How to remove labels from glass containers

So while not directly related to cider making, its really nice for homebrew operations to be able to remove labels on their glassware that is being reused.  My go-to juice base comes in a nice 1 gallon glass carboy, which comes with its own label on it.  You can find beers and wine in pop-top containers that can be emptied (yum) and reused.  Likewise, if you are using a capper – almost every  beer becomes a potential cider container!  But how do you remove the label?

Googling for instructions shows a ton of different ways.  How well those strategies work depends on the type of glue that the bottle has.  After trying a couple different ways, I’ve found that washing soda works best.  You’ll need a container that is larger than your bottle, washing powder, and a sponge with a rough side.  I use a 3 gallon paint bucket that I found at my local grocery store for ~$3.

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Mix a few tablespoons of washing soda in some water.  Fill your bottle with enough water so that it sits nicely on the bottom of the bucket and let it soak for at least 30 mins or so, and then see how the label is doing.  Use the rough side of a sponge to try and take the label off.  If it isn’t coming, let it soak for longer.  I often just let things soak overnight – no harm for letting it soak too long.

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This has worked really well for me.  Its much cheaper and easier than a lot of other methods.  Its worked for everything for me so far except one rum bottle, which took a few rounds of soaking and elbow grease to get clean.

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