How to Easily Remove Labels & Stickers
For many of us, the inkling to practice environmentally conscious behavior is a strong one. For too many, though, there are too many barriers to their being productive in this manner. It can be hard enough finding a place to deposit your recyclables. It can even be more frustrating to prepare these certain items for reuse.
Have you, dear reader, ever tried to remove a label from glass or other packaging? Fingernails, somehow, someway, always prove ineffectual, and the process always begets headache.
We understand your frustrations, and so in the following article, we breakdown the means by which you can easily, quickly and safely remove labels from items.
Now, there are methods that involve retail adhesive removers, but there are not many of these chemical solvents that are environmentally friendly. There is, too, the often tried razor blade method but with razors, there is always high risk of injury..
Environmentally Friendly Label Removal Options Include:
1. Alcohol: Let’s start with what is on, the surface, the most fun, and diverse, element of the bunch, alcohol. The items that fall under this umbrella include but are not limited to methylated spirits, isopropanol, and nail polish remover.
For this method, you’ll need to douse a cotton swab with alcohol. It matters not which of the above variants it is. Using the wet cotton swab lightly brush what is left of the label residue---this includes the stuck-on paper, as well as the residue from the label backing. If you are trying to remove the label material from a larger glass item, then consider using a soft cloth wet with alcohol.
It is not elbow grease that will be the primary factor behind getting rid of the label material. It is, rather, the alcohol’s ability to break down the adhesive that initially bonds, and then maintains the bond, between the label and the item. It is of some importance that this is noted, because you want to avoid being too aggressive when cleaning glassware. Too much pressure will leave scratches on it, or worse end up shattering it entirely.
Repeat the above process as necessary. Before you know it, your glassware will be polished, sparkling and free of stuck on mess. Alcohol is a solvent with properties water, on its own, just does not have. As a result, it’s effective in removing not only glue but paint. We advise, though, that should you choose this method, you do so in a well ventilated area.
2. Baking Soda & Water: With baking soda we have perhaps one of the easiest methods available to the ecologically conscious. First you’ll want to soak the item in a warm pool of water mixed with baking soda. You don’t need to expend any manual effort on removing the labels beforehand.
A good ratio to keep in mind for this, is about one teaspoon of baking soda to every two cups of water. Make sure that it is fully submerged.
Next you’ll want to let it sit in the soda water for about 30 minutes or so. The label should, on its own, separate from the item. After this, you can very easily scrub away what remains of the residue.
3. Oils: Now, applicable oils range from those essential oils such as lemon oil, tea tree oil, orange oil to those kind used for cooking such as vegetable oil, canola oil, or olive oil.
An oil, when it comes to the breaking down of adhesives, operates in a similar manner as a solvent. Use a cloth to apply the oil to the label sticker.
The oil will break down the label’s sticker-like material in no time. From there you can gently rub it off. You can, then, rinse off any lingering, offending, sticker bits with warm water.
4. Vinegar: Oil and vinegar, paired so often as salt and black pepper, work in a similar way when it comes to the removal of label stickers.
The reason vinegar works well to dissolve the label material is because vinegar is an acid. As such it breaks down the label material fairly quickly.
Use the vinegar to wet a cloth rag, then gently apply it to the side of the bottle. The label should come away in soggy flakes.
5. Heat: No, this article didn’t suddenly switch gears to being about hair care. Really, heat is a valid option. By applying direct heat to label material, using something like a blow dryer, you can wear down the connective force bonding it.
If removing from glass and you choose this method, you are forewarned not to touch the hot glass with any part of your person. Touching the hot glass can lead to injury so consider letting the object rest on a stable surface while you apply the heat, or simply handling the glassware object with protective gear.
It should only take a few minutes for the heat to break down the adhesive. After which, you can use a credit card, or a similarly shaped object, to peel up the label, by sliding the card behind each corner. When you have freed the corner(s), peel the label away slowly.
BONUS: Masking Tape If you already removed the vast majority of the label but bits remain, consider masking tape. Now, we know what you’re thinking. Masking tape?
Isn’t that a little counterintuitive? Well, not in this case, hear us out. Start by taking a bit of masking tape and folding it about your finger.
You want to make sure that the tape is bent backward on itself, with the adhesive side out. Press the tape onto what remains of the label material. Remove the tape quickly and the label material bits will come up with it.
There you have it: Five environmentally-friendly ways to quickly, and easily remove labels with household-supplies! It is our hope that this article has been helpful to you.
If you’d like to replace any of those removed labels with ones of your own making, visit us to create professionally printed custom labels completely online. There, you can upload and approve your label design right away!
Or if you’d like to speak to a representative, dial (800) 750-7764. LabelValue is open Monday through Friday.