What is the right solution when you need labels that can be cleaned?


We recently had a customer who needed labels that could be used on a piece of equipment in a hospital. Because they were going to be in a hospital environment, they needed to be able to be cleaned regularly.

The problem, however, is finding labels that will hold up under conditions like these.

You cannot use alcohol (or alcohol-based cleaning solutions) on direct thermal labels, whether or not your labels are paper or polypropylene. (Side note: paper labels shouldn’t get wet ever, period. If you need more durable labels that are water-resistant, you should be using polypropylene.) The problem with using alcohol on direct thermal labels is that they cause a chemical reaction that produces its own heat and will cause the label to darken. You can use other, non-alcohol-based, cleaning solutions on direct thermal polypropylene labels, but they will not hold up to extensive cleaning.

For a more durable solution, or for labels that need to be cleaned by alcohol, use thermal transfer polypropylene labels with a resin ribbon. These labels are not only water-resistant but are also designed to handle sunlight and outdoor use and won’t experience a chemical reaction when cleaned with alcohol.

However, even thermal transfer poly labels aren’t designed to last forever with extensive wear and tear. For even more protection for your labels, it’s best to use a shield over the label. In the case of the hospital where the label was going to be applied to a machine and cleaned several times a day with alcohol, a shield is the surest solution to making sure the labels last. A shield is simply a clear label that can be placed over the top of your labels to protect them from harsh environmental factors.

Have more questions about durable labels? Interested in printing custom Dymo labels? Contact us today.