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crum

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What is the best way to get the labels off of bottles? I have some wine bottles that I got the labels off of but there is still this goo that is a pain to get off. So far I have tried hot water with soap, dishwasher and scrubbing. Is there any easier way to do this?
 

Dark_Ale

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homebrewer_99 said:
When hot water won't work...Goo-B-Gone...buy it at Walmart.
When the bottle has been soaking sos pads work good, greeniewinnies work good..the green srubbing pads. Dos Equis labels are a mother to get off. I dont even by the beer anymore......Sam Adams labels come off pretty good. Not sure on wine bottles
 

Dude

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crum said:
What is the best way to get the labels off of bottles? I have some wine bottles that I got the labels off of but there is still this goo that is a pain to get off. So far I have tried hot water with soap, dishwasher and scrubbing. Is there any easier way to do this?

Submerge the bottles for about 2-3 hours in a bucket of hot water with a scoop of oxyclean. You'll soon see the labels floating in the water. No scrubbing, no paper mess and if you save lables they are perfect every time.
Cheap too.
 

D-brewmeister

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Is oxyclean something you can buy at walmart or whatever, or do you have to buy it from that annoying t.v offer that is all over? I still have that guy's voice in my head "It uses the air you breathe . . ." gaaahh.
 
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crum

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D-brewmeister said:
Is oxyclean something you can buy at walmart or whatever, or do you have to buy it from that annoying t.v offer that is all over? I still have that guy's voice in my head "It uses the air you breathe . . ." gaaahh.
Yes you can.
I will have to try the oxyclean since I have some already. thanks.
 

D-brewmeister

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crum said:
Yes you can.
I will have to try the oxyclean since I have some already. thanks.
I used the oxyclean method for the first time yesterday. WORKS LIKE A DREAM! About a day and a half floating in the oxy juice and the lables just fell right off. A few of the New Belgium brewery bottles needed a little scrub to remove some softened gook, but other than that, totally low maintenance. Thanks orrelse! I did notice a bit of light powdery residue on the bottles, which I assume would be disolved label glue or something. I intend to rinse and sanitize the bottles before bottling, is there any reason I should try extra hard to remove all of that residue?
 
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crum

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Glad to hear the oxy method works. I was pressed for time before bottling and did not get to try it yet. Next it will be oxy. I used a product called goof off. Man did that work great. But it did take a lot of washing the bottle after because of the chemical it is.
 

cnw

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Is OxyClean also good for sanitizing? Thanks
 

Dude

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cnw said:
Is OxyClean also good for sanitizing? Thanks
Nope. Best bet for sanitizing is to get some Star-san or better yet Iodophor. Star-san foams too much for my liking. Both are no rinse though, so its highly convenient.

Also, most newer dishwashers have a sanitizing cycle. As long as the water gets above 160 degrees, its sanitized. Also very convenient.
 

cnw

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Thanks - especially like the part about the dishwasher
 

matc

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you can sanitize bottle in a dishwasher !? Do you add any soap ?
 

Kephren

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Don't add dish soap. The "sheeting action" chemicals in it will also prevent a head from forming on your beer.
 

bikebryan

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matc07098702 said:
you can sanitize bottle in a dishwasher !? Do you add any soap ?
Actually, very few home dishwashers will work to truly wash OR sanitize beer bottles. 160 degree water isn't near hot enough to do any true sanitizing; further the shape of the bottle prevents the water stream from soaking every part of the inside of the bottle. It's also not common for non-industrial dishwashers to offer a sanitizing cycle. Most dry cycles on home-dishwashers don't get near hot enough. Professional units usually use steam to do the sanitizing, and you aren't getting that in a home unit.
 

Dude

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bikebryan said:
Actually, very few home dishwashers will work to truly wash OR sanitize beer bottles. 160 degree water isn't near hot enough to do any true sanitizing; further the shape of the bottle prevents the water stream from soaking every part of the inside of the bottle. It's also not common for non-industrial dishwashers to offer a sanitizing cycle. Most dry cycles on home-dishwashers don't get near hot enough. Professional units usually use steam to do the sanitizing, and you aren't getting that in a home unit.

You and I have been through this before, and I don't know how to prove it any better than sourcing the offical Food and Drug Administration web site yet AGAIN:
FDA

"Hot water for handwashing shall be of a temperature of at least 110°F. Hot water for mechanical dishwashing must be 150°F-165°F for washing and 165°F-180°F for sanitizing. The temperature of the wash solution in spray-type warewashers that use chemicals to sanitize may not be less than 120°F. The water temperature for manual hot water sanitization must be at least 171°F."

I'm going to edit my original post that included the temperature, because I wrongly said it was 160 degrees, when sanitizing is actually 165+ degrees.
However, you are sorely wrong on your statement about home dishwashers not being able to sanitize. I have a low end Kenmore model that has a special sanitizing cycle. Based on your information (which you've provided no accurate source) should I go ahead and prepare the lawsuit against Sears for false advertising?
 

bikebryan

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ORRELSE said:
You and I have been through this before, and I don't know how to prove it any better than sourcing the offical Food and Drug Administration web site yet AGAIN:
FDA

"Hot water for handwashing shall be of a temperature of at least 110°F. Hot water for mechanical dishwashing must be 150°F-165°F for washing and 165°F-180°F for sanitizing. The temperature of the wash solution in spray-type warewashers that use chemicals to sanitize may not be less than 120°F. The water temperature for manual hot water sanitization must be at least 171°F."

I'm going to edit my original post that included the temperature, because I wrongly said it was 160 degrees, when sanitizing is actually 165+ degrees.
However, you are sorely wrong on your statement about home dishwashers not being able to sanitize. I have a low end Kenmore model that has a special sanitizing cycle. Based on your information (which you've provided no accurate source) should I go ahead and prepare the lawsuit against Sears for false advertising?
Regardless, I still stand by the fact that the design of a huge majority of beer bottles prevents the water stream from the dishwasher from fully coating the inside of the bottle. That alone should give you a pause when considering using a dishwasher for this purpose. They weren't meant or designed for this purpose.

If it's worked for you, great. I won't chance it. I've seen too many cases of food poisoning from improper sanitization (I've worked in a hospital ER for many years now) to trust this. There is a world of difference between home an pro dishwashing and santizing systems. Home sanitization is vastly different from the standards that MUST be used in the professional environment.
 

tnlandsailor

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The good news is, you aren't going to get food poisoning from infected homebrew, just bad homebrew.
 

matc

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but anyway the highest temperature that i can reach with my dishwasher is 140 F..that's not enough
 

uglygoat

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i just bottle with the labels on if they are a pain to get off, eventually they wear off.

there is a local brew pub that sells their wares in 12 oz bottles, but the label is glued on with wheat paste or something and the labels are laminated in some shiny water impervious coating. even after a long soak the lables are still firmly attached, so i just pour the beer in and never mind the labels. as long as the inside and lip are sanitized... ;)
 

andre the giant

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I'm so damn happy. I had somewhere around 280 bottles I had accumulated over the years and this spring when I began brewing like crazy, I gave every one of them a good cleaning. I used a wire brush and metal putty knife type thing to remove the labels after a good 1 week soaking. The hardest ones to remove were the ones that I had put on my previous batches of beer. They were horrible.

Now none of my beer is labeled. All of my bottles are spotless, full of beer, and when my wife gets around to creating labels for them, she's insisting on using a paper stock and glue sticking them on. When they get wet, they'll come right off. My next big project with the bottles is to weed out all the green ones and give them to friends.
 

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I get a 100 or so Wine bottles that I scrounge from resturants etc.., fill the bathtub with the hottest water that my bioler produces, and then Dump in a whole lot of "Arm & Hammer - Washing SODA" Put bottles in bath - and then leave for a few hours. Most of the labels and glue are soaked off, though some scrubbing is needed here and there.

Rinse well, dry. Put away till ready to bottle.

Please note - it is Washing SODA, not the baking soda, or washing detergent.

I have not tried the oxyclean, but that is a possibilty later. Washing soda is considerably cheaper though :)

Kilroy
 

Thor

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One poster mentioned laminated labels with a hard-to-remove gum posing a problem. It might help to score the labels before soaking. Take a serrated knife, wallpaper scoring tool or some other relatively sharp tool and make a few slashes in the label, as close to the glass as you can get. This will allow the soaking solution to get underneath the paper (i.e. through the laminate), which should help.
 

Windaria

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My way of removing labels is to soak them in warm water for 10 minutes, whip out a carving knife, and just run the blade along the glass. If the label has been soaking long enough then this will remove it pretty fast. Afterward, for those few spots that are left, I just hit it with a scouring pad and blammo. This saves the pads from getting fouled up with label stuff since they are only used to remove the little flecks, instead of the whole label.
 

Thor

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Used the Oxy Clean method on a total of 70+ Grolsch and Fisher's Ale bottles this week. Filled the sink with hot water and a few scoops of Oxy Clean powder, let them soak for a few hours.

Worked like a charm. Labels floated off, and the glue rinsed off. Thanks, all, for the insight!
 

DrewsBrews

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Okay... got the be-all, end-all method for removing all but metallic labels from any bottle. I used this method just a couple of weeks ago:

1. Add one cup of ammonia (not bleach! - just use straight ammonia) to five gallons of cold water. I got a bottle of ammonia from the local Albertsons grocery store for a couple of bucks. (EDIT: Never combine ammonia and bleach. It creates toxic fumes. Just wanted to add that side note for safety.)

2. Submerge bottles in the solution overnight. NO scoring of the labels is required. (EDIT: unless the labels are metallic. You might need to perforate or score those to allow the solution to soak the backside of the label)

3. Next day, pick bottles out of the solution and wipe the label off with a finger. Of course, that's assuming the thing doesn't just slide off as you lift it out of the solution. It completely dissolves the glue. Rinse and store.

Ammonia isn't real easy on the sinuses, so I suggest you do this outdoors. I tell you, it can't get any easier than that. :D
 

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ive just started my beer bottle collecting empire a month ago, and the 100+ bottles ive done, i just fill up my wifes bathtub with hot as hell bleach water and let them soak for a couple hours. the labels come right off and i only have to scrub a little glue residue. no fancy chemicals that "use the air you breathe...." :)
 

DrewsBrews

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subwyking said:
i just fill up my wifes bathtub with hot as hell bleach water and let them soak for a couple hours. the labels come right off and i only have to scrub a little glue residue. no fancy chemicals that "use the air you breathe...." :)
With the ammonia, there's no scrubbing at all. The glue is gone. Just wipe the label off with the side of your finger, rinse the bottle well with warm water, and then dry it with a paper towel.

Regarding the chemicals, I can't imagine a tub full of steaming hot bleach water inside the house being any easier on the respiratory tract than a mild ammonia-cold water solution sitting out on the back porch. The only time it's even noticeable outdoors is when you're pouring the straight ammonia into the water. :)
 

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the smell is strong, but bearable. my wife doesnt mind because it leaves her bathtub nice and white. its pretty cool though, it looks like a small "beer bottle armada" when they are floating around.
 

DrewsBrews

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subwyking said:
its pretty cool though, it looks like a small "beer bottle armada" when they are floating around.
Throw a growler in as a carrier and a wine bottle as a battleship... now that would be cool!
 

subwyking

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a friend is bringing over 36 bottles sometime this week, ill do just that. ive got a few empty wine bottles. :)
 

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bikebryan said:
Regardless, I still stand by the fact that the design of a huge majority of beer bottles prevents the water stream from the dishwasher from fully coating the inside of the bottle. That alone should give you a pause when considering using a dishwasher for this purpose. They weren't meant or designed for this purpose.

If it's worked for you, great. I won't chance it. I've seen too many cases of food poisoning from improper sanitization (I've worked in a hospital ER for many years now) to trust this. There is a world of difference between home an pro dishwashing and santizing systems. Home sanitization is vastly different from the standards that MUST be used in the professional environment.
I was thinking that the combination of the 180° heat from some newer dishwashers' sanitizing cycles plus the heated dry should do a pretty good job of sanitizing. Doesn't the head radiate throughout the entire dishwaster, killing anything and everything even if water can't touch the inside of all the bottles?

My newer model dishwasher has the NSF/ANSI Certified Sanitizing cycle along with heated drying. I usually plast the inside of my bottles with a jet washer and then run them through a sanitizing cycle overnight and bottle the next day. 8, 5 gallon batches without any infected beer so far. knock on wood.
 

DrewsBrews

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Just my two pennies - I'm no expert, but it seems to me that regardless of the temperature of the water circulating in the dishwasher, not enough of it is going to get inside the bottle to thoroughly clean it.

I'll add a little more detail to Bikebryan's comments: Take a look at the layout of the nozzles in the dishwasher's sprayer. They're spaced an inch or two apart. Now imagine how clean you'd be able to get a bottle if someone handed you a hose and told you to pass it by the opening of the bottle over and over again. Then toss in the fact that for any reasonable efficiency each bottle would have to be placed directly over the path of one of the nozzles. (picture the hose you're holding, again, passing by part or none of the opening of the bottle)

Regarding the heat of the dry cycle, how hot is it? Does that element keep the heat inside that unit over 170 degrees for 15-30 minutes? Are you sure? And if the water didn't get all the stuff out of the bottles, do you mind pouring your new batch in on top of crusty, baked-on yeast leftovers? Yuk.

I just can't see it working well. Certainly not 100%. I'm not going to say that someone who runs bottles through the dishwasher is asking for trouble. I'd just rather dunk the bottles in a high strength bleach water solution that allows the agent to be in full contact with every surface for an extended period of time. When I rinse them out I know they are both clean and sanitized.
 

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DrewsBrews said:
Just my two pennies - I'm no expert, but it seems to me that regardless of the temperature of the water circulating in the dishwasher, not enough of it is going to get inside the bottle to thoroughly clean it.
I don't think anybody is suggesting using the dishwasher to clean bottles, at least I hope not. I completely agree with you that this is a manual labor task. The dishwasher is only used to heat sanitize the bottles for which purpose it's not important that the water fly up into every crook and corner.

I've cleaned my bottles and then run them through the dishwasher for sanitizing successfully, but now that I've moved to a no-rinse sanitizer I run them through the dishwasher and then shake up some sanitizer in them. After I sanitize 6 I pour the solution into the next 6 and let them sit a few minutes while I bottle the ones I just sanitized.
 

bikebryan

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BeeGee said:
I don't think anybody is suggesting using the dishwasher to clean bottles, at least I hope not. I completely agree with you that this is a manual labor task. The dishwasher is only used to heat sanitize the bottles for which purpose it's not important that the water fly up into every crook and corner.

I've cleaned my bottles and then run them through the dishwasher for sanitizing successfully, but now that I've moved to a no-rinse sanitizer I run them through the dishwasher and then shake up some sanitizer in them. After I sanitize 6 I pour the solution into the next 6 and let them sit a few minutes while I bottle the ones I just sanitized.
What???? You 'sanitize' your bottles in the dishwasher, then use a no-rinse sanitizer afterwards? What's the point? Why waste the time/water using the dishwasher if you are going to sanitize them immediately before filling?
 
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With newly aquired bottles I bleach water bathtub them, then rinse with bottle washer then stick in Dishwasher for the santizing dry cycle. My dishwasher's heated dry cycle is damn hot. I ususally let the was cycle run for a few minutes without soap just to rinse off anything on the outside of the bottles.

With bottles that are generally clean (rinsed hoembrew bottles) I just use my bottle washer and the use the dry cycle to heat em up.

I always check the insides after I use the bottle washer just in case someone forgot to rinse after drinking and some starnge alin had taken one over as a new home.
 

Walker

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I used ammonia to remove my bottle labels this weekend for the first time. Maybe I didn't use enough of it, but it seems to work no better or worse than bleach.

At first, I thought it was working great, because I saw a few labels float away after a few hours soak time. However, those that floated away were bass labels, and those will actually fall right off the bottles after just soaking in hot water for a while, so that was a bit misleading.

The true test (in my mind) was going to be whether or not the Saranac labels peeled away easily. Those are the ones that give me the hardest time.

Anyway, I pulled a couple Saranac bottles out last night (24 hours soak time) to see how things were going, and they are still stuck on pretty damn good. It looks like I'll have to scrape them off anyway.

I think I'll stick with bleach. The results seem the same, but bleach fumes aren't as nauseating. :D

-walker
 

Orfy

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I don't have a proplem with most store bought's

I dump in a warm bleach solution and must just fall off and take the glue with it, some need a wipe. Today I tackled the stubborn ones. Out of hundred I had 9 that needed a bit of help. I got the pressure washer out and as they say. "Resistance is futile" Clean bottles without any scrubing.
 

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Yeah, but you don't have many american beers available, right? For some reason, we seem to use a much stronger glue over hear.

Every single UK import that I have ever bought has a glue on the label that is VERY easily removed (bass, newcastles, sammy smith, guinness). Some warm water and (maybe) some bleach and those UK labels come right off with very little effort

For american beers, the labels seem to take a lot more work. The Saranacs actually force me to scrape with a knife to remove most of it, then a scouring pad to get the rest off.

-walker
 
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