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Removing labels.. baking soda!

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beergears

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At PTN's brew day, Saturday, Kaiser mentioned to someone that he uses a baking soda bath to remove bottle labels.

Tried it this morning on beer bottles, and indeed, it does a great job!

I wonder if it will do as well with wine bottles...??

Thanks Kai!
 

k1v1116

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does this only work on paper labels only or would it work on those annoying Heineken labels too? I have a source to get all the free Heineken bottles i want but removing the labels it horrible, I can peel the plastic off quickly but the sticker goop takes hours of scrubbing.
 

NWernBrewer

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Sticker goop - best removed with a chemical called zylene - you can buy at the hardware store. Soak a rag and wipe wet onto 6-12 bottles, then start at the beginning and wipe adhesive off.

Its a method that we use to remove industrial adhesives from vehicles - it will work. Just don't soak the bottles in it :drunk: it will ruin them - this stuff stinks. Wash off with you cleanser of choice.

I don't remove the labels so no worries for me there. I bought a couple of cases, so if I am looking for presentation, I just use those.
 

g_rath

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k1v1116 said:
does this only work on paper labels only or would it work on those annoying Heineken labels too? I have a source to get all the free Heineken bottles i want but removing the labels it horrible, I can peel the plastic off quickly but the sticker goop takes hours of scrubbing.
Do you realy want green bottles though? Unless you keep it in the dark theres not much point. IMO.
 

McSwiggin'

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k1v1116 said:
does this only work on paper labels only or would it work on those annoying Heineken labels too? I have a source to get all the free Heineken bottles i want but removing the labels it horrible, I can peel the plastic off quickly but the sticker goop takes hours of scrubbing.
I use Heineken bottles all the time. I peel the label first, then they get a 20min soak in hot water and oxyclean. i use a scotchbrite pad to wipe (not scrub, it comes right off) the residue off. Works like a charm and there are no harsh chemicals to worry about getting in the bottle. Hit the inside with a bottle brush before rinsing and store upside down. All that is left is sanitizing just before filling.
 

ShortSnoutBrewing

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For paper labels, I've honetly never had an issue with just soaking them in hot water for a while then using an abrasive sponge of some sort.
 

JVD_X

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I soak them in oxyclean and then use a box cutter type razor blade to go back and forth - then follow with a quick doobie pad. Takes about 30 seconds per bottle if you don't include the soak.
 
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beergears

beergears

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beergears said:
I wonder if it will do as well with wine bottles...??
Answering my own question, yes, it does!

Note that one of the reasons I wanted to try the baking soda idea is that my first try at oxyclean - a variation of it found a TJ's - sort of worked but wasn't that remarkable. Same knock-off oxy-something did a great job with a Kraeusened BB though.
 

menschmaschine

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Lye works even better. I soak my bottles in a lye bath for 15 minutes and the labels fall off. You can get lye at many DIY/hardware stores in the septic/drain cleaning section. (Or you can get the food-grade lye online and make some awesome pretzles with it too!)
 

Dr_Deathweed

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I have been using oxy clean. I have a plastic tote that is filled with a water/oxyclean solution perpetually. I dump in some bottles the night before, and in the morning, give them a quick wipe with a rag and set them aside to dry. When I want to bottle, I just soak in the bathtub in some hot water while I get all my other stuff set up, give them a quick rinse on the bottle washer, fill with the star san and get bottling!
 
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NWernBrewer said:
Sticker goop - best removed with a chemical called zylene - you can buy at the hardware store. Soak a rag and wipe wet onto 6-12 bottles, then start at the beginning and wipe adhesive off.

Its a method that we use to remove industrial adhesives from vehicles - it will work. Just don't soak the bottles in it :drunk: it will ruin them - this stuff stinks. Wash off with you cleanser of choice.

I don't remove the labels so no worries for me there. I bought a couple of cases, so if I am looking for presentation, I just use those.
Zylene is a weight loss drug...

If you are referring to Xylene I am not sure it is safe for food applications.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xylene
 

indianlakerat

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Sticker goop - best removed with a chemical called zylene - you can buy at the hardware store. Soak a rag and wipe wet onto 6-12 bottles, then start at the beginning and wipe adhesive off.

Its a method that we use to remove industrial adhesives from vehicles - it will work. Just don't soak the bottles in it :drunk: it will ruin them - this stuff stinks. Wash off with you cleanser of choice.

I don't remove the labels so no worries for me there. I bought a couple of cases, so if I am looking for presentation, I just use those.

I sell concrete and zylene is great for cleaning off wet and dry concrete. It is also poison and a carcinogen
 

Dawggy_Stile

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Baking soda works!
A 3 - 4 hour soak in a sink mixed with Palmolive sprinkled with baking soda mixed in, a quick scratch off with a butter knife then finish up with a Scotch Brite pad..at least it works on Great Lakes Brewery bottles.
 

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Baking soda works!
A 3 - 4 hour soak in a sink mixed with Palmolive sprinkled with baking soda mixed in, a quick scratch off with a butter knife then finish up with a Scotch Brite pad..at least it works on Great Lakes Brewery bottles.

GLB bottles changed their glue not too long ago. Before that, soaking in water worked OK. Different bottles require different solutions. Literally. :D I have some old half strength starsan that is taking paint off of Ruination bottles in less than 24 hours. Railbender bottles seem to use a petroleum based glue and is a real pain.
 

noble13

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does this only work on paper labels only or would it work on those annoying Heineken labels too? I have a source to get all the free Heineken bottles i want but removing the labels it horrible, I can peel the plastic off quickly but the sticker goop takes hours of scrubbing.
I've taken the sticky off Amstel bottles with waterless hand cleaner. Haven't tried with Heineken bottles, but I believe they're the same parent company. Do this while the bottle is dry - water will significantly reduce the effectiveness. I avoid getting it inside the bottle.

Back to the OP, baking soda has helped with foil labels, like on Tecate quarts. Saw it in a post a while back. I de-label other bottles after the Tecate bottles and the soda doesn't seem to make much difference.
 

goatchze

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Guys, xylene starts with an "X". (Yes, it's pronounced zylene).

I've never had any issues with just soap and water; my trick is to use the dish sponge. It's the kind with sponge on one side and "non stick safe" abrasive on the other. I just have to wipe each label a few times, then a slight scrub takes off all the glue.

That said, I'll definitely try a little baking soda next time!
 

maida7

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I sell concrete and zylene is great for cleaning off wet and dry concrete. It is also poison and a carcinogen
Xylene is also the solvent used in some markers. If you sniff it it makes you feel all woozy.

I soak my bottles in oxyclean and hot water for a few hours and the lables fall right off.
 

FattyJLE

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Sorry to bump an old thread, but I've been using a water and baking soda solution recently to remove labels with great success. However, I was just reading through Korzonas' Homebrewing Volume I and he mentions that soaking bottles in washing soda more than a couple of hours will leave a carbonate residue on bottles that can only be removed with a weak acid. Given their similar chemical structures, do you all think that baking soda can do this as well?
 

SOB_OCDAVE

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I use a large cooler called "the cube" and i fill it with either ammonia and water or oxyclean and water and soak the bottles for a few days. Most labels fall off without leaving any glue residue on the bottles at all.
 

chefmike

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hmmm... where could I find a weak acid solution...

Do you by chance use star-san to sanitize?

:)
 

bengerman

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Guys, xylene starts with an "X". (Yes, it's pronounced zylene).
this.

and using Xylene without proper ventilation will knock you on your a$$. it's one of the active ingerdients in goof off (which would probably also work wonders, but, again, is very nasty)

oxyclean and patience are all i need.
and if a label doesn't want to come off (like some Rogue labels) i recycle it, and go buy more beer!:ban:
 

DevilDog2000

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Sorry to bump an old thread, but I've been using a water and baking soda solution recently to remove labels with great success. However, I was just reading through Korzonas' Homebrewing Volume I and he mentions that soaking bottles in washing soda more than a couple of hours will leave a carbonate residue on bottles that can only be removed with a weak acid. Given their similar chemical structures, do you all think that baking soda can do this as well?
I use a solution of 1 oz. Clorox and 1 oz. white vinegar in 5 gal cool water after cleaning / soaking anything (carboys, bottles, fermenting pails) with Oxyclean. The Oxy tends to leave a deposit like you mention and the weak acid gets rid of it nicely. If you mix some of this up, be sure you do not mix the Clorox and vinegar directly in any way. Pour one into the water, wash your measuring container out, then pour the other into the water.
 

rideincircles

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I am gonna try the baking soda method for heineken bottles. I have not had any luck removing them so far with PBW. Will try oxyclean also, but figured it was similar to PBW.

Anyone else have any input? xylene is an absolute no. I plan on using the heineken bottles for meads to keep them separate from my regular beer bottles. I have removed the actual labels, and now it's just removing the gunk. My neighbor gives me his bottles when he is done with them, so I am looking to make it efficient.
 

ReddHead

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Oxyclean all the way. I soak them overnight and the labels float off and the glue is completely dissolved. Some of the Southern Tier labels don't seem to use a cheap glue. For instance, their Pumking labels I have to use acetone to get the glue off after removing the plastic label. Not a huge deal.
 

mtyquinn

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I've had good luck with Oxyclean. I good hot water soak in general does wonders.
 

jwsquared

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Sorry to bump an old thread, but I've been using a water and baking soda solution recently to remove labels with great success. However, I was just reading through Korzonas' Homebrewing Volume I and he mentions that soaking bottles in washing soda more than a couple of hours will leave a carbonate residue on bottles that can only be removed with a weak acid. Given their similar chemical structures, do you all think that baking soda can do this as well?
Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and washing soda (sodium carbonate) are two different compounds. In any event, there are a number of weak acids available (e.g. vinegar).
 

dongemus

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Don't use Xylene without gloves and ventilation and then wash thoroughly with a detergent and rinse.... better yet, don't use it. If you're looking for a solvent then you can use paint thinner, goof off extreme, denatured alcohol, or any other toxic solvent. My suggestion is if you are having a problem with oil-based glue, try hand cleaner, the kind that mechanics use. It is much more safe and rinses away with water.

Great Lakes bottle glue is so bad now I stopped buying their beer! I hope the baking soda does the trick. Most other bottle just fall off.

I wonder how safe diluted lye would be? It is like concentrated Drano... Some part of me wants to try it though.

UPDATE: The baking soda didn't help with Great Lakes bottles. I think it helped others slightly, but I won't use it again because it adds an extra step of needing to rinse the baking soda water out of all the bottles.
 

Epimetheus

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Anyone ever tried goo gone for the sticky residue? Just a thought.
Tried Goo Gone. Rogue glue just shrugs it off and giggles.

but, Goo Gone worked on other glues. You just gotta keep trying solvents and see what works on a particular glue.

OTOH, I have a regular little 2-gallon SS stock pot from Walmart. Tried to remove the big outside label. Nothing worked. Even put it in a fire for 1/2 hour. Paper burns off, right? Most of the label is still on the pot to this day.
 

tg123

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Before I saw this site, I was putting bottles in the dishwasher with the labels on. Then about 15min in I pause the cycle, peel off the labels since by this time they slip right off, and continue with the cycle. At the end, the bottles come out clean with no sticky glue.

Any chance the glue will clog up my drain? Or is it the label that does the clogging?

Thanks
 

mooshimanx

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I usually find the labels either come off during their Oxyclean soak (to loosen remove anything inside the bottles), or they won't ever come off. Some pro breweries use overly powerful adhesives (ahem, Alpine Beer Co.)
 

ReddHead

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Before I saw this site, I was putting bottles in the dishwasher with the labels on. Then about 15min in I pause the cycle, peel off the labels since by this time they slip right off, and continue with the cycle. At the end, the bottles come out clean with no sticky glue.

Any chance the glue will clog up my drain? Or is it the label that does the clogging?

Thanks
The label can clog it but probably not the glue. Probably not great for the dishwasher though.
 

rideincircles

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Dishwasher is probably a bad idea.

I had pretty good luck just throwing the heineken bottles with labels removed in a double starsan mixture. I left them for days if not weeks and they scrubbed right off unless some plastic from the label was left on. Didn't work for everything, but heineken was one of the hardest labels to remove.
 

TheCollector

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All you need to do to get MOST labels off is get your brew pot fill it with water and boil them for about 20 seconds to maybe a minute the labels fall of in the water.
 

ArtVandelay

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There isnt' really anything that you would want to soak your bottle in to get off the oil/block copolymer based adhesives off. Toluene or benzene will work very well for most hotmelt adhesive labels, but you don't want to play around with that.

One inert option is just heat since they are just block copolymer or polyolefin based hotmelts. still will need some solvent to get the residue off though.
 
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