Label Removal Process, Tools & Applications

Today’s labels are manufactured using a range of adhesives to provide the level of adhesion required by the application – whether it is to keep the label attached permanently, such as a safety label or product label for a bottle or jar, or a label designed to be removed after purchase, such as a label for kitchen and bath products. Removing these labels and the underlying adhesive completely requires care to ensure that you do not damage the surface material or, if needed, the label itself.

The key elements to consider when removing a label are:

  • Label material
  • Surface material
  • Type and strength of the adhesive used to apply the label
  • Whether you are interested in preserving the label

Industrial Label Removal

Label Strippers

Laboratories, bottling plants, and processing plants need to remove labels from reusable glass, plastic, and metal containers. High volume label strippers remove the label and adhesive in one process using air-cushioned blades. These machines are custom-designed for the surface material and the level of adhesion of the labels, removing the label and adhesive completely while protecting the surface material.

Friction Removers

Label removers designed for recycling processes use friction to remove labels. These machines can handle a range of labels, from wraparound labels with spot adhesive to single labels with full adhesion. These machines are engineered to fully remove the label and adhesive without the need to protect the surface material.

Small Volume and Personal-Use Label Removal

Soaking the label

The easiest way to remove a label is to soak the bottle, jar, or product in hot water. This will loosen the adhesive and the label can be removed. Adding ammonia or other solvent to help dissolve the adhesive can speed the process. This method can be used for most surface materials. Soaking may damage the label, so if you are interested in preserving the label, this is not the best method of removal.

Label Remover Applications

If you are interested in protecting the label during removal, the best solution is to use a label remover application. These applications are easy to use and provide maximum protection for the label itself. A label remover application kit contains clear plastic sheets coated with an adhesive remover on one side. The plastic sheet is applied to the label, allowing the remover to dissolve the adhesive. The plastic adheres to the label, protecting it during removal and allowing you to peel the label off intact.

  • The plastic can be left on the label for a period of time if the adhesive is strong

This method is used mainly for glass surfaces.

Many label collectors use this method to remove labels, as it not only keeps the label intact, but also helps to preserve the colors and patterns of the label.

Solvent-based label removers

Solvent-based removers break down the adhesive so the label can be removed completely. Available in liquid or aerosol form, solvents provide fast removal and are useful for removal of older adhesives. Special formulations are designed to protect metal and plastic surface materials, allowing the container to be reused. Solvent-based removers generally do not protect the label.

Steam label removal

Steam can be used to remove labels from glass, metal, and plastic surfaces. The steam dissolves the adhesive, making the label easy to remove. If the steam is applied carefully, the label can be preserved. Alcohol or a solvent can be added to the steam to help dissolve the adhesive.

Blanco Labels

Blanco Labels offers both stock and custom labels to meet the needs of customers from small specialty orders to full production runs for manufacturers. Our modern printing facility has the capabilities to manufacture full-color labels that meet your exact specifications. Blanco is known for the quality of our labels and our superior customer service – ensuring that every project meets or exceeds your expectations.