Homemade Goo Gone – Does It Work?

I have a hard time tossing out cute little glass jars.  Big jars from mayonnaise or something . . not so much.

But the little ones –  Oh boy, can I keep them all please?

I promise I’ll find a good use for them.  Sooner or later.

But there is one  challenge with cleaning and recycling glass jars from other products, and that’s getting rid of the label.  Sometimes even after a couple trips through the dishwasher and some picking and scraping, my cute little glass jars still look like this:

Homemade Goo Gone

So how do we fix this problem?  We make our own Goo Gone!

In case you’re not familiar with Goo Gone, it’s an oily liquid that’s really helpful in getting rid of sticky residue and can also be used for deeper cleaning where an oily grime or film has built up on a surface.  It may seem contradictory to clean something sticky with an oil, but just the other day Hungry Son was reminding me of one of the basic tenets of chemistry – Like Dissolves Like.

{ which apparently is why Goo Gone works }

So how do we make our own Goo Gone?  And can it get the job done?

To make our own homemade Goo Gone, simply combine 1 part vegetable oil with 2 parts baking soda. This gives us an oily substance with a little abrasiveness for scrubbing power.  I mixed up a small batch and put it to the test.

Homemade Goo Gone
It took a little bit of scrubbing, but it worked!  And truly, the amount of scrubbing I did was about equal to the amount of scrubbing I would do with the store bought Goo Gone.  It was a really simple and easy way to use what was around in the cupboard and got every last bit of the label off the glass.

Here’s what I did:

Homemade Goo Gone

Adapted from No. 2 Pencil
For my small batch I used:

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

Homemade Goo GoneCombine the vegetable oil and the baking soda in a small bowl.  It will be a somewhat thin mixture but not as thin as the real Goo Gone.

Dip the edge of a piece of paper toweling in the mixture and then rub over the sticky stuff you are trying to remove.  Keep doing this as needed.  It will probably take a couple applications, but it gets to a point where the sticky gunk starts releasing and rolling off.

Finish up by washing the item in warm soapy water.

Homemade Goo Gone

See?   No more sticky gunk on my cute little jars.

I also came across this article where the same mixture was used to clean built up sticky “gunk” off from kitchen cabinets so it works for more than just labels on jars.

homemade italian seasoning blend

And I’ve already found the perfect use for one of my little recycled jars.  I’m using it to store my homemade Italian Seasoning blend and it works great!

 

** This post was featured in the Top 10 most popular at Hometalk

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55 Comments

  1. I tried this recipe, but it was, (in my opinion), waaay too dry for my particular need?
    So, on a hunch, (and liking the safe ingredients), I reversed the recipe to:
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    2 teaspoons vegetable oil
    Seems a lot better for me as I needed to remove medical grade bandage tape adhesive left on my skin upon removal every morning – and this worked for me.
    The recipe listed in this article was just too abrasive for my skin – which was already sensitive, and I wasn’t gonna use acetone, fingernail polish remover – or even isopropyl alcohol daily in an already sensitive area!

    So… I still “THANK YOU” for the recipe!!!

  2. I’ve always just used my hands to cover the adhesive area with Vegetable Oil. Let itrest for and hour of two and it all wipes away with a paper towel.

  3. The real active ingredient of Goo Gone is Lemon Oil. Not lemon juice – Lemon Oil. Try it on its own if you don’t believe it. A 50ml bottle of pure Lemon Oil will set you back about £5.00 on Ebay. I discovered it by accident, but lemon oil is a fantastic solvent. It’s also why Goo Gone smells of lemons.

  4. I, too, am a lover of little jars. I have tiny Tequilla bottle that I used it on. Voila! I’m thinking of giving away home made Goo Gone in my little jars. Worked great! Thanks!

    1. Yay! Glad this recipe was a Pinterest success for you! I’ve had good success with this simple method for homemade goo gone too.

  5. My son just put stickers on our WOOD floor! Frantic, I attempted to scrape the floor. It seemed hopeless until I came across this DIY recipe to remove the gunk. Much to my surprise, it WORKED! Thank you to whomever for saving me time, money and a headache! :p

    1. Thanks so much! It worked perfectly without much effort on alot of duct tape residue I needed to remove from some vynal items.

      Thanks again
      Bill

  6. Thank you!!! I was looking on pinterest on how to get rid of the glue junk on a glass jar and came upon this recipe. It’s fantastic and blew my mind on how well it worked so I had to say something. Thank you again!

  7. Isopropyl alcohol found in the first aid section of any retail store selling such will take label adhesive residue off of glass and plastic containers. You can also saturated a still attached label with it and make its removal a breeze.

    Also, the hydrogen peroxide found next to the alcohol in the store will remove blood from fabric as long as you apply it within the day the staining occurs. Just keep applying every 15 minutes or so until it no longer bubbles when you do.

  8. While its true that ‘like’ dissolves ‘like’,
    after soaking off the paper in water,
    just take those jars outside and clean
    the label gunk with PAINT THINNER,
    then wash them with your favorite dish
    washing detergent.

    If you really want to impress your friends,
    gasoline is even faster, but lets not get
    carried away.

    Apparently, PAINT THINNER is more ‘like’ most
    label glue than veggie oil. Some labeling
    companies use water soluble glues, while others
    want those labels to stay put for extended
    advertising purposes.

    My favorite peanut butter containers actually
    have the label EMBEDDED in the plastic, so its
    advertising benefits extend far into the next
    century…

    Beverly, you’re very brave to respond to
    Jeff’s gluteus maximus problem.

    Take care.

    1. Thank you, Mr. Brown, for pointing out Bev’s bravery in addressing Jeff’s comment so eloquently!

      Further, and more to the point of the post: There are basically the three types of labeling pointed out by Mr. Brown…

      The “embedded” type aren’t worth trying to remove – just use the container as-is or paint over it. They are instantly identified and removed from the “clean later” pile of jars and bottles.

      A tip first: Some labels have a thin layer of clear plastic over them. Pick at and peel it off before any other effort.

      I soak all the remaining glass jars and bottles in water. If the adhesive is water soluble, then the labels will come off easy-peasy followed by, at most, a light scrubbing of any adhesive still on the bottle.

      The jars whose labels don’t release after a soak in water need only get the vegetable oil treatment Bev has described in the post. With or without baking soda. Also, I use old vegetable oil that has gone “off” that I would not use for food anymore – it will still take care of the non-water-soluble label goo. Wash up with regular detergent and water – presto!

      I used to be a died-in-the-wool GooGone purchaser until I summoned up the courage to try vegetable oil. Ain’t goin’ back. 😉

    1. So far the messes I’ve made I’ve been able to clean off with my homemade soft scrub or the baking soda method. A couple suggestions for tougher messes would be to try a product called Bar Keepers Friend or carefully use a razor blade to scrape it off and then try cleaning it again as usual.

  9. I forgot to mention… I plan to mix this with mineral oil to test as a goo remover. I think it might keep longer than vegetable oil, if it works.

  10. I made a batch of this to remove labels from jars and had some stashed for later use. Thank God I had, as I had an emergency where I put it to use!
    Two days before my son’s wedding, I was going to wax my brows and upper lip with a microwavable hot wax. Well, an accident occurred and I spilled the hot wax all over my hands, the counter top, and got droplets on the floor as I ran to the sink!
    Fortunately, the wax did not burn my skin as I cooled it fast, but I still had to get it off of my hands and the rest of the mess!
    I remembered the goo remover and started with my hands. It worked beautifully and did not harm my skin. I poured it onto the counter and used a spatula to remove the wax. It was a life saver!
    Trust me when I say to keep this handy. You never know when you are going to need it!

    1. I love a good story like this where a homemade resourceful solution saves the day! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. Will this work on fabric? My son got a scout shirt from a friend (need to save money when ever I can) it has iron on patch glue from the previous owners patches. I want to get it off without staining the fabric.

    1. I don’t think I would use this on fabric. Because it uses vegetable oil, I think it would leave an oily stain. For your situation I think I would try rubbing alcohol first and see if it removes the residue. If not, then I would try the store bought goo gone (which you can often times find at the dollar store) because they say their product is safe to use on clothing (which I also didn’t know until I researched this topic just now!)

  12. I was a bodyman/painter for many years. I used WD/40 for many things. I kept some under my sink @home for quick fixes. Spray on the residue from the label.let it sit then wipe w/paper towel &wash w/soapy water. No need to scrub!

  13. peanut butter will do the same thing, which by the way i use. Just dip some out of the jar and spread it on the label. leave it on for about twenty to thirty minutes and was off. some labels may take more then one time around. but it will come off.

  14. I just use a little full strength dishwashing liquid with one tablespoon of vinegar and one of those non scratch nylon scrubbers that come in colors and it removes the sticky stuff on jars easily while running it under warm water after the dishwashing liquid has had a chance to sit for a few minutes and whalla it’s removed and the glass is shiny and clean

  15. Yay this actually worked and on plastic toys! Thank you. I tried alchohol and nailpolish remover but nothing was working. This took it right off and without chemicals!

  16. i never normally take the time to post a comment about something i find useful on line..i just say a silent “thanks” lol. however, that has now changed after making your homemade goo gone today!! i started out using if for a stubborn jar label, which worked great..but i had a lot left over, so i thought “why not?” and i used it on the back part of stove where the dials are and are extremely greasy, no matter what i have tried. OMG!!!!! I truly can not believe how AWESOME this worked!!!! i also used it on my kuerig that sits next to stove, same thing!! just awesome.. seriously im headed to costo for a 10lb box of baking soda and 2 gal of veg oil, lol. thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Yup, I think it’s all about the chemistry basic of “like dissolves like”. It takes something oily, to get rid of something greasy. Seems contradictory, but it works. Great to hear that you had wonderful results 🙂

  17. After the label comes off the jar, I use a small piece of Brillo pad to get the goo off. It works for me. I just cut a small piece of the pad, and save it to use for a couple more times, on the stubborn goo.

  18. How long I’ve been looking for the way to remove that sticky mess from my Yankee candle jars. Nothing worked so far, so I am running to check. Thanks so much for the recipe.

  19. I found you on Pinterest and used this today on a jar from sliced mangoes. Worked great! Now I’m going to mix up the homemade Nestle Quick I found on Pinterest to put in it!

  20. I got the same ‘recipe’ for home made goo gone, but did not think about using it on sticky lables. Duh! Thank you for the info. I love to save big and little jars. So many uses.

  21. It often works by only submerging the jar in really cold water for a couple of hours. The label peels away and there is no residue!

    1. I don’t think you would have to keep this in the refrigerator as both vegetable oil and baking soda are shelf stable items. I’m not sure how long this will keep, but I’m guessing for several months at least. I would wonder if it would start to dry out after some time, but you could probably just add a little more vegetable oil to revive it if that was the case.

  22. Here and I thought you were going to say you used one of your cute litte jars to store your homemade gunk remover!
    I save the beautiful square green bottles organic olive oil comes in. Would it be criminal to buy some cheap vegetable oil from DT and use the green bottle to store the homemade gunk remover? — I better make sure to take the label off first, so I don’t mistake one for the other!

    1. There’s nothing wrong with saving pretty bottles like the green ones from olive oil but like you said, you have to find some way to identify what else you’ve decided to put in it 🙂

  23. Thanks, Beverly! I have an olive oil bottle soaking now (to remove the label) I’m going to try this today, to get the sticky residue. I’ve always used acetone nail polish.

  24. I’ve never tried it like that before.
    I usually run the jars through a dishwasher and then rub off the loose gunk with a magic eraser while it’s still warm.

    1. That sounds like a good way to get the sticky gunk off too, but I bet the key is to do it while its still warm.