there's some gunk caked in the bottom. I find if you take them as soon as you finish drinking them, and rinse them out well (add 1" hot water, shake the hell out of it with your thumb over the opening, repeat two more times), they're totally clean and ready to sanitize and use again.
That's basically what I've been doing. I never really thought about it till now lol.
 
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