How to Clean Labels from Wine Labels (Eco-Friendly Method)
Want to learn the easiest way to remove sticky labels from wine bottles? Our simple four-step process uses all-natural, eco-friendly ingredients you already have in your home.
Do you reuse wine bottles? We love to save them for zero-waste storage, but hate leftover paper labels and sticky adhesive. Fortunately, we have a quick and easy (and environmentally-friendly) fix to get wine bottles squeaky clean.
👉 To remove labels from wine bottles, simply follow these four steps:
- Fill your sink or a large container with hot water.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons dish soap and 1 cup of white vinegar.
- Submerge bottles in water and let them soak for 20-30 minutes.
- Remove bottles from water and easily remove labels.
Read on to learn more about how to clean the labels from wine bottles naturally? Let’s do it!
🍷 How to clean labels from wine bottles (step-by-step photos)
1️⃣ Step One: Fill a sink or a large container with hot water
First, fill your sink or a large waterproof container (one big enough to submerge wine bottles) with hot water. Cold or warm water will work as well, but hot water will help to quickly melt the glue on the labels.
2️⃣ Step Two: Add dish soap and white vinegar
Add 1-2 tablespoons of a mild dish soap and ½ cup of vinegar to the water. The dish soap will remove the paper labels from the wine bottles and the vinegar will help to remove the sticky glue that is used on some labels.
3️⃣ Step Three: Submerge bottles and let them soak for 20-30 minutes
Next, add the wine bottles to the water, making sure the labels are completely submerged, and let them soak for 20-30 minutes while the dish soap and vinegar work their magic on the labels.
4️⃣ Step Four: Remove bottles from water + remove labels
Take the wine bottles out of the water and remove labels. The labels should come off easily without any sticky residue, however if there is still paper or glue residue stuck to the bottles then move on to the next step to get the labels off completely.
Fill bottles with water to store in the refrigerator, use wine bottles to infuse herbal oils, or even fill clear wine bottles with twinkle lights to use as decoration around the house. The reusable wine bottle options are limitless!
🧽 What to do with if there is still label residue
If you’re still dealing with extra sticky labels, it’s time to do some scrubbing. Follow these tips to remove sticky wine label residue:
1️⃣ Step One: Combine baking soda + olive oil
In a small bowl mix together equal parts oil and baking soda and stir to combine. For only a few wine bottles this may be 2 tablespoons of both oil and baking soda, but for more wine bottles use ¼-⅓ cup of each.
2️⃣ Step Two: Scrub sticky label adhesive
Once combined, rub the oil and soda mixture onto the sticky wine label and then use a dish rag or a scrubbing brush to rub the label clean. You may need to let the oil mixture sit on the label for a few minutes to loosen up the adhesive glue.
2️⃣ Questions + quick tips
You can use washing soda to remove sticky labels from wine bottles. Simply replace the vinegar and/or baking soda in this how-to with washing soda. However, though the Environmental Work Group gives washing soda an A rating for eco-friendly cleaning purposes, it is not edible and is caustic (meaning can burn your skin) so make sure to use cleaning gloves when handling.
Rubbing alcohol can be used to remove labels easily from wine bottles, however it is not technically an eco-friendly ingredient. While rubbing alcohol is a powerful disinfectant with many household uses, isopropyl alcohol’s Material Safety Data Sheet warns that it may cause skin irritation if handled without gloves and serious harm if ingested, not to mention flammable. For the purposes of removing labels, we suggest sticking with safe ingredients like dish soap and baking soda.
You can use a hair dryer to blow hot air onto a wine bottle label to melt the glue, however you will still need to soak the wine bottle in either water or use oil to peel off the sticky label. For this reason we recommend cutting out this step and going right to soaking in hot water with soap, vinegar, and baking soda, which will also help adhesive glue to easily rub off.
Removing labels with dish soap and baking soda does not damage wine bottles and they will be able to be used again for other household and food storage.
Using dish soap and vinegar should remove all paper labels from beer, wine, champagne, and other types of bottles. If sticky labels persist, make sure to use a combination of oil and baking soda to scrub off pesky paper labels. Some screen printed labels or dates on some beer bottles may need a stronger scrub brush to remove. However, if the label is etched into the bottle then it is not possible to remove the label.
💡 Ideas for what to store in your newly clean wine bottles
Now that your wine bottles are clean and ready to use, here are some ideas for a zero-waste storage around the house.
- Use empty wine bottles to store cold drinking water in the refrigerator. After cleaning and remove the labels from bottles, fill them with drinking water and store them in the refrigerator for serving.
- Infuse herbal cooking oils in empty wine bottles. Use empty wine bottles for homemade infused oils by adding fresh herbs like rosemary and sage to the bottle and filling them with oil.
- Decorate your home with twinkly wine bottles. Fill empty wine bottles with small twinkle lights and use them for holiday (or every day!) decor.
- Use clean wine bottles in the garden. Create a decorative garden border with empty wine bottles, use them as a watering stake for a potted plant, or create a homemade bird feeder with extra curb appeal using your newly cleaned wine bottles.
♻️ More tips for reusing jars + bottles
Looking for more ways to go green in the kitchen? Read our guide about composting paper towels, find out whether you can compost tea bags, and follow our steps to building a sustainable kitchen by replacing one single-use item at a time.
Want more green living and zero waste kitchen tips? Join the Green Living Community for weekly sustainable food and green kitchen ideas. And make sure to share your tips and tricks for removing labels from wine bottles at home in the comments. Let's go green together!
- 3 gallons of hot water
- 1 tablespoon mild dish soap
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 3 wine bottles with labels
- Kitchen sink or large glass mixing bowl
- Kitchen scrubbing brush
- Fill your sink or a large bowl with hot water. You can also use cold water, but hot water will help to melt the glue adhesive used on labels.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons dish soap and 1 cup of white vinegar. The dish soap and vinegar will work with the hot water to melt the glue and allow for easy label removal.
- Submerge wine bottles in water and let them soak for 20-30 minutes. Letting the jars soak will help labels to be removed easily.
- Remove bottles from water and easily remove labels. Peel off labels and set aside any with sticky glue that won't easily rub off.
- For sticky label glue that won’t come off, mix together equal parts oil and baking soda in a small bowl, then rub onto label glue and scrub with a dish rag or scrub brush. Let the oil mixture soak onto labels for a few minutes and then use a scrub brush or rag to rub off labels and glue.
- Wash and dry bottles and they’re ready to reuse!
- Is this wine bottle label removal method eco-friendly? Yes, the dish soap and vinegar are environmentally-friendly ingredients.
- What wine bottles will this work on? Any empty glass wine bottles with paper labels. Etched or screen printed labels cannot be removed without damaging the bottle.
- What to do with bottles once clean: Use empty wine bottles for chilled water in the refrigerator or fill them with olive oil and add a pour spout for easy oil pouring.