Housekeeping · Organization

Recycled Containers: Labels On, Labels Off

Do you ever wish you could find a good use for all those food containers you empty and throw away each day? Well, I’ve got a couple of ideas for you.

First . . . the Folgers web-site has free printable labels for those empty plastic coffee containers.  I was so excited when I stumbled across this find on Pinterest.  Those containers are way too good to throw out. They’re sturdy, have an air-tight lid, and are just the right size for filling up again with other goodies after the coffee is all gone.

There are also holiday themed labels so that you can dress up your coffee container, fill it with a treat, and give it as a gift.  The labels have a “To:  From: ” option as well as space to type up a message.  I just typed “White Rice” into the message box, and left the “To:  From:” box blank for mine since it’ll just be used for storage.  Here is another web-site that has printable coffee can labels with pictures of items you could store in them, such as beans, Legos, coins, etc.

Then. . . I’ve finally found an easy way to remove labels. I discovered it on this web-site. I could hardly believe it could be so simple, but it is, and it works. Mix equal parts of coconut oil and baking soda together and rub it directly on to the sticky label.  That’s it; that’s all there is to it.

This paste works miracles on that hard-to-remove goo underneath the labels on those containers you want to reuse.  I store mine in a little (recycled) jar, and I’ve used it to pull labels off of several different kinds of containers:  glass jars, tin cans, plastic bottles.  I’ve even tested it out on an extra-large label from this big ole’ Costco jug of animal crackers.

2013-03-26 045

  • To begin with, tear off as much of the label as you can.
  • Slather the oil/baking soda paste all over the remaining sticky spot.
  • Let it set for several minutes.
  • Wipe off the paste and goo with a paper towel.
  • Use dish detergent, water, and a cloth to scrub off any remaining residue.
  • For extra-large or extra-sticky labels, you may need to repeat the process, both the paste and the scrubbing.

2013-03-26 047        2013-03-27 006      2013-03-27 002

Our huge jug of animal crackers has been re-purposed into a moss terrarium, that now is also home to a few salamanders. 🙂

2013-03-27 007            moss terrarium 2013-03-29 002

Here are some other ways I’ve used recycled containers:


Tin cans as herb planters

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Baby food jars as holders for art supplies

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Cardboard boxes as craft storage


22 thoughts on “Recycled Containers: Labels On, Labels Off

  1. This doesn’t work at all to take the label off the coffee cans… Which you mention several times at the top of the article, causing Google to direct people here 🙄

  2. Forgot to mention: I am saving jars, containers, tissue boxes, and pill bottles for women shelters. I’m pretty crafty and love to decorate. I’m gonna transform these everyday items into beautiful storage containers. When you’ve been battered, neglected, abused, etc, it’s nice to surround your newness with beautiful. It’s an easy way to contribute “make ’em feel like a woman!” healing!

  3. Don’t even need the baking soda. Oil will remove the goo. Oil will remove oil, too! SERIOUSLY, try slathering veg oil on an old dried oil stain. For example, observe your stove hood or yucky baking sheets. After letting oil sit awhile, use paper towels to just wipe away gunk. I use a plastic scrubber on the stubborn parts.

  4. LOL! I am an adult, older than I care to say, and eat those same animal crackers from Costco, and can’t bear( no pun intended) to throw away those containers. I’m going to make hanging lanterns for my patio with low voltage solar lights in them. I used Goo Gone to remove the lables on mine, but with gloves and I washed containers with Blue Dawn afterwards to remove all of it.

    I have been searching the internet for an all-natural method. I was going to try using a hair drier to heat the lables gently before peeling, but I found an ingenious You Tube video and had to say, ” I should have thought of that!”. Fill the container with very warm (not boiling) water and let it sit for maybe 10 minutes. The glue is softened and you may be able to peel the lable off without any glue staying on the plastic, but certainly all the paper comes off. If some glue stays behind, almost any kind of oil plus baking SODA scrub will remove it. I suspect that making water too hot coukld po0ssibly cause the glue to stay on the plastic? Not sure. Thaks for taking the time to share!

  5. Once you get the majority of the label off,either spray WD40 on the bottle,or as i sometimes do,i spray it on a paper towel,then lay it on where the label was and rub,comes off clean as a whistle and takes all the excess glue with it..

  6. I have been browsing online more than three hours today, yet I never found
    any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me.
    Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made
    good content as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.

      1. « Je discerne à peine le goût d’ail dans la mayonnaise et en fais la remarque au serveur. Il me répond : — oui, Monsieur, c’est vrai, mais vous savez la clientèle n’aime pas trop le goût de l’ail ».C’est très instructif : s’ils n’aiment pas le goût de l’ail pourquoi ne detlednnm-ias pas une simple mayonnaise ? Non, ils doivent emmerder le peuple en commandant un aïoli !

  7. Reblogged this on A Plus Cleaning & Property Services and commented:
    I’ve been doing this in my own pantry…it’s a great way to reuse packaging. Since we had a mice problem this winter I’ve had to reorganize and rethink the way I store food in my home. Everything is in glass jars and re-used plastic jugs. I feel so uncluttered now and it’s a great way to find things when you’re in a hurry.

  8. Very creative! I’ll definitely have to try the coconut oil and baking soda. Have you tried it with other oils? Thanks for sharing this helpful info!

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