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How To Remove Stubborn Stickers From Food Jars You Want To Reuse

jars with torn labels
jars with torn labels - Rebeca Bolanos/Shutterstock

Jars are the ultimate storage vessel for everything from spices to pickles, so it makes perfect sense to use them again and again. It's kind of like a two-for-one deal when you purchase goods in containers, knowing you'll be able to reuse the food jar when it's empty. However, removing the product label is often a complicated affair that might make you wonder whether it's worth the effort.

The good news is that there's certainly a way to convert your empty container into a label-free storage device, and the key is to work smarter, not harder. Using pantry items from your kitchen, you can soften and dislodge the label and the glue with a few basic steps. One winning combination of ingredients is baking soda and cooking oil. The baking soda adds some grit for friction when scrubbing your jar, and the oil acts as a solvent, making a great combination for the task at hand. Plus, there are already a ton of reasons to have baking soda around for cooking, and you can even make use of expired vegetable oil, so it's a recipe for successful label removal and waste reduction.

Read more: The Best Way To Clean That Nasty Grease Off Of Your Kitchen Cabinets

The Process Of Removing Jar Labels

removing a glass bottle label
removing a glass bottle label - Rebeca Bolanos/Shutterstock

In order to clear the surface of your food jar, first attempt to remove the label. There are a wide variety of adhesives manufacturers use to make sure the label sticks to the jar, with many being downright effective, so undoing that process can be laborious. If you can remove the label, the subsequent techniques will be quicker and more successful in eliminating the sticky glue beneath it. Try soaking your jar in hot water or filling it with hot water to soften the glue from the inside, which will sometimes release the label. You can also boil glass jars. For durable surfaces like glass, you can scrape the label away with a razor's edge. However, don't risk damaging other surfaces that scratch easily. If you can't get the label off with these means, note that the methods below will work on them, but it may take a few tries.

The first step in removing the glue and/or the label is to mix a small amount of baking soda with whatever oil you have on hand. Try two teaspoons of both oil and baking soda. Then spread the mixture onto the glue and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes. When the time is up, use a plastic scraper or scrubber to remove the paper and glue.

Other Label Removal Tips

clean upturned empty jars
clean upturned empty jars - Lilu2005/Shutterstock

To achieve their goal, manufacturers often use water-repellent glues, which is why those stubborn labels aren't easily washed away. However, with the power of science, those same glues are attracted to oil, which means they will move away from the surface and towards the oil. This is why nearly any oil will work. Try olive, coconut, vegetable, canola, or avocado oil. Mayonnaise and peanut butter work exceptionally well, too, as they have a heavy oil content.

It's important to note that there's not a one-size-fits-all solution to removing food jar labels and glue because of the wide variety of materials used in the first place. Sometimes, a bit of oil or an oil and baking soda combo will do the trick the first time around. Other times, you may need to leave the mixture on longer or repeat the process a few times. In general, though, persistence will pay off, so don't give up on the process if you have meager results on your first attempt. By the way, if you're dedicated to buying glass jars but struggle to open them, you can use a bottle opener to unstick jar lids or use a mousepad as a makeshift jar opener.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.