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Removing Label Adhesive from Acrylic Boxes...

Posted by Steve Sorrell  
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Steve Sorrell December 31, 2011 12:46PM
Some time back in a discussion on labels in this Micromount Forum, I posed a question about removing label adhesive from acrylic boxes. This is something that I have had problems with for a long time, particularly with wanting to reuse boxes from an old collection that had suffered from this.

A number of options were put forward, none of which worked for me. I had tried hot soapy water, eucalyptus oil, orange-based oil, mineral turps, you name it.

I read a post from Tim Jokela Jr in another forum yesterday about removing price tag residue from arcylic stands. Tim proposed a bit of skin/hair oil, or light lubricant.

I grabbed some virgin olive oil and tried it on a range of different boxes, and it works a treat. So I thought it would be worthwhile posting as a specific topic.

Now all I have to do is find the time to clean up all the old ones that I have.

Thanks Tim!
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Timothy Greenland December 31, 2011 02:07PM
I have had success with natural plant based turpentine - NOT the mineral substitute, which is usually mostly benzene. I imbibe a bit of clean cloth or kitchen wipe tissue with a little turps and wipe gently for the minimum time to remove the stickum. One can get white clouding with too prolonged treatment. I usually rinse with soapy water straight away. Incidentally, this is also useful for removing price tag residues from many shop-bought plastic (or other) items...

Cheers

Tim
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John A. Jaszczak December 31, 2011 02:23PM
I have tried John Betts' recommendation of Weiman Wax Away. It works very well on old adhesive as well
as removing old oily mounting tac. It seems to be a light petroleum distilate, but doesn't say what it is on the bottle; however,
it is rather mild to pleasant smelling. So far it also has not etched any of the plastic boxes I've cleaned with it.
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Donald Peck December 31, 2011 03:06PM
I have had good luck with mineral spirits (paint thinner).
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Michael B. Moore December 31, 2011 03:18PM
try WD-40. spray label, gently scrap away paper label, spray again, then just wipe away adhesive with rag or paper towel. works for me
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Paul Brandes December 31, 2011 04:22PM
I have found that Goo Gone works very well after I remove as much of the label off as possible. It has the same adhesive removing ability as WD-40, but leaves a rather pleasant citrus odour.
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Colin Robinson December 31, 2011 04:40PM
Thanks for that Steve. I had a pile of acrylic box tops which were unusable due to label adhesive so I gave them a quick rub with olive oil on a soft cloth and they're as good as new.
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Steve Sorrell January 01, 2012 12:05AM
No problem Colin. It's by far the best solution that I have found. Now I have to go and get my own bottle of olive oil, otherwise the boss won't be so happy!

Regards
Steve
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Rolf Brandt January 01, 2012 09:54AM
Hi all,
Another tip on this subject. Once in France I bought labels which do not leave a residue behind, even after years of sticking it to plastic boxes. I never found them somewhere else. Any tips from our French members? Regards Rolf
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Ron Layton January 02, 2012 05:54PM
I use Avery 5424 labels and they don't stick as tightly as the older ones. I have used naphtha (Coleman camp fuel) on some micro box's that most of the label has been removed from. There was no damage or cloudiness to the box's when I was done. I've done this to both euro box's and the hinged micro box's that David Shannon used to sell. The only thing with naphtha is the extreme flammability and the smell. Best done outside using a very minor amount at a time. I wipe the label area with a paper towel soaked in naphtha and then a dry clean paper towel to remove any residue. This is also known as spirits of naphtha or naphthalene.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/03/2012 01:22AM by Ron Layton.
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Luca Baralis May 18, 2012 12:39PM
Well, I've tried as proposed by Steve Sorrel and it works on the most old label, however I used a less noble mais oil....

Luca Baralis
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Clifford Trebilcock September 03, 2012 01:25AM
Hi Steve,

I have used and re-used hundreds of acrylic boxes over the years and happened to stumble onto an odd material that seems to work well for removing remains of adhesive and glue from acrylic boxes. Just a tiny bit of peanut butter on a bit of paper towel. Rub with your finger tip,or finger nail if really stubborn adhesive. then wipe with clean bit of paper towel to finish. Also seems to improve surface luster of boxes to like new. Sounds crazy,but give it a try sometime. Poor man's cleaner.Cheers!

Cliff
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Jake Harper September 03, 2012 04:00AM
I have used Alcohol successfully for years - the adhesive breaks down quick and the boxes are sterilized at the same time.

All knowledge is vain, except where there be work
All work is empty except where there be love
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Luca Baralis September 03, 2012 12:46PM
I suppose there are a variety of different glues: in my experience alcohol (commercial methyl) doesn't work at all, oil works often, but not always and then you have to wash the box.
A friend of mine use a light petroleum derivate (I don't remember which one) and he says it works perfectly.

Luca Baralis
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José Antonio Soldevilla Gonzalez December 02, 2012 09:31AM
Try with a fly killer spray. It is a incredible solvent for price labels...I feel that for mineral labels too winking smiley
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Harold Moritz December 02, 2012 02:20PM
I cant attest to the other methods, they sound good, but I've been using hexane. Dissolves it instantly, leaves the surface sooooper clean and dries right up. Not easy to get, mine was surplussed from a lab I used to contract with.
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Christopher Spratt February 16, 2013 09:21PM
Vegetable oils also work.
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Reiner Mielke February 18, 2013 02:22PM
A vegetable oil is probably the best thing just from a health point of view. Who knows what the long term effects of petroleum based solvents will have, most are carcinogenic.
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Reiner Mielke February 18, 2013 03:28PM
Just thought you might like to know:
open | download - Hexane.JPG (82.3 KB)
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Donald Peck February 18, 2013 04:20PM
I agree that using "non-toxic" (there is no such thing) products is better than using more toxic ones. But one has to keep in mind the dose. Those women in China were exposed to large amounts of hexane for long periods of time. Removing a few labels from plastic boxes is not the same. However, I still would not use the hexane, nor benzene if I could get it, nor gasoline, given better alternatives. The axiom for the toxicologist is that "The dose makes the poison".
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Jame A. Riley February 18, 2013 05:35PM
I've been a collector all my life as well as an arts professional and have encountered many issues with old labels, tape, stickers, prices, grease pencil, etc. The BEST thing I have found in doing all this for 35 years is Bestine Rubber Cement thinner. Available at any art supply store & most craft stores. Not sure of its chemistry, but fairly benign with a high volatility so it is gone very quickly. Have never seen any ill effects from it. Many other solvents can damage older acrylic boxes & stands by reacting with the plastic and clouding them or etching them. I've never had that problem with this.

Also a good solvent for magic marker, grease pencil, years of dirt & grunge build-up. Just a bit on a soft paper towel. Once clear, it is gone and no residue. I've used it to remove sale tags & 30-yr old scotch tape residue. I've found it safe enough to use on almost anything and will not hesitate to try it on the dust jacket of a $1000 book, a 70-yr old vintage comic, any vintage packaging, and plastics are a piece of cake. I've even used it on the actual crystals & fossils themselves (always test first, just in case you find a rare item that might be affected.
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Maggie Wilson February 18, 2013 05:47PM
http://papercement.com/msds_bestine.pdf

MSDS for Bestine thinner attached... for inquiring minds
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Marcus Lieberman May 27, 2013 09:45PM
I have also used GooGone with total satisfaction.
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Marcus Lieberman May 27, 2013 09:49PM
I use GooGone with total satisfaction with acrylic boxes.
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Libby July 21, 2014 10:00AM
Absolutely brilliant advice on using extra virgin olive oil. using it to remove the graphic which has transferred from an old lightbox onto the perspex - thanks so much!
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saaf December 23, 2014 04:58PM
fly killer spray does not work
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