Ali Asks for Help: What do you know about Solvents?

Happy Friday!  I’m introducing a new segment today, called Ali Asks for Help.  I clearly don’t always know what I’m doing, and I’m never afraid to admit that AND ask someone to teach me something new.  It’s my favourite part of the day, actually.

Question Mark

I figured I should make use of the combined brainpower of you, my lovely Ali Does It community of almost 7500 readers (!).  One of you MUST know the answer to my questions, or, if you don’t, you’ll know someone who does.

So here’s my first question: what solvent can I use to remove printed labels from glass bottles?

Ali Asks Solvents 3

See I have these cider bottles.  We bought the cider FOR the bottles but it turns out it’s pretty good in any case.

Ali Asks Solvents 1

I’d love to do something neat with these bottles, whether it be cutting them into something else or trying out mercury glass techniques on them … but I have to get the labels off first. I’d keep this wee tree logo though. I like the tree.

Ali Asks Solvents 2

It’s not a sticker — it’s screened on in some form of another.  It’s not even really paint, per se. Some kind of computer did it.

Ali Asks Solvents 4

Anyone have any ideas? I’d love to hear them!

Ali Asks Solvents 5


*** EDIT:  So far the leading suggestions are Acetone (which I have on hand and will try first), CLR (available in most hardware stores in North America at least) and acid alcohol (which seems to be a medical supply thing).  I’ll try the acetone first and keep you guys posted. ***

**** FURTHER EDIT: Can I call you guys the Brain Trust? ****

*****SITUATIONAL UPDATE: 100% Acetone does not work.  I am trying the CLR and water in a bucket method.  More bulletins as events warrant. *****

******Update for 4 April 2014: The CLR experiment was a failure.  I’ve been checking some home-beer-brewing sites and they recommend a sanitizer called Star San, which I can get locally at Defalco’s, or Muriatic/Hydrochloric Acid, which I can pick up at Home Hardware.******


Author: allythebell

A corgi. A small boy. A sense of adventure. Chaos ensues.

16 thoughts on “Ali Asks for Help: What do you know about Solvents?”

  1. I have three suggestions:
    Pop it in boiling hot water and try and rub it off.
    Alcohol – vodka of ‘rubbing alcohol’ may work.


  2. Hmmm, my initial thought was acetone also. Let us know how it goes. This is a great idea for a running segment, because I’m sure you have questions we all have too. Nothing like using our community!


  3. What about Goo Gone? It’s pretty cheap and it’s certainly more potent than CLR… I’ve never tried it on that kind of label but it has worked on permanent marker and even on cellophane tape.

    Maybe you could also try paint stripper?

    Last idea… if all of the above fails, maybe blowtorch + knife. Super-heat the label and see if it bubbles off.


    1. Hahaha, I find Goo Gone to be useless in removing goo, so I don’t think I’ll trust it with a screened-on label. I will keep you all posted about the CLR experiment …


  4. No, no, no, Ali, try this first! All you need to do is soak your bottles in a sink of hot water mixed with one scoop of OxiClean laundry pre-soak. After a half-hour or so, the labels float to the surface of the water. I found this on Pinterest, tried it, and it worked a charm.


  5. Ali! I haev used StarSan before on printed bottles and it works great!! Go get it girl!!! (my boyfriend is a homebrewer, we ran into the issue of “too many obscure growlers”). You will need to take a scrubee / steel wool to the lable after it soaks. StarSan calls for you to dillute it usually, but we used an extra strong version for the soak overnight. Then used steel wool. There is one of out 3 growlers that has about 0.5% of the printed label that did not get removed.

    Since we used it on dark brown glass, there is a shadow of what used to be printed when the grass is reflective or in certain lights. this may or may not be an issue with clear bottles.


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