How to Remove Sticky Labels from Plastic Jars

plastic jars

Have you ever bought a new jar, only to be left with an unsightly, sticky label that seems impossible to remove? 

Whether it’s from a store-bought product or a DIY project, sticky labels on plastic jars can be a real nuisance. 

But fret not; we’ve got you covered. 

In this article, we’ll share some hassle-free methods for removing sticky labels from plastic jars, ensuring your containers look brand new again.

Gather Your Supplies

Before you embark on your label-removing journey, gather the necessary supplies. You’ll need:

  • Plastic jar with the sticky label
  • Dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Hairdryer or heat gun
  • Cooking oil
  • Commercial adhesive remover
  • Scrubbing pad or sponge
  • Soft cloth
  • Safety gloves

Peeling Off the Label

Start by peeling off as much of the label as you can with your fingers or a plastic scraper. Be gentle to avoid scratching the plastic surface. If the label resists, don’t worry; we have more methods to try.

Soak in Warm, Soapy Water

Fill a sink or basin with warm water and add a few drops of dish soap. Place the jar in the water, ensuring the label is fully submerged. Let it soak for 15-20 minutes. The warm, soapy water will loosen the adhesive.

Rubbing Alcohol Method

Apply some rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth or paper towel. Gently rub it over the label until the adhesive begins to dissolve. The label should start peeling away easily.

Vinegar and Baking Soda Combo

Make a paste by mixing vinegar and baking soda. Spread the paste over the label and let it sit for 15 minutes. The fizzing action will help loosen the adhesive. Scrub with a sponge to remove the label.

Hairdryer or Heat Gun Technique

Use a hairdryer or a heat gun on a low setting to warm the label. This will soften the adhesive, making it easier to peel off. Be cautious not to overheat the plastic.

Scrubbing with Oil

Apply a small amount of cooking oil to the label and let it sit for a few minutes. Use a scrubbing pad or sponge to rub off the label gently. The oil will dissolve the adhesive.

Commercial Adhesive Removers

If the label remains stubborn, consider using a commercial adhesive remover. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

Patience is Key

Remember, patience is essential. If the label doesn’t come off completely on the first try, repeat the chosen method until it’s fully removed.

Peeling Off Residue

Once the label is gone, there may be some adhesive residue left behind. Use rubbing alcohol or a commercial adhesive remover to clean it off.

Preventing Future Sticky Labels

To avoid this hassle in the future, buy products with easily removable labels, or use labels designed for DIY projects that peel off cleanly.

Cleaning the Jar Thoroughly

After label removal, give your jar a good wash with warm, soapy water. This ensures it’s clean and ready for your next use.

Decorating and Reusing

Now that your jar is label-free, get creative! Decorate it, use it for storage, or repurpose it for various DIY projects.

Safety Precautions

Always wear safety gloves when handling chemicals like rubbing alcohol and commercial adhesive removers. Ensure proper ventilation in your workspace.


Removing sticky labels from plastic jars can be a breeze with the right methods and a bit of patience. 

Whether you choose the natural route or opt for commercial products, your jars will look brand new in no time.

Do you want tips for cleaning greasy plastic containers? Read How to Clean and Degrease Plastic Food Containers with Baking Soda.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Are these methods safe for all types of plastic jars?

Most methods are safe for common plastic types, but it’s a good practice to test a small, inconspicuous area first.

Can I use a hairdryer or heat gun on any plastic jar?

It’s best to avoid using excessive heat on thin or delicate plastic jars, as they may warp.

Is there a specific type of cooking oil I should use for label removal?

Any cooking oil, such as vegetable oil or olive oil, should work effectively.

Are there any eco-friendly alternatives for adhesive removal?

Yes, you can try using citrus-based adhesive removers for an eco-friendly option.

How can I remove adhesive residue from glass jars?

Similar methods can be used, but be cautious not to scratch the glass while removing the residue.

What should I do if the label leaves behind a colored stain on the plastic jar?

In some cases, the label’s ink may leave a stain. You can try using a mixture of baking soda and water to gently scrub the stained area.

Can I use nail polish remover to remove sticky labels?

While nail polish remover can be effective, it may damage some plastic jars. It’s best to use milder methods first and resort to nail polish remover as a last option.

How do I store my plastic jars after removing the labels?

It’s advisable to store your plastic jars in a cool, dry place to maintain their quality. Keep them away from direct sunlight to prevent warping.

Can I reuse plastic jars for food storage after label removal?

Absolutely! Just make sure to clean them thoroughly before using them for food storage, especially if you’ve used any chemicals during label removal.

What are some creative ideas for repurposing label-free plastic jars?

You can use them as flower vases, organize your craft supplies, create decorative candle holders, or even make homemade gifts in them.


Photo by Sarah Chai from Pexels