How to Remove Painted-On Bottle Labels


Kathy asked: How do you remove the painted on labels on glass bottles or jars? This is a liquor bottle, the company painted the label and scanning code onto the bottle instead of the standard sticky label. I recycle bottles for my crafts.

Labels that are painted on bottles are not meant to be removed, which can make them a bit challenging. Depending on the materials available, it may be possible to remove them with some time and effort. Here are a couple of removers that may be successful depending on how the label was applied (painted, screened on, etc.)

You Will Need:

  • Star San
  • Acetone
  • Razor
  • Water
  • Scrubbing pads

Steps to Remove the Painted Label:

  1. If the label is simply painted, it may be possible to remove it with some acetone (nail polish remover). Fill a shallow pan or dish with the acetone and lay the bottle down so the label is soaking in the acetone.
  2. Allow it to soak until the paint begins to loosen.
  3. Scrub it with a scrubbing pad or scrape it off carefully with a razor.
  4. Rinse with clean water.
  5. If the label is screen-printed on, it will likely require a stronger, acidic remover.
  6. Fill a pan or bucket with Star San. This acidic cleaner is available online from many brewery supply companies.
  7. Allow the bottle to soak in the liquid for 24-48 hours.
  8. Once the label has soaked for the sufficient amount of time it will start to fall off with a simple shake.
  9. Use a scrub brush or scrubbing pad to gently scrub any remaining label away.
  10. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Star San is an acidic cleaner. Protect yourself with gloves, mask and protective eyewear.


  1. Makenzy says:


  2. M Thornton says:

    The easiest way to remove most lettering from glass is to soak the glass in apple cider vinegar for 30 minutes to an hour. Most lettering will then rub off quite easily. Wash the cider off with dish soap. If the lettering remains, then try soaking longer or using a razor. This method has worked for me with several different types of lettering and glass.

  3. Kirsten says:

    Just wanted to mention,
    “6. Fill a pan or bucket with Star San.”
    That should say diluted Star San; you don’t want to waste that much of if, nor potentially harm yourself with a strong acid.

  4. Kayla says:

    M Thornton’s method using the apple cider vinegar is by far the easiest way to remove lettering from bottles. I soaked a paper towel in it and left it overnight in a plastic bag; the words just wiped of with out scrubbing. I had tried the acetone, paint stripper and a few other methods with no success. Thank you for posting that method.

  5. Payvin says:

    What acid do I use if it is screen printed?

  6. Usman says:

    How can I remove screen printing from a plastic PET bottle?

  7. C. Freeman says:

    Apple cider vinegar really works! I had already tried acetone, sandpaper and a razor…until today. I say don’t even bother with the fumes, because it didn’t even soften the label paint.

  8. Kadesh says:

    I just spent $30 on supplies to strip this growler and now I’m about to go to the store for apple cider vinegar because the stuff I got isn’t working… lol. Thanks for the help. ;P

  9. Karen says:

    Lemi-Shine in the dishwasher. I learned this method by accident with some painted drinking glasses. ☹️

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