Removing Sticky Labels & Residue

Removing Sticky Labels and Residue

Many people are frustrated by the unsightly mess left behind when you remove self adhesive labels. To remove this sticky residue try these tips from Mercian Labels:

First Steps In Label Removal

The easiest way to remove a label initially is to warm up the label with a warm air hair dryer (to lower the viscosity of the adhesive) and peel it off slowly, taking your time. In most cases, the label will remove completely intact with no residue. Try removing any remaining residue with a strong adhesive cellotape.

Alternative Label Removal

Alternatively, soak the label in warm water for 10 minutes, as most labels use water based acrylic adhesives, and heat and water can help the removal process. Label adhesive can often then be rubbed off with your fingers similar by rolling it into balls.

Label Removal Using Chemicals

If you wish to try using chemicals (particularly with paper labels), soaking the label with solvents such as such as vinegar, cigarette lighter fluid, white spirit or WD40 can help the removal process as it may soften the adhesive and enable the label to be peeled off cleanly. Whatever method you use, test beforehand on an unseen section of the surface to make sure that the solvent will not damage the surface. Covering the adhesive residue with flour before applying a solvent can sometimes help.

If there is a residue left, try rubbing the residue with a little isopropyl alcohol (or methylated spirits if you dont have any IPA) on a cloth to dissolve the adhesive. Again, test a small unseen area beforehand.

Last Resort To Removing Labels

Finally, as a last resort, a stronger organic solvent such as acetone (similar to nail varnish remover) could be used, but will probably mark many plastic or coated surfaces permanently . Commercial citrus based removal products do exist, such as “Goo gone” but these are often not found around the house.

Removing Paper Labels

Paper labels are often more difficult to remove than plastic labels, as they tear much easier when being peeled away from the application surface, However, paper labels do absorb solvents easier than plastic labels as they are much more porus.

Customer Tips For Removing Sticky Labels and Residue

“These labels can be stubborn, but I found that if you put a little cooking oil on your finger(s) and keep rubbing it on the label, the paper will roll off and the adhesive will “melt”.”

“To remove waterproof labels from a jar, fill the jar with boiling water and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. Peel off the label slowly. Most if not all the adhesive will come off with it. If there is any residue, remove it with steel wool and cooking oil. – Andrew Shakespeare, Proprietor, Caerphilly Preserves”

If you have any experiences with removing stickers that you wish to share with use, please email them to

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