An unGlue thread. How do you de-goop plastic bottle labels?

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BABAR

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I’d like to use some plastic bottles like those used for vitamins and fish oil tablets for things like Ring fins and possibly fins for Horizontal Spin recovery rockets.

I can peel the labels off, but the the adhesive and often backing of the labels doesn’t come off. I’ve tried acetone and some degoop stuff without success. Sanding it off doesn’t work well either.

any (preferable safe) ideas?

thanks!
 

heada

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For me in the past, I had to do some basic trial and error to figure out what best solvent worked. Some labels are harder to remove than others. I had one that the bottle melted before the label came off. I figured it was some crazy NASA label glue or something.

Start with warm soapy water
goo gone (commercial product)
try iso alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
try mineral spirits
try acetone/xylene (wear gloves and do it outside)
try denatured alcohol (wear gloves and do it outside)
try lacquer thinner (mostly toluene, wear gloves and do it outside!)

I go in that order since the lower you go the more likely the solvent will damage what you're trying to clean.
 

Funkworks

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Lighter fluid has always worked for me. I don't know about vitamins and fish tablets specifically, but I have yet to see a case where lighter fluid doesn't remove a commercial label from plastic or treated cardboard. I learned that from people who want to remove price labels from expensive things like this:

s-l300.jpg

Dissolves the adhesive beautifully with just a few drop and a smooth wipe (paper towel or tissue).
 

Huxter

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WD-40 works great on sticker residue - let it soak good for 15 minutes and peel it off.
 

dr wogz

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sometimes, the process of make the bottle, the label is 'incorporated' into the process. so the label is actually a part of the bottle. The blow mold is first lined with the label. The nearly liquid plastic is blown into the mold & adheres & solidifies onto / into the label. no release agents needed. the label is the release agent..
 

Funkworks

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Just to be clear, this is what I've always used to remove labels:
a334ea3d-001d-4221-a5c9-c680943204f6_1.28088b76a5f91bb0987581a6a4498cc6.jpeg

Walmart stuff. If it doesn't work, ask someone else.
 

kuririn

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As a modeler/builder you probably have some mineral spirits (paint thinner) lying around.
Works better on strong sticker adhesives than iso alky.
Alky softens the adhesive but flashes off quickly. Then the adhesive starts to gum up again.
Mineral spirits evaporate slower.
Probably cheaper than those small specialty remover bottles too.
Reminds me I have an old rusted tin of Goof Off Pro lying around.
Solvents listed are acetone/xylene.
Used that to remove DVD price tags back in the day.
BTW do you have empty prescription bottles? I find that the labels on those, at least in my area come off readily with no or little residue. Not like the bottle labels on off the shelf stuff. Maybe an anti-tampering feature, dunno.
Laters.
 

icyclops

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Bestine will also remove label adhesive and is much less reactive to plastic surfaces. It works well on rubber cement type adhesives and not white glue types or CA.
The technique is to thoroughly soak the label and pull the entire thing off From an edge.

good luck
 

Dane Ronnow

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Essential oils of the citrus variety—lemon oil, orange oil—work better for me than Goo Gone. More expensive, though, than other remedies.
 

augendoc

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I remove the plastic adhesive labels from Costco mixed nut containers all the time. I’ve tried pertty much every solvent known to man. Here’s what’s worked for me. First, use a heat gun or hair dryer to heat the label. Be careful else you get it too hot and the container melts and deforms. But even a little heat will help soften the adhesive and you should be able to peel the label off with little to no residue. For any residual adhesive, WD-40 works really well. After spraying to the point of running off, soak a small piece of paper towel in more WD-40 and gently wipe to get the softened bits off. Wipe until dry, then wash with warm soapy water and air dry.

you can also use a terpene-based citrus/orange cleaner like Citra-Solv.
 

Troy3003

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3m adhesive remover 08987 or starting fluid(ether) is what we use to remove the residue from removing vinyl decals on vehicles at work. Sometimes brake cleaner spray works too.
 

Greg Furtman

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Lighter fluid has always worked for me. I don't know about vitamins and fish tablets specifically, but I have yet to see a case where lighter fluid doesn't remove a commercial label from plastic or treated cardboard. I learned that from people who want to remove price labels from expensive things like this:

View attachment 469390
Dissolves the adhesive beautifully with just a few drop and a smooth wipe (paper towel or tissue).
Would that be naphtha?
 

Johnly

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Xylene is the same as the expensive bottled petroleum Goo-b-Gone offerings. Some plastics don't like aromatic hydrocarbons like xylene and toluene, and the citrus oil based label removers avoid that issue.
 

tab28682

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One more thing that often works for me: CA accelerator. Spray some on, let is soak for a minute. Sometimes takes a couple of applications.

There are better adhesive solvents, but most of us usually have this sitting on the workbench.
 

DragonRocketry

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I deal with glue everyday with unwrapping cars and trailer, removing decals, removing window tint and removing ppf. This is the best stuff on the market. Not cheap as it is $28 bottle, but well worth it for the time it saves me. I have tried everything and this is the only stuff I will use.

IMG_1450.jpg
 

Dawgbert

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I use Goo Gone. Tear off as much of the label prior to soaking, some have a protective coating that protects the adhesive. Place a piece of paper towel to the sticky area and saturate towel with Goo Gone, let set for 15 minutes and wipe it off. Some are tougher than others.
 

rocket_troy

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One more thing that often works for me: CA accelerator. Spray some on, let is soak for a minute. Sometimes takes a couple of applications.

There are better adhesive solvents, but most of us usually have this sitting on the workbench.
A fellow flyer many moons ago told me that stuff was pretty nasty.... like toxic and carcinogenic? If true, it's probably not the sort of thing you'd want to use as a general purpose solvent.

TP
 

John Kemker

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Try vegetable oil. It's not a panacea, but it can loosen gummy residue on lots of things. You just have to figure out how to wash it off after removing the gunk.
 

Zman1961

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I second the use of Goo Gone. Sometimes the sticky glue remaining on the back of the sticker will work to pull off what's left on the plastic surface, if it is exposed on the plastic surface - glue to glue. The latter method generally doesn't work if all that is left on the plastic is remnants of the torn label.
 

jqavins

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Has anyone said vegetable oil? Obviously, the whole thing depends on what adhesive is used, but I've had success a couple of times soaking the lable with vegetable oil. It makes sense that a fat would react differently with some sorts of glue than the other solvents, so it is worth a shot when other things are failing.
 

John Kemker

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Has anyone said vegetable oil? Obviously, the whole thing depends on what adhesive is used, but I've had success a couple of times soaking the lable with vegetable oil. It makes sense that a fat would react differently with some sorts of glue than the other solvents, so it is worth a shot when other things are failing.
Try vegetable oil. It's not a panacea, but it can loosen gummy residue on lots of things. You just have to figure out how to wash it off after removing the gunk.
Ayup.
 

Rocketjunkie

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Most of the OTC pills come in polyethylene or polypropylene bottles. None of the solvents will affect these materials. Non oxygenated solvents like mineral spirits, toluene, or even propellant plasticizer work best. You will need to apply and wipe 2 or 3 times or the surface will still be sticky. Ketones like MEK or acetone work but requires a lot of rubbing.
 

BABAR

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Well, tried Goof Off, which is apparently acetone and xylene. Not really satisfied.

I will look and see of Goo Gone is the same stuff.

meanwhile, next hot day I will sit the bottle out on the driveway and let it heat up, see if that will work like a blow drier or heat gun.
image.jpg
 

Sandy H.

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I had to remove an unknown adhesive from a piece of wood covered in 'simulated vinyl' the other day. The adhesive was tough and thick. I tried my range of different chemicals, usually finding one that is the magic bullet that works with the particular adhesive. No-go this time.

Lacquer thinner and acetone were the closest, but not a real win. I ended up going with Goof Off and a slightly modified technique to eventually win. I would cover an area of about 3" x 6" in Goof Off, then with my index finger in a thick baggie (like small parts come in) I would rub the area for about a minute or two. This turned the adhesive into a gelatinous mess. I would then wipe it off with a well folded paper towel, scooping the goop off the edge as much as getting it on the towel. I repeated this for the whole surface and then did the whole process 2 more times. I finished off with Purple Power (409 on steroids, kind-of) and the surface was adhesive free after that.

Using the thick plastic baggie (vs nitrile glove - too easily broken with the pressure I was using) was helpful. Its also a good way to get rid of those small baggies. . .

Hope you find the magic bullet, though. Its always nice to find the wipe-on/wipe-off solution if possible.

Sandy.
 
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