How to Remove Sticky Label from Glass

When I grabbed a recycled bottle to store a new recipe for homemade ketchup coming up on The Unknown Chef, I realized I’ve never shown you how to remove a sticky label from glass! This is our first official cleaning hack on Birdz of a Feather and, of course, we’re showing you non-toxic options.

Although this particular jar is being used to store food, this little trick has so many applications for home decor too. Who doesn’t love a great jar upcycle?!

You’ve probably seen a multitude of different ways on how to remove sticker residue from glass, and we’ve probably tried them all. But we’re pretty confident that we have the fastest, easiest and best way to get rid of that sticky residue. So just how do you get sticky labels off glass? We actually have two tried and true methods.

Glass ketchup jar, before remove label and sticky residue

Watch this video to see just how easy it is – or proceed to the written tutorial below.

How to Remove Sticky Residue from Glass

Step 1. Peel away the label

Start by pulling the label from the corner. As you remove the label, take it slow so that paper doesn’t get left behind.

Glass jar with label removed showing leftover glue and sticky residue

The first method is to take the still sticky label and apply it onto the areas that have sticky residue. Quickly lift it away – just like you’re ripping off a bandaid.

It may seem counter productive to put the label back on. But the sticky residue on the jar is attracted to the residue on the label and will stick to it. Go back over the same area again and again until all the residue is lifted away. Then move onto another sticky area and a fresh section of label backing.

This method is best for when there’s only a small amount of residue left on the glass.

 Remove label and sticky residue by repeatedly applying sticker and quickly removing

However, in this particular case, the sticker leaves a lot of sticky reside behind on the glass – too much to remove quickly. So let’s move on to the best way to get rid of that residue – which is fool proof,  fast and biodegradable!

Don’t you hate the smell of noxious solvents and chemicals such as Goo Gone and acetone? You might be surprised to know that specialty chemicals such as these are not even necessary. Which is great for me because strong smells like that give me a migraine!

Glass bottle showing sticky adhesive residue

Step 2. Apply Method All Purpose Cleaner

Method All-Purpose* is a natural cleaner we use every day in the kitchen to kill 99.9% of germs. It isn’t harsh or abrasive, nor is it smelly! As a matter of fact, the Method cleaner you see below has a pleasant citrusy smell.

We accidentally discovered it’s use to remove adhesive when we were working on our Christmas Sleigh Decor last year. Method took the remainder of a sticky label right off the wood! Ever since, we’ve been using it to remove sticker residue from glass jars and bottles too.

Method cleaner used to remove sticky residue from glass

Just spray a small amount of Method onto the glass and spread it around with your fingers. In less than a minute, it softens the left over sticker residue.

Closeup of bottle after applying method cleaner to sticky residue.

As you can see, it scrapes away easily with a finger nail; barely any pressure on my part.

After Method cleaner softens the residue, it can be easily scraped away. Show how easy a finger nail can remove the residue.

After the residue softens, scrape off as much as you can with a plastic razor blade scraper and wash the glass bottle in warm soapy water.

A scrubby sponge is helpful to remove the remaining sticky residue. Dry the glass, and in no time at all your bottle will be sparkling clean like this one. Not a bit of sticky residue is left!

After washing with warm, soapy water the jar is clean of sticky residue

Now it’s time to fill this bottle with our ketchup recipe (look for it on the weekend)! Funnel on top of now clean bottle

Although removing the sticky label residue from the sticker took hardly any effort, we think we’ll still reward ourselves and enjoy a little snack!

ketchup in bottle with dish of french fries and individual serving of ketchup in small glass dish

How to remove labels from glass jars

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FAQs on removing Sticky Residue

What is the easiest way to remove stickers from glass?

Method all purpose cleaner is the easiest non-toxic way we’ve found to remove labels from glass bottles without damaging them. Method softens even stubborn residue, and starts working in seconds, so you can get the sticky residue off glass without scratching it. Simply apply, wait a minute or two and wash the stickiness away.

Does vinegar remove glue residue?

If you don’t mind smelling like a pickle factory, vinegar requires time and some scrubbing, so vinegar isn’t the best method to remove sticky residue. Vinegar is acidic so can remove residue, but you will have to find a way to keep the vinegar in close contact with the adhesive – either by soaking or wrapping a soaked cloth around the object. For the best method, refer to our tutorial above.

What is the best adhesive remover?

On glass, Method all purpose cleaner is fast, easy and pleasant smelling way to remove sticky residue. Unlike other options, it works even on stubborn glues.

30 thoughts on “How to Remove Sticky Label from Glass

  1. I thought you were going to say a truly non toxic method -peanut butter. I`ve never tried it but it seems like it should work. My personal favorites are either Avon’s Skin So Soft or WD40,

    • We’re actually allergic to peanut butter in our household, so not a good choice for us :). I guess we also just hate to waste food – lol!

    • Thanks! There’s so many way you can upcycle jars; now I can come up with some craft ideas for them!

    • Hubs used to do that too, but it’s not an option for me; I can’t tolerate the smell (just not worth the resulting migraine)!

  2. I will have to get some of this Method. I have been known to throw a bottle away because the sticky is just too much.

    • Rosemary, it does double duty as a kitchen cleaner too so I think you will love it.

    • You’re welcome! The think I love most about Method is that it does double duty as a kitchen cleaner too. No need to buy a special label remover for glass!

    • Us too, we use nothing but ever since we started using them!

    • When I saw your beautiful glass Christmas candle holders today, I suspected you might be interested Kippi – lol! I should probably link to those :).

  3. Thanks for the tips, we dont have method here but I am sure there must be an equivalent.

    • Look for something with citrus; I haven’t tried other formulations, but suspect the citrus is key!

    • We only use the citrus formulation – is that the one you have? If not, I’d be interested in know if other ones in the lines work too or if citrus is the key!

    • We’ve only ever tried this with the citrus orange formulation so be on the lookout for that one in particular 🙂

  4. I’ve got a gorgeous limeade bottle that I would love to save without the label. Thanks for the helpful tips. AND congratulations on the Amara nomination. You must be SO excited. Good luck!

    • Thank you Meegan – we are excited about Amara. It’s an honour just to be nominated :).

    • Yes, some glues are so stubborn, but now those glasses can be saved and upcycled into something useful again 🙂

  5. Method cleaners work really well and smell good too!

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