Label Tip #4 Adhesive Removal Tips

Does it ALWAYS have to be a STICKY situation?

Myths, Urban Legends, and old wives-tales about removing adhesives.

Most manufacturers and product distributors these days seem pretty astute about using label products and adhesives that remove from the products they are supposed to remove from. But every now and then you get one that just doesn’t want to come off cleanly. If you’re like me, you probably reach for the nearest chemical to remove that gooey adhesive buildup left behind. Window Cleaners, Rubbing Alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide, dish soap, nail polish removers, Skin So Soft (ha! you know your old when…………..) THEN, after the goo is smeared all over you go for the TOUGH stuff like WD-40, or M.E.K (Methyl Ethyl Ketone) only to find out that it has smeared not only the adhesive goo, but may have melted or damaged you new product as well. Do any of these methods really work?
Well – experience says Yes…and No. M.E.K. is one of the best catchall adhesive removers from many surfaces like metal or glass, but watch out. While readily available at any hardware store, M.E.K. is one of the nastiest chemicals out there. Flammable, Irritant, absorbable into the blood thru the skin. Really best left as the choice of last resort. And follow the safety instructions if you decide to go this route. By the way, it will also dissolve certain types of plastics. WD-40 works on some surfaces as well but you have to be careful about the oily stain that can be left behind.

Rubbing alcohol and alcohol based products like Window Cleaners, Nail polish removers etc. all appear to help but really only wet the adhesive and make it appear to go away. Once dry, the sticky adhesive residue usually reappears. For regular label use in printers etc., this gives the appearance of reoccurring adhesive issues throughout the roll of labels, when in fact it is usually just normal build up that is not being completely cleaned away.

Here are some tricks of the trade:

We have found the best product for the purpose of removing adhesive is a citrus based cleaning solution you can get from the local hardware store (like Orange Glow). Smaller, less concentrated products are also available, such as “Goo Gone”!

For hard surfaces you may be able to use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, a mixture of Warm Vinegar and a clean cloth can also do the trick.

Baby oil, cooking oil and lotions are sometimes good remedies for removing adhesive left on your skin from bandages.

Now…………you will NEVER hear us say it is OK to apply a label to Silk, leather or suede, however; if you peel a label off any other fabric but the adhesive doesn’t come up Try this: simply apply a paper towel to the fabric and iron over the adhesive. This should transfer the adhesive from the fabric to the paper towel.

Some stickers are made with “water soluble adhesive”. Try soaking the product in hot tap water (if the product is submersible). If it’s a wash-away, the label will peel right off.

If you get adhesive build up in a printer, running regular bond copy paper thru will help eventually clean this out. If using a laser printer make sure it’s a laser compatible label product. And if you regularly use label products in printers, automatic applicators etc. you can expect some adhesive build up over time – its part of the nature of the product.

Standard Disclaimer: When using something you’re unfamiliar with, always try it out in a less conspicuous area to make sure it is suitable and won’t damage the product you trying to remove the adhesive from. A scratched or melted sunglasses lens is no more usable than one with a label stuck to it!

We hope you’ve found this information usable. If you have other home remedies or solutions you’ve found that work, let us know and we’ll pass them along.