Does anyone else know the pure frustration that comes when you want to reuse a jar (or container of some sort) but when you peel off the label you can't get the sticky adhesive off underneath? This drives me insane!
I recently came across some spice jars with labels on the glass and the plastic lids. I figured I would just soak them for a long time and all the labels and sticky adhesive would come right off. Wrong! This was not the case at all, and after scrubbing for an extraordinarily long time, I knew it was a lost cause to continue with the soaking method.
My husband suggested using xylene, but since I was going to be using these specific jars for food I didn't want to use something so toxic, especially on plastic lids that could absorb the odor or chemical. (I also know xylene isn't food safe, so I threw that option out the window.) ;)
I started researching how to remove stubborn adhesive and found a million different suggestions/solutions from milk to rubbing alcohol to canola oil. I decided to try a bunch of common kitchen ingredients to see what would work best. Keep reading to find out!
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Put to the Test!
In my attempt to remove adhesive in a non-toxic manner I tried: Jif peanut butter, rubbing alcohol, vinegar, olive oil, coconut oil, and natural peanut butter.
I left all of the lids to sit for about 15 minutes (because that's what I read to do!) and tried to scrape some of the adhesive off. NONE of these methods worked....well, not at first!
I got frustrated that they didn't work because I really love the jars and lids and wanted to be able to use them! Anyway, I got busy with daily life and forgot about the lids entirely. The next morning I remembered them and looked at them in disgust! But...to my amazement, some of the methods worked, and worked REALLY well!!
Step 2: Rubbing Alcohol & Vinegar
Neither rubbing alcohol nor vinegar worked at all. They actually made things worse by drying the adhesive onto the lids. Don't bother wasting your time with these!
Step 3: Peanut Butter
Jif peanut butter and natural peanut butter worked well. If you have a sticky situation any peanut butter will work to dissolve adhesive and since most people have peanut butter in their kitchen pantry it's a good option. (it's not the best option though!)
I was able to easily scrape the adhesive off with my fingernail and wash the lid clean with soap and water.
Step 4: Olive Oil
Olive oil worked okay. I had to scrape for quite a while to get the adhesive off but in the end the lid came clean and will work if olive oil is all you have in your kitchen.
Step 5: Coconut Oil - WINNER!
Coconut oil was the clear winner for removing sticky adhesive. As you can see in the photo the coconut oil not only dissolved the adhesive but allowed the leftover label to come off in a chunk instead of having to scrape over and over.
Step 6: Saving the Fails
I saved the failed attempts (rubbing alcohol and vinegar) by rubbing coconut oil on the lids and letting them sit overnight. They came clean like a dream!