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I've got a couple of glass Saratoga bottles, like the one pictured below.

enter image description here

I'd like to remove the paint from them, but I don't want to use paint thinners or similar solvents. What household tools can I use to remove the paint?

  • Is it paint, or some sort of label? Some of these answers may also work on paint, but knowing what sort of paint may be critical to know how to get it off most easily. – Erica Aug 9 '16 at 14:46
  • May I ask, is a heat gun an option for you? Is the bottle really glass or is it plastic? – John Vukelic Aug 9 '16 at 14:49
  • @Erica It's applied directly onto the glass, so I assume it's paint. I can't post images of my bottles at the moment, but google has some higher res images – jackwise Aug 9 '16 at 14:50
  • @JohnVukelic It's glass, just checked the Saratoga website. I'll update accordingly. – jackwise Aug 9 '16 at 14:50
  • Okay. Heat gun is out. Store bought paint removers is out. That leaves home receipes. I have not tried a homemade solution but the internet tells me there are: recipes for homemade paint removers. brighthub.com/environment/green-living/articles/100411.aspx – John Vukelic Aug 9 '16 at 15:22
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The label is probably a silk-screen label called Applied Ceramic Label, which after screening, is baked onto the container. It's very difficult to remove. Scraping and scratching might remove it, but your bottle is going to be much the worse for wear.

I found a How to Clean site that claims using a brewer's cleaning product, Star San to soak off the label. It's an acidic product, available online.

They advise soaking your label in a pan or bucket containing Star San for 24-48 hours and that the printing will just magically begin to fall off when given a bit of a shake.

No indication of what this does to the bucket - the stuff is supposed to clean-up brewing supplies in just a couple of minutes.

  • We use it for our brewing. I'm not sure about this usage but it won't do anything to the bucket as long as it's a hard plastic. It's great stuff for cleaning but I've never used it for this purpose, so I'm not sure if it will work or not. Here's a website that sells it and that has more info about it: northernbrewer.com/star-san Note the warning: "It is safe for use on all surfaces, but use caution since it is an acid; contact with soft metals, rubber, and plastic should be kept to a minimum." – Catija Aug 9 '16 at 17:29
  • Apparently someone contacted the producer themselves and they said it is ACL and they don't know of a method to remove it :/ Check this link – jackwise Aug 9 '16 at 18:05
  • @jackwise I checked your link. If I really wanted to remove the ACL, I would give the Star San a shot. No hint from Saratoga of what their multiple attempts might have entailed :). – Ast Pace Aug 9 '16 at 18:31
  • If the label is actually made out of ceramic, nothing short of Hydrofluoric Acid will dissolve it, and that will eat the whole bottle. – Web Head Aug 9 '16 at 19:37
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    Time for someone to experiment with different bottles, I guess. – Web Head Aug 9 '16 at 22:04
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Your best bet is probably a razor blade. You can also buy them with handles as "glass scrapers" with the decorating supplies, for getting paint off windows. Steel wool shouldn't scratch glass unless you really lean on it or i's got grit in it, so may be handy for the last bits. Heating the bottle first may soften the paint (to heat it without the risk of cracking, put it in a cold oven and turn on) but it may just make the paint smell bad.

This assumes that there's enough of an edge for the blade to bite. It's also possible that the design is etched. You may need solvents to get the last little bits off - acteone (nail polish remover) is worth a try if that's more acceptable.

  • Acetone and white vinegar were my first hunches, since they seem to take care of everything - I'll try those out when I can. – jackwise Aug 9 '16 at 15:21
  • I've found acetone to be good in a few cases but often useless. I doubt vinegar would help, though it may be good for a final clean. – Chris H Aug 9 '16 at 15:23
  • If it does turn out to be a ceramic as suggested in another answer this is unlikely to work very well – Chris H Aug 10 '16 at 6:01

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