The Simple Way to Remove Beer Bottle Labels

May 25,2010 by 9 Comments

For a homebrewer, removing your beer bottle labels is a must if you want to add your own labels. The problem is that they can be a real pain to get off.

Not to sound like a Billy Mays commercial, but OxiClean makes removing labels a cinch. Watch the video and see how the easily they come off when soaked in OxiClean.

What’s your technique for removing beer bottle labels?

Hey it’s Billy Broas from If you’re a homebrewer, you probably want to remove the labels from the commercial bottles that you bottle your homebrew in. Maybe you want to make your own labels, or just have your bottles generic looking. So, I’ve tried a bunch of ways to do this and I found one that is by far the best. It involves a pretty common product, you might have it in your house already. If not, it’s cheap and easy to find. It is Oxiclean. Here’s how you do it.

Start out by filling up a container, sink, or bathtub with a few gallons of water. I’m using five gallons for about two dozen bottles. Then put in a full scoop of OxiClean and mix it up really well. Submerge your bottles and then just wait.

This is after only three hours and already most of the labels have floated to the surface. Some bottles have stubborn labels and they won’t come off in the OxiClean. If that’s the case, some steel wool usually does the trick.

When you’re all done, you’ll have fresh clean bottles you can use as is, or you can put your own labels on them.

About Billy Broas

He is the founder of The Homebrew Academy, a BJCP beer judge, and the homebrewing expert on the Rocky Mountain PBS television show Colorado Brews. He lives in the fine beer town of Denver, Colorado.

9 responses to “The Simple Way to Remove Beer Bottle Labels”

  1. Serge G. says:

    Great Video. I’ve left bottles in water for days and labels dont come off completely. You can really see that this is less of a pain to do.
    Thanks for the info, just in time for the next brew batch.

  2. platypotamus says:

    yeah, that stuff is pretty amazing. I just stick the bottles in the sink with some oxiclean, let them soak for 1/2 hour… and then the majority of the labels are either floating in the water, or ready to peel right off. I use a scrubby-sponge to get rid of the remaining glue. some breweries definitely use more hardcore glue than others, though.
    .-= platypotamus´s last blog ..fluff monster =-.

  3. CWEB says:

    Thanks for the great tip!!!!! After cleaning my first 50 or so bottles (which was a major project) I was about to go to the local homebrew shop and buy a couple cases for my second batch. After watching this video, I went home mixed up a small batch. I put a few bottles in to test the waters and within a half hour labels that I scrubed and scraped with a carrot peeler the time before were falling off. This is so easy and cheap! Thanks again for the great tip!!! Also did a superb job cleaing out the grime inside some of the old bottles I have been saving.

  4. Kam says:

    I just throw my bottles in a little water, hot or cold. After 10 or 15 minutes I take a bottle by the neck and with a rectangular razor (in a razor holder) just skin (from top to bottom) the main labels off and then for the label on the neck just hold the razor flat to the bottle and rotate the bottle. Then for any remaining glue on the bottle I just use one of those green scrubber pads (wet) that you use to clean pans with by just grabbing the bottle with the pad and rotating the bottle. It’s quicker than you would think and works like a charm. Takes about a minute a bottle total time. Give it a try!

  5. Erroneous says:

    I used to use the same method as Kam. By the time I was done doing the bottles for a 5 gallon batch, my back would hurt, I’d have a mess of label scrapings, and some bottles would still have glue residue after trying my best to scrape it off (I used razor, stiff brush, and steel wool). This is so much easier, takes a lot less than the minute per bottle, and uses less water (for me anyway).

    • Billy Broas says:

      Haha I used to have the same experience, especially the aching back. Glad this method helped you out, cheers.

  6. Wes says:

    I’ve been using a mixture of baking soda and water and it has worked really well for me. The labels are either floating or peel right off after a good soak. Then I can get the remaining glue off by just rubbing them off with my fingers.

  7. Lucie says:

    Awesome! ok, here is the follow up question. The labels came off great. But then my bottles had a thin white layer of “scum” from the Oxi. I rinsed and rinsed but it was still there, just thinner. I’m sure the white stuff is harmless, however, my brew partners didn’t agree and insisted on dumping the bottles. Is there a quick way to rinse them so there’s zero white film?


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