How to Remove Labels From Wine Bottles: 5 WAYS

Removing labels from wine bottles can be a tedious task. It is essential to remove them entirely so that the bottle can be adequately cleaned and sterilized.

In this blog post, we will discuss several methods on how to remove labels from wine bottles. One method lets you save the label for your collection.

Let’s get started.

How to Remove Labels From Wine Bottles

wine labels on bottles
Paper wine labels can be difficult to remove if the adhesive covers the entire back of the label.

In general, the fastest way to remove labels is to soak the empty bottles in hot, soapy water.

This soaks and breaks down the paper and begins to loosen the adhesive. Scrape the label off with a stiff spatula.

To save the label, score it from top to bottom then use an adhesive remover to release it from the glass and gently lift it away in one piece.

Soak the label in vinegar or isopropyl alcohol to dissolve the adhesive and then scrape away the paper and glue.

Use a label remover solution to remove labels quickly, if home solutions don’t work.

A wine label scraper tool can make it must easier and safer to remove the label in one piece without the risk of cutting your hands or stabbing your countertop while you get the label off.

Looking to remove wine labels so you can put your own on the bottles? Check out this awesome guide, How to Make Wine Labels with Cricut!

5 Effective Methods for Removing Labels

1. Use a Knife or Razor Blade to Remove Wine Labels

vintage wine label
If you want to save a vintage wine label you can try to cut it off the bottle before washing off the adhesive residue.

There isn’t a reason to use this method unless you want to save the paper or metallic label for some reason.

It’s incredibly difficult to separate the label unless it isn’t completely glued onto the bottle.

Use a knife or razor blade to score the label down the bottle in one place, if possible, or down both sides of the part you want to preserve.

Use the knife to begin gently lifting the label away from the glass.

If there is glue, use drops of glue remover or isopropyl alcohol to loosen the adhesive so you can lift the paper gently as you go.

There is no guarantee you can get the label off in one piece, but if the paper is thick enough you may be able to dissolve the adhesive and lift the label off of the glass as you go.

2. Soak the Bottle in Hot Water to Remove Wine Labels

sink full of soapy water
Use hot water or soapy water to soften and remove the label and glue before scraping it away.

This method is not advised for removing the label on corked bottles of wine! The hot water will ruin the flavor of the wine.

If you’re relabeling champagne splits or wine bottles for an event, choose a different method to remove the labels. You want to keep corked wine cool and out of UV light.

This method is quick and easy for removing labels on empty bottles you want to reuse or recycle.

Soak the empty bottle in very hot water for 10-15 minutes.

You can add soap to the water to help loosen the label and clean the bottle if you’d like. Sometimes it makes the label come off faster.

Once the label is soaked through and the paper is beginning to dissolve, pull away as much as you can then use a scraper, dull knife, or spatula to scrape away any stubborn bits of label that remain.

Scrub the bottle with soap and water to remove additional residue. Remove stubborn bits with isopropyl alcohol or an adhesive remover.

3. Use Isopropyl Alcohol to Remove Wine Labels

Isopropyl alcohol is an excellent solvent that can be used to clean electronics and remove sticky gunk from glass and plastic.

You can also use rubbing alcohol, but it isn’t as strong and may take more time.

  • Wrap the label in a thin lint-free cloth like a tea towel
  • Gently pour isopropyl alcohol onto the tea towel and let it sit until the paper and adhesive start to peel up
  • Lift the label and add additional isopropyl alcohol as needed using a cotton ball, cotton swab, or eye dropper to dissolve stuck-on glue as you go.
  • Use a scraper, blunt knife, or stiff spatula to scrape away the label and glue as it loosens.

Depending on how strong your adhesive is, you may need to repeat these steps several times until all residue has been removed.

Alternatively, you can also try soaking vintage or delicate glass bottles in a mixture of warm water and rubbing alcohol overnight before gently peeling away any stubborn labels.

With these simple tips, you can easily remove unwanted labels from all your favorite wine bottles, making them look new once again.

4. Use Vinegar to Remove Wine Labels

Many people are familiar with the benefits of vinegar as a household cleaner.

However, vinegar can also be used for a variety of other tasks, including removing labels from wine bottles.

The acetic acid in vinegar dissolves the glue that holds labels in place, making it easy to remove them without damaging the glass.

Simply soak a paper towel in vinegar and apply it to the label. Let it sit for a few minutes, then use your fingers or a dull knife to peel the label away.

If any adhesive remains, simply repeat the process until it is removed.

You can also soak bottles in vinegar overnight to loosen the adhesive and make it quick and easy to wipe away.

5. Use a Label Remover Solution to Remove Wine Labels

wine label
Many people remove wine labels to prep the bottles for glass recycling. Others remove labels to prep the bottles for reuse in a home winery.

Removing labels from wine bottles can be a bit of a chore. This is especially true if the labels are old or stubbornly stuck to the glass.

However, it is possible to easily remove labels and get your bottles ready for reuse or recycling with the right label remover product.

You will need to choose a label remover that works well for your specific needs to get started.

Some products, for example, come with specialized applicators that make it easier to remove slipper labels.

Others may just have an alcohol-based solution that can help soften up the adhesive so that you can more easily peel off the label.

Once you have your label remover selected, simply dab some onto the label and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.

Then use something like an old butter knife or spatula to gently pry up one corner of the label and start carefully pulling it away from the glass surface.

Repeat this process until all the label has been removed, and your bottle is fully prepared for reusing or recycling.

Did you know you can save and collect all those wine labels to keep a record of your wine tasting adventures?

Check out this video for a product that helps you easily remove and save your wine labels.

Final Thoughts

However you decide to remove wine labels, we know you’ll find one of these solutions will work well for you.

It really depends on the supplies you have on hand.

Labels are easy to remove with soap and water or alcohol, so there’s no need to order special label-removing supplies unless you want to save the labels or remove them in bulk.

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