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Removing Glue From Glass Jars

Terrarium bottleRemoving Glass Label Adhesives

I like to use glass jars for my projects for several reasons.  Storing chemicals, keeping mosses or emersed aquatic plants, or making a terrarium.  They are readily available and easy to find.  They have all sorts of lids, shapes, and sizes that come in handy for a multitude of uses.  The glue however, is usually the only downside.  Fortunately there’s a handy and simple way to get it off, easily.

I tear the label off if it’s only glued on one seam and put the jar and lid in the dishwasher.  If you don’t have a dishwasher a simple soak in hot water will work.  Cold water works too but hot is faster.  After it has been wet for some period of time I rub off any paper residue remaining.

Occasionally I find a label that must have some sort of waterproofing on it.  This makes the water soak difficult to remove the label.  When I run across this I take a sharp knife and cut the label off in strips.  The remaining glue can be attacked with the normal method of removing the adhesives.

paste mixThe trick to getting the adhesive off the bottles is a mix of some type of oil and baking soda.  Mix equal parts to make a paste that is thick enough to wipe on and stay.  Too dry and it will crumble off but too oily and it will run off too fast.  Generally a tablespoon of any kind of oil like olive oil or vegetable oil and a tablespoon of baking soda will be more than enough for an average size label.  It’s so inexpensive to make I apply it liberally.  I use a small spoon to mix the paste and apply it to the glue on the glass.
Rubbing off the glueLet the paste sit on the glass for at least a half hour but I generally set it and forget it.  After the paste has done its work I take a moist paper towel and rub the paste off along with the glue residue.  The oil and baking soda work together to clean the glass.  Rub the moist towel in circular motions and move along as the adhesive is removed.

Finally I wipe with a clean damp cloth to take off any residual oil, baking soda, or glue and use the bottle or jar for whatever it was intended for.

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