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Adhesive Be Gone

I haven’t been overly *cough to cover the muttering of my “good” shoulder angel about fibbing* productive lately, but I have actually gotten a lot of non-business things done. *smile* I thought I’d share one of my projects with you, since I’m pretty happy about it and think it’d be handy for everyone to know.

During that cleaning frenzy I unearthed a bagful of plastic jars that I have saved to reuse (not for sale, just for storing stuff or putting test product in so I’m not using up the good stuff), but there were sticky partial labels all over the place and several jars literally stuck to the stupid bag. You know how you think patiently peeling that label will get it all off and you’ll be rewarded with a clean jar? That never works on plastic. At least, not for me! I hit Pinterest for the crafty tips from the home pros and several talked about the ease of removing left behind adhesive with oil, and if you use vegetable oil overnight, then you don’t even have to try to remove the label. Since I had varying examples of label peeling OCD in the bag I thought the variety would be a smart test for this method. I don’t have a specific link to share with you because I honestly ended up combining techniques from several posts/pins that I read. I’ll just give the total process and my additional tips as I go.

At the beginning

First, you’ll want to cover your counter or table with something disposable. Newspaper, paper towels over a bed of dish towels, whatever. I found it really handy and a LOT less messy to move the project into a plastic bag on top of the bed of towels. (I truly tried the straight forward approach, but still got oil all over until I had a stroke of genius with the bag.) Pour some of your oil into a shallow glass bowl (plastic will be pretty difficult to cover up unless you have a lid, but I had Saran Wrap, so glass moved from my second choice to the smart choice *grin*, and I promise that it’s much easier to brush the oil on than try to lightly douse a napkin straight from the bottle without a mess. I’m all for moisturizing my skin, but DUDE! Just trust me. Lol.). I used my middle of the road paint brush that I typically use for egg washes. And I can’t stress this enough: have a partial box of disposable gloves on hand. Oiled plastic will slip out of oily hands like a sudsy bar of soap. It’s a pain in the snicker doodle and you might end up with the oily and sticky mess stuck to your hoodie. Really. Anyway…also keep a stack of napkins in easy reach.


(Put your gloves on now! *grin*) Take your plastic jar and coat all labels and adhesive with oil using circular brushes; working over the opening to the bag. Straight brushing didn’t work nearly as well. Coat it liberally; as in, nearly dripping off. Then slap a napkin over the area. It took a few rounds before I discovered that this step is more effective if you also brush the oil over the napkin that is covering the treated spots. I did a few different amounts, but saturation cuts several hours out of this process. Put the wrapped jar into your bag and continue the process with all of your plastic jars. I found that butting wet areas together worked better, because they weren’t as apt to dry and stop working then.

20131111-165137.jpg All oiled up and no tanning bed in sight

Now, let them soak in the oil bath overnight (12 hours seemed best). I could be all quaint like the posts I read and tell you that they might be ready to clean right off now, but I won’t. I’ll be honest. Only the lightly gunked ones will be ready now (or else they forgot to mention where they got the industrial strength oil or fairy dust, because following the instructions only worked on the cleanest of the group!). Take the cleanest one and rub lightly with the oily napkin that had been covering the area. If the adhesive starts to slip off with the circular rubbing, then you get a brownie button! Hehe. Couldn’t resist. Ahem. Awesome for you! Just keep it up until the goo is all rubbed off. Now, if your jars are more like mine, then there’ll be a little bit of cleaning around the edges, but the napkin might be sticking to the adhesive at the point. Flipping it off won’t work, so don’t bother. I tried. *wink* Just brush some more oil over the napkin and it should release. Liberally swirl more oil onto the labels and adhesives (although all of the labels came off at the this point for me, leaving just the adhesive), and repeat with all of the jars. Now, I haven’t ran the experiment a second time to get a different view on the times with the improved methods, so I can only recommend that you check them every few hours. Following the combination of instructions and then finding my own improvements the whole process took three solid days, but the more liberal application with the swirling movement made a huge difference, so I will plan on 2 days next time. If the oil dries, then you basically just need to give them a bit more attention and reapply oil every hour or so. Otherwise, I aimed for every two hours.

You should notice that a bit more comes off each time you reapply after the 16 hour mark. If you want completely scratch free jars, then you might want to try a soft cloth instead of the napkins, because I noticed after I started doing the 2 hour check ups that the surfaces started to look pretty scuffed. Since I just wanted them clean I got rather ruthless and started using some elbow grease on the third day. With my gloves on I slowly scraped my nail at the edges of the adhesive and began to push the adhesive up. Every few pushes I’d add a little oil, since the lubrication makes a huge difference when you’re rushing the process apparently. *grin* I swiped off the balled up adhesive with a napkin and within about half an hour all of my jars were free of adhesive.

20131111-165949.jpg See my pretty jar!

There is one stumbling block that I have no real advice for and that’s how to get the oil easily off of your jars. It took me three very soapy washes with the heavy duty degreasing version of Dawn before all of the oil was gone. I swore after an extensive washing the first time, complete with a sponge bath, that they were spotless. They sure looked that way until they finished drying. As soon as the water evaporated I noticed beads of oil left behind inside of the jars. A few more really soapy washes later and they are squeaky clean to the touch. *big grin*

All in all, this is a pretty easy cleaning technique. I just covered my oil between treatments and will actually use what’s left the next time I have to do this. I actually used maybe an ounce of oil throughout all of this. (We won’t discuss how much I overestimated that I would need…) It takes some time and frequent checking, but I’d much rather do this technique than fuss with a razor or label scraper. If you’re as dedicated as me about keeping your fingers intact, I’d definitely recommend this technique to you. *grin* There’s very little cost and a simple clean up since you can bundle up all of the mess right in the bag; although you’ll still have a few paper towels from outside the bag to toss that caught drips, but maybe you’re neater than me. Good luck with that! Lol. One last note, this wasn’t nearly as effective on glass as the vinegar soak is that I previously posted about. I tried this first attempt on 5 jars and a glass bottle. The label peeled off the jar after the overnight, but it took until the end of the second day before any of the adhesive came loose, whereas it took only a couple of hours in the vinegar bath for a sink full of glass to come clean.

With the holidays I thought this might be handy for those that like to reuse, reduce, and all that happy stuff. Or you might just be frugal like me. *grin* Whatever you are, I hope this helps you and don’t hesitate to ask a question if you have one.

About Georgia's Pampering

I had a tiny bath and body business which focused on pampering. Since the business had to close due to health reasons, I write post about a variety of topics, ranging from Invisible Diseases and being a Spoonie, to fun and DIY things.

2 responses »

  1. Use mayo to remove stickers. Try and remove the paper part of the sticker then coat it with mayo. Let it sit over night and wipe it off.



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