Permanent labels or removable labels?

Top 6 questions and answers about label adhesive

If you have ever ruined a manicure trying to remove permanent labels or stickers (guilty as charged!) or if you've experienced removable labels coming off when putting containers in the freezer (so annoying!), you probably realised that choosing the right adhesive for your labels is important.

In this article, we will answer the top 6 questions about adhesives, so that you can make the best decision when it comes to custom labels:

removable label blog

What is an adhesive?

Let’s start with the basics: what is an adhesive? In simple words, it is a gluey substance that we put at the back of paper or plastic materials to transform them into labels that you can stick on boxes and containers.

We use a pressure-sensitive adhesive that consists of water-based acrylic… sorry, we probably got too technical there: it just means that they don’t need any solvent, water or heat to stick, you just apply them and voilà!

Permanent labels versus removable labels: what’s the difference?

Labels with permanent adhesive will stick to your container (almost) forever. If you tried to remove permanent labels from glass jars and bottles, your nails probably still remember how hard you had to scratch the adhesive from the containers! We will share a few tips later in this article.

Labels with removable adhesive can be removed easily without leaving any residue and without damaging containers: they are perfect for temporary use such as on reusable or returnable containers, or for price and promotion labels. They are more complex to produce than permanent labels so they are slightly more expensive.


What labels are removable?

At Avery, we have a selection of removable labels to suit your needs. If you are looking for removable paper labels, you can choose between blank labels to print yourself or custom-printed removable labels. If you need your labels to be waterproof, our print service offers removable plastic labels and removable clear labels.

Label being removed off of bottle
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Removable label on coffee bag
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Perfume bottle with removable lable
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Clear removable label on vase
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Permanent labels or removable labels: how to choose?

  • Are your labels for temporary use only? For temporary usage such as price labels, promotion labels or instruction labels, we recommend removable labels. Your customers would be frustrated if they have some adhesive residue on their brand new vase once they remove the price tag!
  • Will your labels be outdoors, exposed to rain or extreme temperature? Then choose permanent labels, they will definitely last longer. Our most resistant custom-printed labels and our heavy duty blank labels have a permanent adhesive to resist anything.
  • Will your labels often be in contact with cleaning products? All our plastic labels resist detergents, but permanent plastic labels will resist even more.
  • Do your labels need to be freezer safe? You will need permanent plastic labels that resist up to -40°C. Our removable plastic labels only resist up to -10°C and a freezer temperature is usually around -18°C.
  • Are your containers reusable or even returnable? Prefer removable paper labels or removable plastic labels that can easily be removed.

How do I remove permanent labels?

Permanent labels are usually hard to remove, but here are a few tips that can make your life much easier:

Hot water removes labels

Submerge your items in hot water for at least an hour or even overnight for extra stubborn label glue.

Nail polish remover to remove labels

Apply it with a cotton ball, wait 15 minutes then peel the label and remove the adhesive with a sponge.

Hairdryer to remove labels

Turn your hairdryer on to high heat and run it back and forth over the label for 30 seconds to melt the glue.

Label remover to remove labels

As a last resort, you can buy a specialized label remover spray online.

Label being removed

Can you reposition removable labels?

Removable labels are designed to be removed without leaving residues, not to be repositioned.

If you just applied your removable label but are not satisfied, you may be able to remove it very carefully and reposition it as you wish. However, we can’t guarantee that it will be in good shape. Have a look at our guide on how to apply labels.

If you wait for some time, you will be able to remove the label but it won’t stick onto a new surface anymore.