updated about 4 hours ago
You might find yourself in the same boat that I’m in — the kind of boat that strictly prohibits labels from being on jars and bottles? I mean, they all come with labels, but I just nervously peel off every single one while I wait for the oven to preheat or for timers to go off. It’s not a terrible idea, either, because a label-less jar has lots of potential as a drinking vessel, vase, or even glass jars as kitchen organization.
Of course, this compulsive picking I (we?) do is a good way to end up with an opaque, very sticky jar. And that’s not super ideal if you want to reuse the jar. Luckily, there’s a quick and easy way to remove labels from glass, or just the residue if you’ve already peeled the bulk of the label off. Place the glass jar in a pot of water with a bit of baking soda or dish soap and that does the trick.
Fill a pot (I usually use my Dutch oven) 3/4 of the way with water and put it on the stove. Carefully put your jars into the pot. (You’ll probably need to tilt them to fill them up with water so that they sink!) Turn the burner on high and either sprinkle in some baking soda or a squeeze of liquid dish soap. I’ve had success with both methods when removing labels from glass, so use whatever is within arm’s reach.
You can let the jars simmer until the labels peel off on their own, or you can get in there with a pair of tongs and (carefully) encourage the labels to come off. Use the tongs to take each jar out and let them cool on a dish towel. If they still have traces of the label or a sticky residue on the glass, rub those parts with baking soda — the glass should come clean in a matter of seconds.
Then just wash the jars with soap and warm water and they’re ready.
In case you’re wondering why we’re talking about this now, well, there are two reasons. For starters, Earth Day is coming up, and the best way to keep something out of landfills is to reuse it if at all possible. Also, we just decorated an Easter brunch table almost exclusively with pickle, olive, and salsa jars. And we have zero regrets.