How to Remove Labels from Boxes and Jars

Do you like to recycle boxes and jars? If you do, you probably have been through the “I’ve gotta remove this label” routine at least once. You don’t want others to know your address if you reuse a box for mailing, and you want to use new labels on jars that you reuse for canning or storage. To help you out, we’ve included some tips below that will make this label-removing task a bit easier for you.


How to remove this box labelThe most meticulous job we’ve seen on removing labels from boxes was from Chica and Joe. They have the task of removing labels from boxes down to a ‘T.’ They will show you, step by step, how to use an eXacto knife to remove labels, logos and anything else you want to remove from boxes.

But, if you’re afraid of sharp knives, the next best way to remove a label from a cardboard box is to use paint thinner (a non-flammable, “unaggressive” solvent). Use a brush to lightly cover the label, and the liquid will liquify the glue that holds the label to the box. Allow the thinner to get under the edges of the label, so when it dries (in about two minutes), you can peel the label right off.

If the label is covered with tape, then you’ll need to resort to a knife again, according to the Idea Bank. To get away from paint thinner and knives, try what this thrifty woman did – she used her blow dryer to make the glue soft, and she peeled the label off immediately.

Jars and Bottles

The following information had us rolling in the floor laughing. We laughed at the means used to remove the labels, but we also had to laugh about how the labels were attached to the jars in the first place. If something is this difficult to remove, why? And, does anyone get really attached to their job at the label-attaching part of the factory?

  1. The first solution is simple. Just wash the jar with the label on and dry it totally. Then, place the jar between your legs and blow dry the heck out of it. We suggest two things: Wear a towel between the jar and your legs, because that jar will get hot; and, wear gloves for the same reason.
  2. The second solution applies our suggestion and uses a towel between the legs. This method is exactly like the one above, but, then – “Spread a thin layer of peanut butter over any remaining label and glue. Allow the oils of the peanut butter to penetrate the glue and paper for about 30 minutes.” Once the peanut butter (even recalled varieties, by the way) has dried, then “scrub the peanut butter off with a piece of steel wool and watch your recycled jars come clean.”

Frankly, there is no easy way to remove labels from many jars, but we like this suggestion because we know it’s true. Don’t ever remove the label before you remove the glue – you’ll really have a mess on your hands then.

Good luck!

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