How to Remove the Label Residue from your Demon Bottles

If you’re like me, the approaching fall season fills you with the desire to get crafty. If you’re like me, you’ve also been saving things all year (like empty iced coffee jars) just in case you can use them for something crafty later. There are tons of neat projects you can do with cool-looking jars and bottles, so I always save the ones I like. (I recycle the ugly ones that have brand names embedded in the glass, etc.) Example: Jack-o’-lantern jars!

Obviously, an expert craftologist like myself is well-versed in the removing of labels – or so I thought until I came into contact with the preternatural adhesive used on Starbucks iced coffee bottles. I peeled them off, but the glue left behind wouldn’t budge. I tried the old standby of letting them soak in a sink full of hot, soapy water. I tried scrubbing. I tried Goo Gone.

But when even the Goo Gone didn’t work, I knew I was dealing with something more. Something bigger. Something… other. Demon bottles! What else is a girl to do when backed into a crafting corner but take it to the Twitterverse?

Pam Carlson (‏@pcarlson001) suggested rubbing alcohol, and June Weiss ‏(@BijouxIce) a razor blade. Michelle Collins ‏(@EmCeeCollins) said she had some previous success with cooking oil, and Paige Duke ‏(@ThePaigeDuke) vouched for lemon essential oil, which I don’t have. Finally, Michael McMullen ‏(@awkwardstickman) said it came down to calling an exorcist or giving up. Guess what, folks? I never give up.

I’ve boiled, I’ve troubled, I’ve scrubbed and bubbled. I’ve found the secret sacred combination to remove the adhesive, and now I’m sharing it with you in case you want to overcome some demons of your own. Enjoy!



demon bottle (empty iced coffee jars)
an unbreakable will
cooking oil spray (I used Pam)
glass scraper (flat razor blade)
dish soap
dish brush or scrubbing sponge
cleaning cloths or paper towels
rubbing alcohol
holy item of your choosing
priest (optional)


One thing that I didn’t think to add was rubber gloves. If your skin is as sensitive as mine, those would be good. My hands were so red by the end of this I had to put a blue filter on the photos, so my apologies if you’re a filter hater.

Step 1


Enjoy your delicious beverage while you can. Try not to think about the fact that you’re succumbing to a demon’s sweet temptation. Suggested: fantasize about what cute things you can do with this bottle later.

Step 2


Wash out your empty bottle and peel off the labels.

Step 3


Stare in frustration at the odd residue left behind.

Step 4


Perform a brief exorcism. If you’re wary of such things, invite a holy person to assist. If your faith is exceptionally strong, skip to step 9.

Step 5


Coat the residue with cooking oil. A bottle of spray is convenient, but if you don’t have spray, rubbing a liquid on with your fingers would probably work too.

Step 6


Use a glass scraper to tediously loosen the residue. Pro tip: scrape away from the hand holding the bottle. Also, scrape “vertically,” not “around.” Razor blades and round surfaces don’t mix well; be careful.

Step 7


Rinse the bottle, then add dish soap and scrub the entire surface of the bottle with a dish brush. I mean really scrub the hell out of it. Rinse again.

Step 8


Dry the bottle surface. By now the glass should be mostly clean and smooth, but just to be safe – and to make sure the glass is as clean as possible pre-craft – use a folded paper towel or cleaning cloth to rub the adhesive areas with rubbing alcohol. Again, put some elbow grease into it.

Step 9


Let dry fully. Give thanks to any assisting deities, holy persons, and/or kindly spirits. You’re ready to begin the fun part.


Congratulations! You’ve just gone to extensive lengths to fulfill a relatively frivolous desire. Happy crafting! 😉

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  • Julia Munroe Martin

    This is great — I hate the residue. Strangely, my go-to stickiness and gum remover for everything (I’ve used it on glass, plastic, fabrics) is WD-40. But sometimes it seems these labels respond to different things and I will definitely keep this post with your tips. Although you know I’m going to have to figure out where to keep it… with all my notebooks 😉 Where do you file away household things?

    • WD-40 is a great idea! I’ll have to try that next time just for comparison purposes. (You’re definitely right that different labels respond to different things. Usually Goo Gone is fail-proof!) I keep household things like this in a folder in my browser labeled “house.” I just bookmark the page! Then I back up my bookmarks every so often in my Dropbox. You can do that by “exporting” to your folder.

    • I’m both amused and annoyed that WD-40 worked WAY easier than all the stuff I tried. At least now I know in the future!

  • Regina Richards

    Can’t wait to see what the jars become. 🙂

    • Me too! I have a plan. 🙂 If it turns out cute, I’ll definitely share!

  • Sandra

    I use mayonnaise. Goop it on the residue and let it sit for about 39 minutes. It usually will wipe right off. Sometimes you may have to do it a couple of times, but the mayo does most of the dirty work. 🙂 I love recycling glass jars. It’s so much healthier to store food in than plastic. Great post!

    • That’s a great point about glass over plastic for storage! I am seriously grossed out by mayonnaise, though, so I don’t know if I could bring myself to try that method. =/

  • Tanis Mallow

    Lighter fluid!
    Tanis Mallow

  • Cynthia Robertson

    Step four cracked me up, Annie. 😀

  • Traci Kenworth

    Awesome blog post!! I need to do more crafty things!!

  • You are so funny! Love the unbreakable will and holy item. Also– I don’t think I quite appreciated the level of your craftology before.

  • A. B. Davis

    This was so fun and funny! I can’t wait to see what you do with these exorcised demon bottles. I love love LOVE the jack-o-lantern jars. I try to avoid crafting with all my will power, cause I can get a little crazy, but I might have to succumb to those.

    • Thanks! I have several bottle projects brewing. Here’s hoping they turn out cute, because that was a lot of prep work. I love my jack-o-lantern jars! I always smile when I unpack them in October. 🙂

  • Carie Juettner

    Dear Annie,

    I finished reading a book today and when it “ended” I was so frustrated, I wanted to throw it out a window. But it was an audio book, from the library, and I was driving, so I did not. The reason for my frustration was that the book did not end. Nothing was solved. It literally left off with “To be continued.” To put it another way: Stand alone, it did not.

    While I loved reading your blog post (and certainly learned a lot too) I felt similarly sour about the summation. I thought surely you were going to turn this demon bottle into a Demon Bottle. (<– Note the capitals.) Instead, its purpose remains a mystery.

    I do hope there is a sequel.

    Chasing Conclusions
    (a.k.a. your friend Carie, who is suffering from lack of sleep)

    • Dear Carie,

      My bad.

      Sorry About That
      (a.k.a. your friend Annie, who doesn’t know what to do with the bottles.)