Whether you are a winemaker, a wine and craft beer enthusiast, or a crafter, you have to be able to remove labels from wine bottles. Remember, some of these labels are tightly stuck on the bottles, and therefore you need to remove them carefully to avoid breaking the glass bottles.
This article offers you a complete guide on how to remove labels from wine bottles.
Why You Need to Remove Labels from Wine Bottles
There are many reasons why you may want to remove labels from your wine bottles. For example, you may want to remove labels from your favorite wine bottles to save them in your wine journal or scrapbook. Also, if you are a winemaker, you may have to remove labels from your wine bottles for re-use.
Many private winemakers who do not have the financial muscle to manufacture their own wine bottles tend to remove commercial labels from discarded wine bottles before reusing them with their own labels.
This helps them to save money because they do not have to purchase new bottles. If you are an artisan or crafter who uses wine bottles to create different pieces of art, you will have to remove commercial labels from the bottles before you use them.
Many people just throw their wine bottles away when they are empty not realizing how useful they can be. Many crafters will pay a lot of money for empty wine bottles because they can use them to create a lot of valuable glassware.
Some of the most common creations made from wine bottles include wine bottle glassware, wine tile coasters, framed wine labels, wall and desk art, among others.
Even if you are not a professional artisan, you may need to use wine bottles as flower vases and other décor elements. If you want to paint your wine bottles for this aesthetic purpose, you should start by removing the labels before painting them.
However, there are several important factors you need to consider when removing labels from wine bottles.
Factors to Consider When Removing Labels from Wine Bottles
Before you remove labels from your wine bottles for any of the above-mentioned reasons, you need to consider the following factors.
Type of Label
The method you use to remove a label from a wine bottle will depend on the type of label you are dealing with. So, start by checking what the label is made of. If it’s made of plastic (like a sticker), it is less permeable to water.
Therefore, to remove a plastic label from a wine bottle, you will need to use heat or physical means such as a razor blade. But this depends on what you want to save – the label or the bottle? If the label is made of paper, then it’s more permeable to water and other liquids.
So, you can use other label removal methods, depending on whether you are trying to save the bottle or the label.
Labels are adhered to wine bottles using a wide range of adhesive polymers including pressure-sensitive adhesives (stickers) and water-based glues. But since you are not an adhesive expert, you will have to assess the type of adhesive used using visual assessment. Just take a razor blade and lift a corner of the label.
If the adhesive looks like traditional glue, you should use a detergent or water-based removal method to remove the label. But if the adhesive looks like a sticker, then you should consider removing the label using heat and other physical methods.
How to Remove Labels from Wine Bottles: Different Methods
There are several effective techniques that you can use to safely remove labels from your wine bottles. These methods depend on the type of label and adhesive you are dealing with, as well as what you are trying to save (label or bottle). Here are the most common methods used to remove labels from your wine bottles.
This label removal method is suitable for removing labels from both empty and full wine bottles. It is also suited for labels adhered to bottles using conventional glue because they are permeable to water and other liquids.
1. The OxiClean Method
This label removal technique involves the use of OxiClean solution, which is very good at removing stains and relaxing stiff adhesives.
This technique has proved to be quite effective on different labels including paper, plastic, and glue wine bottle labels. Just pour a small cup of OxiClean solution into a bucket full of water and dip the wine bottle into the solution.
Leave the bottle in the bucket for about 30 minutes.
If the label doesn’t come out on its own, you can use a sharp knife or razor blade to lift the corner of the label gently. When you remove the label from the bottle, place it on waxed paper so that it doesn’t stick on the surface.
2. Baking Soda
Baking soda is one of the most common household items because it can be used to prepare different meals. But apart from baking your favorite cookies, you can also use baking soda to remove labels from your wine bottles. Just fill a bucket with warm water and add 5-10 tablespoons of baking soda. Put the wine bottle into the solution and leave it in for 30 minutes.
The label will likely be floating in the solution after 30 minutes. But if it doesn’t come out, you can easily peel it off using a sharp knife or razor blade. If you only want to save the bottle, just wipe the label off with a piece of cloth of steel wool. But if you are interested in the label, just allow it to dry completely before using it.
3. Hot Water
This is one of the easiest ways to remove labels from wine bottles, especially empty bottles. If soaking the bottle with hot water doesn’t work, you can simply fill it with hot water. You will also need to have a towel, pair of gloves, utility knife or a razor blade, and steel wool.
Just soak the bottle with hot water for a few seconds and then pour the hot water into the bottle and let it stay for 10 minutes. Then, put on your gloves and peel of the label using your fingers or steel wool.
If this doesn’t work for you, just pour hot water into a bucket and add a few drops of dishwasher detergent. Then, soak your wine bottle in the solution for about 15 minutes.
Then, remove the bottle from the solution and dry it with a towel. Peel off the label with your fingers or a sharp knife. But you should work slowly to avoid scratching the bottle. If you want to use the label, allow it to dry overnight before using it.
Ammonia has proved to be quite effective in removing labels from wine bottles. But it should be used in a well-ventilated room because of its strong odor. Just pour a cup of ammonia into a bucket of water and immerse the wine bottle into the solution. Cover the bucket and leave it for about half an hour.
Then, put on your gloves and remove the bottle from the solution. You can peel off the label using your hands or a sharp knife. Wash the wine bottle in cold water to get rid of any residues.
Label Lift Technique
If you are interested in keeping the label in your scrapbook or wine journal, this label removal method is the most suitable one. This method involves the use of Oenophilia Label Lift – a solution that comes in packets of 10 and 50 grams. This solution allows the label to come off easily and while it’s still intact.
You simply apply the solution gently over the label and rub it in for about two minutes using a hard object like the backside of a spoon. Then, peel off the label. You should also trim the edges of the label with scissors or a sharp razor blade to make it neat.
Here are the most effective heat methods that you can use to remove a label from a wine bottle.
If you do not want your wine label to appear laminated when you remove it from the wine bottle, this method is the perfect option for you. It is also the most effective label removal method if you want to make a wine label trivet or place the label on a photo collection or portrait for framing.
Before baking your wine bottle in the oven, remove the foil cap or the wax bottle cap, make sure there are no drops of wine left inside the bottle. Then, preheat your oven to about 350°F for five minutes. Place the wine bottle in a baking bowl to prevent it from rolling around in the oven.
Bake the wine bottle for about 10 minutes to allow the adhesive on the back of the label to melt. Then take the bottle out of the oven using gloves and place it on a cooling rack. When it cools off check if the label is ready for removal. Peel the label off using a sharp knife or razor blade.
Leave the label face down on a sheet of parchment paper for a few minutes to allow the adhesive to dry up.
If you do not want to submerge your wine bottle in water, steaming it is the best option. You just need to pour water into a large pot and boil it. Then, hold the wine bottle of the steam using gloves for about half an hour. Make sure you rotate the bottle while steaming it so that the back and front sides of the label can be fully heated.
Use a razor blade or a sharp knife to peel off the label and leave it overnight to air-dry before using it.
3. Chill and Steam Techniques
This technique is almost the same as heating, but less effective. It involves putting the wine bottle in the freezer for about 25 minutes and placing it in a steamy, humid room for about half an hour. Once you have steamed the label completely, try to peel it off with your hands or a sharp knife. It should come off easily.