I've been making custom wine labels for a while now. And I will say, typically I just put the wine label over the current wine label on a bottle. It's quick, it's easy, and it still looks really nice. BUT...as I am working on getting new photos for my Etsy store and rolling out some new wine label designs, I decided to remove the labels for the photos.
So first off, let me say I googled 'wine label removal' in search of blog posts to find the best/easiest way to remove a wine label. There are a ton. They all say how easy it is, and how nice the bottle looks after. Well, let me tell you: those blogs are (for lack of a better term, excuse my language)...those blogs are bullshitting you.
This was a rough process. I hated it. It was not fun.
It took me about 4 days to do because I just did not want to do it so I kept putting it off. I mean, as I put on the wine labels after it's all said and done is easy and they look really nice. But removing the labels was a total nightmare and my bathroom smelled like wine for a long time.
So anyways, most blogs will tell you to soak the bottles in warm, soapy water for about an hour and then, voila! The label just peels right off.
I had to soak the bottles for about 6 hours. And they still didn't come off. Well, rephrase: it didn't ALL come off. The paper kind of came off, but that adhesive, man, let me tell you. It is rough and really annoying.
So anyways, here's what I did to get the labels off. If you try to attempt this, make sure you have time and patience. And really think about whether or not that label really needs to come off or not.
So this is the step that most other blogs had, but then it stops there. In all honesty, it doesn't really matter how long you soak the bottles. It can be 30 minutes; it can be 6 hours. As long as it makes the label wet, gooey, and saturated with water.
Just using your hands won't cut it here. At first I just peeled the labels off and tried to use my nails to get the residue. It was just gross. So I grabbed a box cutter (or a knife) and basically just started hacking at the labels to get as much off as I could. You want to do this almost immediately after removing the bottles from the water because you want the labels to wet. If they are dry, it'll be a lot harder to get the labels off (hence why we soak the labels).
This was my mom's great life hack. Remember that movie 'My Fat Greek Wedding' and the dad says to use Windex for everything? That's kind of how my mom is with Coconut Oil. And it actually does help! So rub some coconut oil on that bad boy wherever there is adhesive.
Also, a HUGE thank you to Joe for helping me out with this by not only removing some labels but letting me take pictures of his hands while he did it.
Once the coconut oil is on it, grab a brillo pad soaked in hot water. Depending upon where you do this (I recommend the kitchen or over a sink), set-up a towel under you and a bowl of hot water to dip the brillo pad in. Then scrub the living crap out of that bottle. I used the brillo pad that also had soap in it, so between that and the coconut oil, the adhesive came off pretty quickly with a little elbow grease.
Then just rinse it off with warm water!
If there is a label or sticky area you just can't get off, put the bottle under REALLY hot water in the sink and scrub it really hard with the brillo pad. After a minute or two it should break down.
Yay! It worked! Here is the before and after photo. You can kind of see all of the adhesive residue on the before. That's the tough part to get off. But once it's off, the bottles look great!
And here is the finished result! These puppies are ready for their photo op! The bottles turned out really nice, and I'll hopefully have new photos of all the label designs coming soon!