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Removing Wine Bottle Labels

by Staff Writer - C. Barnett | July 09, 2011

Some people collect wine bottles, while others prefer to only collect the wine bottle labels. Labels can be mounted and displayed for art collections or neatly placed into collection albums. Of course the biggest challenge is to remove the wine bottle label while keeping it in its original form.

Some wine bottle labels are made of paper, while others are vinyl, foil, or plastic film. Vintners use several types of adhesive to fasten their labels, and some of them are difficult to remove. One of the most basic ways to remove a label from a wine bottle is to soak it off in hot water. The water dissolves the glue that attaches the label to the glass. Some labels are more stubborn than others, which reflects the type of glue used to attach them or the type of paper used. The most stubborn labels are those with metallic content in the paper, the labels with gold or silver borders or illustrations. The metallic content is resistant to water, sometimes preventing the glue from dissolving. Scraping carefully with a single-edged razor blade often will enable the collector to remove such labels.

How to Remove Wine Bottle Labels

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  1. The wine bottle should be soaked for about 15 minutes in hot water with a little dish soap. This will soften the label and adhesive.
  2. Labels fastened with dry gum will simply float free to the top of the water. Any remaining adhesive residue may then be washed off with clean soapy water.
  3. For the vinyl, foil, and plastic film types, the hot water will soften the adhesive and allow some labels to be peeled off, though a thick layer of adhesive may remain on the bottle.
  4. It may be necessary to scrape more stubborn labels off with a small knife or paint scraper.
  5. Remove any remaining adhesive residue.
  6. Wash off the bottles in clean soapy water to remove any chemical from the adhesive removal.

Cleaners Used for Removing Adhesive from Wine Bottles

The following three products have consistently produced good results for removing adhesive from wine bottles. All three products require a little extra rubbing but they will work.

  • Rubbing Alcohol (isopropanol) This is most likely the most effective solvent (and safer than acetone and paint thinner) for removing wine bottle label gunk. Use in a well-ventilated area. Wet a cloth or paper towel with alcohol, press wet cloth against the adhesive for a few seconds, then rub.
  • Goo Gone This commercial cleaner is designed to remove grease, gum, stickers, crayon and much more. It does a decent job on many types of adhesive used on wine bottle labels.
  • WD-40 Although mainly used as a lubricant, this well known product contains solvents that dissolve many adhesives. Spray on, allow to set for five minutes and then wipe off. It should work, but it can leave the wine bottle very slippery, so handle with care.

Many wineries keep extra supplies of wine bottle labels and are willing to provide them to consumers who ask for them. It is sometimes a means of maintaining good public relations. But if wineries do not offer this option to you, you now have the tools needed to remove your own wine bottle labels.

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      Feb 07 2014 3:10 PM
    • If they just want to collect wine bottle labels maybe they can have someone who will be going to do that so that you don't have to remove all the wine labels you even save your time from doing it.
      Sep 27 2014 7:00 AM
    • Hey I got a great video showing how to easily remove labels and glue residue here:



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