In the "old days" wine labels used to soak off in warm water, presumably because they used plain paper and a water-based glue. Nowadays 99.34% of labels are of the self-adhesive variety, laser-cut with embossings, metallic and plastic finishings and coatings and seemed to be designed to military specifications NOT to be removed.
I am a home-brewer and need a supply of clean re-usable wine bottles, and removing these modern labels is a chore.
I have tried the following but I may have missed some good ideas:
soaking in water... this sometimes sort of works - it seems to depend on the quality of the paper versus the power of the glue. Fails often on coated labels. Resort to scraping with a potato peeler. If that fails bin it. ~ 5% chance of success
VERY carefully pick up a corner and peel it off by hand. When it rips, try a different corner. Again this depends on the paper quality vs glue and seems to critically depend on the angle of peel. Good approach for coated labels. Often you can succeed in doing this on the front label then fail totally on the 2 back labels which have an entirely different constituency. ~ 5% chance again
Lighter fluid. from an old trick in removing floppy disk labels - tiddle lighter fluid liberally over the entire surface of the label (only works on non-coated labels) so that it soaks thru the paper into the backing glue. I use my fingers to spread it. Wait until it just appears to have dried - then peel as for 2. If it rips - you can try repeating the whole process. Often leaves gluey residue. Use a paper towel and more lighter fluid to remove it, and polish it off. ~ 70% chance.
heat bottle in slow oven oven at ~100C. use gloves and try and peel label with other hand. Some skill/risk required ~ 40% chance
Ok what methods have I missed? and what are the estimated chances of success?
P.S. you will need to successfully remove labels to try the bottle-chopping hack What is the best method for cutting the top off a wine bottle?