We want the bottles, but not the labels
Decorating the garden is what we do here at Flea Market Gardening and many times we use wine and beer bottles to add some sparkle and color to our flower beds and vignettes. It’s sometimes a challenge to find the bottles, but removing the labels even more! Karen Settles and Nancy Carter have each discovered a practical and easy way to remove wine bottle labels every time. Marie Niemann shows how to remove the painted labels.
How to remove labels, the easy way
Karen Settles gave us detailed instructions on how she removes labels the easy way! She says, “Wondering about how to remove the labels from the bottles? This was a nightmare for me and I tried a dozen different suggestions until I finally found a solution that works perfectly.
1) For all of you who have trouble getting the label and glue off the blue bottles, here is what works perfectly for me.
2) Fill the bottle with VERY hot water and then set the full bottle into a larger container (I use a flower vase) and fill it with VERY hot water.
3) Let the bottle sit for about ten minutes or so and then take it out of the vase and using a sharp knife start a corner of the label peeling and pull slowly. It will peel right off leaving only the gooey glue on the bottles.
4) Refill the bottle with hot water and use a cotton ball saturated in 90% rubbing alcohol to rub the glue area briskly and the glue will come right off. You can purchase the 90% rubbing alcohol anywhere that you can buy the regular 70% alcohol.
Marie Niemann asks, “Have you encountered some stubborn painted on bottle labels that seem impossible to remove? Me too! I didn’t want to use any harmful chemicals so I used a product I use in my dishwasher that works great on dishes and hard water spots. It’s called Lemi Shine! It’s made with real fruit acids and natural citrus oils. Most grocery stores carry it where dishwasher detergents are sold.
- Take ½ cup of Lemi Shine and ½ cup of powdered dishwasher detergent.
- Add the powdered dishwasher detergent to hot water, then add the Lemi Shine slowly because it bubbles up at first.
- Use a deep container and fill the bottles with some water so they won’t float.
- Within a couple of hours the labels will be dissolved. No scrubbing required! Super easy!
“I reused the same solution several times on a few other bottles with the same excellent results,” Marie says. “Bonus: Lemi Shine also is an excellent degreaser! It removed old motor oil from a vintage galvanized can.”
Karen’s alternate method:
1) IF you have bottles (green mostly) that have painted on labels, fill the bottle with hot water and set it in a vase that has enough Sno-Bol toilet bowl cleaner or The Works tub and shower cleaner to cover the painted label area.
2) Let sit for 10-15 minutes or so and then remove the bottle from the vase of cleaner and rub lightly with a metal pot scrubber. The painted label will be mostly, if not completely dissolved, and will wipe right off.
How to find bottles for garden crafts
- Ask at bars and wine shops for their discards.
- Pay a wine shop the recycling fee, usually pennies a bottle.
- Thrift stores and yard sales
- Let your friends know you’re collecting bottles
- Buy Bud Platinum and use the beer for other purposes wink, wink..
Nancy Carter tells us, “I have found a great source for blue bottles about the same size as wine bottles. If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, they sell Blu’ Italy Sparkling Water for $1.29 a bottle. The water is great and the price is fantastic especially when I find empty wine bottles priced at $2 to $3.00 dollars at flea markets!
Also the great thing about the Trader Joe bottles is I just fill the sink with hot sudsy water and let them soak about ten minutes and usually the label is already off when I go back to finish them. Same with the Blue Bud bottles. Soaking them lets me pull the label right off.”
How to decorate with wine bottles: