StickerYou Blog

How to Remove Labels From Beer Bottles: In a Few Steps

January 29, 2024  |  
Guides/Tutorials
Beer bottles, each with a different branded label.

After chugging down your favorite lager or wheat beer from a local brewery, that empty bottle will likely go in the trash to be disposed of — unless you’re an avid recycler who wants to repurpose it as a nice glass vase for your flowers or an enthusiast making your own homemade beer and need somewhere to store your homebrews. If you do plan on making your homebrews, we recommend getting some of our custom product labels.

Regardless, the first order of business is removing the product label. In this article, we’re going to lay down all the steps you need to take to remove labels from beer bottles cleanly and successfully. 

How to Remove Labels From Beer Bottles: Step by Step

Step 1: Collect Empty Bottles

Start by gathering all those empty beer bottles you have on your kitchen counter or a box in your basement. If you’re removing labels to reuse the bottle for your homebrews, collect enough to hold your batch of beer. For reference, a standard gallon of beer will require about 50 12-ounce bottles or 29 22-ounce bottles. 

If you haven’t cleaned out the bottles before storing them, go ahead and rinse them out to remove leftover beer and gunk. If gunk has already formed, take the extra effort of scrubbing the bottle clean. You don’t have to use soap at this point — the label removal process hits two birds with one stone: removing beer bottle labels while thoroughly cleaning the bottle from inside out. 

Step 2: Soak the Bottle

After you’ve gathered all the bottles you want to work with, find a large container you can use to soak them in soapy water. You can use a large plastic bin, a brew bucket, or simply your sink or bathtub. 

Place all the bottles in your vessel of choice, fill it with water, and add in a generous amount of dish soap. Let the bottles soak in the soapy water for at least 12 hours, but we recommend leaving them for longer (overnight) to allow the solution to loosen the adhesive and make the labels easier to remove with less effort. 

Step 3: Peel Off the Label

After leaving your bottles to soak, you’re ready to start peeling the labels off. If you kept your bottles submerged in water overnight, you’ll notice the labels sliding right off the bottles. But some will still require a bit more elbow grease. 

Use an abrasive sponge to scrub the bottle and remove adhesive residue. If you encounter any difficulty removing the labels or glue, soak the bottle for another couple of hours. 

Step 4: Rinse and Dry

When you’ve successfully removed the labels and adhesive residue from your empty bottles, thoroughly rinse them with fresh water. Make sure you run clean water inside the bottle to get rid of soap residue. 

After rinsing, inspect each bottle to make sure there’s no sediment. If you find any, soak the bottle in soapy water and use a bristled bottle brush to clean thoroughly. When done, set the bottles aside and let them air dry. 

An empty beer bottle that doesn’t have any label on it

How to Remove Stubborn Beer Labels

If the labels aren’t budging after soaking the beer bottles overnight, you may need more abrasive tools or harsher solutions to get them off. Here are our recommendations. 

Plastic Scraper or Credit Card

Soaked beer bottle labels should be relatively easy to peel off with your fingers or scrubbed off with an abrasive sponge. But should these not be enough, you can use a plastic scraper or an old credit card to help. 

Use the scraping tool to lift the edges of the label and cleanly scrape them off the bottle surface. Be careful not to use sharp tools to avoid scratching or breaking the glass. 

Baking Soda Paste

Instead of dish soap and water, you can also use baking soda to help loosen up bottle labels and their adhesives. Create a baking soda paste with one part baking soda and one part water. Cover the label in your mixture and let it sit for a couple of hours. When the baking soda paste has fully saturated the label, peel it off with a plastic scraper or stiff card. 

If you want something stronger, you can also mix baking soda, dish soap, vinegar, and water for more fizzy action. 

Rubbing Alcohol or Acetone

Rubbing alcohol and acetone are notorious for removing sticky residue from glass surfaces. Choose your poison and soak the bottle labels with it. Because both alcohol and acetone evaporate quickly, cover the surface with plastic wrap before letting it sit for a couple of hours. 

After some time, remove the plastic wrap and begin peeling the stickers off. Use your scraping tool to help you tackle stubborn adhesives. If you’re reusing the bottle for your homebrews, make sure to clean it thoroughly after the label removal process. 

Conclusion

Removing labels from beer bottles isn’t difficult. All it takes is a little bit of patience and elbow grease. Don’t forget to clean the bottle thoroughly after removing the label. And after, you’ll have a clean bottle ready to fill with your homemade pilsners or to repurpose into household decor. 

How to Remove Labels From Beer Bottles: Frequently Asked Questions

How do you remove beer can labels?

If the beer can is labeled with a shrink-wrap sleeve or sticker, you can remove the label by filling the can with hot water and letting it sit for five minutes. After such time, lift the edge of the label with a razor or scraping tool and slowly peel the label off. 

How do you get a label off a beer bottle without ruining it?

If you’re looking to save the beer bottle label, there are a few methods you can try. The first is soaking the bottle in a mixture of Oxiclean and water for under an hour, after which you’ll find the labels floating to the top of the vessel. Alternatively, you can cover the label in baking soda paste, let it sit, and it will come right off.