Removing labels, cleaning and sterilizing jars

Recycling jars is a must in the Preserved Kitchen, so we want to share our best practices for removing labels from jars, cleaning and sterilizing in the oven. This DIY method can be used for jars for canning and glass bottles, plastic containers and even wine bottles!

Removing Labels

We tend to save up multiple jars and remove their labels in batches by filling the sink with hot water with a bit of dish soap, if you are only doing one or two jars, use a bowl with soapy water. Ensure the labels are fully submerged in water and leave for 10-15 mins.

At this point some labels will peal off fully, if not, peel away as much as you easily can then get a metal scourer and add a few drops of vinegar and scrub away. The remaining labels and glue should come away.

If you have some stubborn labels, repeat the whole process until they are completely off.


Ensure the jar and lids are rinsed and with the labels removed prior to this final cleaning.

If you have a dishwasher, putting the jars and lids through a cycle on hot wash works and is minimal effort!

If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash well with hot soapy water, ensure any soap is rinsed away with hot water.

Note that you don’t need to dry the jars as this may add bacteria, so once they are cleaned, leave lids to dry on a rack and the jars are ready to sterilize.

remove those stubborn labels with minimal effort!


The jars now need to be placed in the oven on a low heat to kill off any remaining bacteria and will fully dry the jars.

The oven needs to be around 150°C, place the jars in the oven on a tray and leave for around 10 minutes then carefully remove.

Or once up to temperature, put the jars in the oven and switch it off straight away, wait for the oven to completely cool before removing the jars.

TOP TIP: I usually won’t turn on the oven especially for sterilizing; wait until you’ve finished cooking something in the oven and then reduce the heat or I sterilize at the same time as drying herbs or chillis (see how to here) as the oven temperature needed is also a low heat.

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