Many people are frustrated by the sticky mess left which remains when you remove self adhesive labels.
Tips to remove sticky label residue
Warm up the label
The easiest way to remove a label initially is to warm up the label with a warm air hair dryer (to “melt” 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 or you can wipe the surface with an acetone. Please note that this can mark your surface so test on obscure place first.
Soak the label
Alternatively, soak the label in warm water for 10 minutes. Most labels use water based acrylic adhesives, so water can help the removal process. The sticky label residue can then be rubbed off with your fingers.
Label removal using chemicals
You may have to use chemicals (particularly with paper labels) if the above methods do not work. Soaking the label with solvents will soften the adhesive and enable the label to be peeled off cleanly. Recommended solvents include vinegar, cigarette lighter fluid, white spirits or Q20 (the South African equivalent of the world leader WD40). 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.
Last resort to removing labels
As a last resort, a stronger organic solvent such as acetone (similar to nail varnish remover) could be used. This will probably mark many plastic or coated surfaces permanently.
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