It’s been five years already since I first wrote about how to make homemade goo gone and how it was an easy DIY strategy I like to use for cleaning the little glass jars that I love to recycle. And during the course of those five years I’ve still kept saving glass jars, and I’ve still kept using my homemade goo gone for this purpose – because it works! I use a recycled jar that I love for storing my homemade taco sauce, and another recycled jar has been perfect for my homemade mod podge. I just like to keep a stash of these little jars around for whatever homemade recipe I might want to try next!
Now, removing the paper part of the label is usually no big deal. The paper will turn to mush pretty easily in water, and with some scrubbing, you can usually get all the paper off. But that sticky label residue that’s underneath? That’s a different story. Maybe you’ve gotten this far in the process too and wondered how to remove the sticky label residue on a glass jar that’s been left behind after the rest of the label is gone. It’s a frustrating situation that looks like this:
But with two items you probably already have in the kitchen you can totally solve this problem! All it takes is some oil and some baking soda. The oil helps to dissolve the sticky glue residue (using the strategy of “like dissolves like”) and the baking soda provides some gentle abrasive scrubbing power. I’ve made this with both vegetable oil and olive oil and both have worked.
To make this easy mixture, just put some baking soda into a little bowl. Then, however much baking soda you measured out, stir in half as much oil.
So if you put 1 tablespoon of baking soda in your bowl, add in a ½ tablespoon of oil. If you put 2 teaspoons of baking soda in your bowl, add in 1 teaspoon of oil. You get the idea. (some measurement suggestions are also in the printable recipe below). The mixture should be about the consistency of glue – somewhat thick, but you want to still be able to have it pour off your spoon.
Then the scrubbing starts. Yes, it does take a little bit of elbow grease, but no more than if you had bought commercial goo gone from the store. Just dip an edge of some paper toweling or an old cloth into your homemade goo gone mixture and start rubbing it around. You should see that the sticky residue is starting to wipe away and is coming off. Keep dipping your cloth as needed, and rubbing and scrubbing, until all the residue is gone. This should only take a few minutes, depending on the size of your jar of course.
Then wash your jar with soap and water and dry it off. If you see any little areas that you missed, just repeat the process. When you’re done, you should have some lovely little glass jars that are all clean and shiny and ready to go if you need something for storing a homemade mixture.
Since I first wrote about my homemade goo gone, some readers have asked me if you can make it ahead of time and store it. Honestly, I have never tried that but I suspect it probably wouldn’t work very well. It might keep for a little while, but I think it would probably start getting kind of crusty over time. I always just make a small batch as I need it. It mixes together so fast (and you could probably almost do it without measuring) that it really isn’t much trouble to just make little batches as needed.
So if you have some goo that you want to be gone, give this DIY mixture a try. A little bit of baking soda and oil will probably do the trick!
Homemade Goo Gone
- Baking Soda
- Oil (vegetable, olive, etc.)
- Place your baking soda in a small bowl. However much baking soda you measured out, stir in half as much oil.
- Stir together the baking soda and oil. The consistency should be about that of glue, somewhat thick but still able to pour off your spoon.
- Dip an edge of paper toweling or an old cloth into your homemade goo gone mixture, and rub it around on the sticky area, scrubbing as you go to work on removing the sticky residue. Repeat this process until you have removed all the sticky residue.
- Then wash your item with soap and water and wipe dry. If you see any remaining spots of sticky residue, repeat the process.