How To Remove Jar Labels and Odors

updated May 8, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We reuse jars and bottles everywhere in the home – to store bulk grains, dish soap, buttons, nails, you name it. Removing the sticky labels and any odors (most often from foods like tomatoes, pickles, and garlic) from the jars is a mundane yet satisfying task. Here’s how we do it.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

What You Need

Hot water
Dish soap
Sponge or steel wool
Vegetable oil or peanut butter (optional)
Sunshine (optional)
Vinegar (optional)
Baking soda (optional)

Hair dryer (optional)


To remove labels
1. Soak the jar in hot, soapy water for a few hours or overnight. You can use a bowl for a single jar or fill up the sink for a whole collection.

2. Using your fingers, peel or rub the label from the jar. If it does not come off easily, try scrubbing it with a sponge or steel wool.

3. If there is still paper or adhesive stuck to the jar, apply a thin layer of vegetable oil or peanut butter over the label and let rest for about 30 minutes. Scrub the label off using a sponge or steel wool and wash the jar with soap and water.

4. For extra stubborn residue, use a hair dryer to warm the glue, making it easier to remove. Use a towel to protect your hands and exercise caution, as the jar may get hot.

To remove odors
1. Sunshine can help remove odors. Place the jar and/or lid outdoors or in a sunny window for a day or two.

2. Baking soda and vinegar also help remove odors from jars and lids. Place baking soda or vinegar inside the jar or soak the lid for a few hours.

3. In some cases, it may be impossible to remove odor from a jar lid. Recycle the lid if you can, reuse the lid-less jar as a drinking glass or other open container, or shop for a new lid at Kitchen Krafts or Wholesale Supplies Plus.

Is this how you remove labels and odors from jars? Share your own tips and tricks in the comments.

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