Removing labels from store-bought kombucha bottles
It’s great to re-use store-bought kombucha bottles and re-purpose
them for your homebrews.
I like to take the labels off mine. Because why should they get credit
for the lovely homemade kombucha I made?! But some bottle labels
are really pesky and leave an annoying goop on the bottles that
won’t come off with soap and water.
Here are tips you can try to remove the label and sticker residue
from your bottles. You can make ‘em look good as new
(without all the free advertising for store-bought brands that you
hopefully won’t have to buy much of in the future!).
I prefer to stay away from chemical-laden residue removers like
Goo Gone, and these methods below made it so I didn’t have to spend a dime on another store-bought product to get my labels off.
Some bottles, like GT’s (Synergy) brand, have a paper sticker label that’s overlaid with a thin layer of plastic. The trick to getting the label off as cleanly as possible is to heat the adhesive up and to try to peel the label off in one piece.
Scalding water: Fill your bottles with scalding hot water (from the tap is fine if it gets hot enough) or you can boil water and pour it in. Let sit for around 5-10 minutes before pouring out the water and carefully peeling the label off. Most of the adhesive should come off with the label.
Hair dryer: Blast your bottle with a hair dryer on its hottest setting. After a few minutes, the adhesive should have melted to the point where you can peel the label off.
Water soak: If your bottles do not have that plastic layer and the paper labels aren’t water-proof, just soak the bottles in warm water and see if the adhesive is water-soluble. If they are, the labels may just fall right off the bottle. If not, the water will dissolve the paper label and make it easy to scrub off.
Removing sticker residue
If you weren’t able to get all the residue off the bottle during the label-removing phase, you have a few options to remove the sticky gunk off your bottle:
Baking soda + oil paste: Make a thick paste out of baking soda (not baking powder!) and oil. Just eyeball it — a little oil goes a long way. Smear it all over the areas with sticky residue. Let sit for 15-30 minutes, depending on how stubborn your residue is. Scrub off with dish soap, water and a scrubby sponge.
Olive/coconut oil + essential oil “spot treatment:” Mix a teaspoon of olive or coconut oil with 10 drops of lemon, orange or tea tree oil. Dab onto gunky areas until fully soaked. Scrub off with dish soap, water and a scrubby sponge.