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Really strange question!

r
randyjl May 5, 2008 07:45 AM

I have some great sorbet containers that would be awesome to reuse over and over. Does anyone know how to remove the screened label off of it?

  1. r
    randyjl Jun 7, 2008 06:16 AM

    Fingernail polish remover worked great!!! I now have some great "new" plastic containers!

    1. Scargod May 19, 2008 01:35 PM

      On the bottom will be a code, by a triangle, for the type of plastic it is . Most translucent plastics for food are "PP". If they are clear then they are almost all PETE.
      PP, or polypropylene, will withstand about anything. They are likely pad printed with a special ink that minutely etches into the surface because inks or paints will not normally attack PP or stick to it.
      Try fingernail polish remover (acetone) or paint stripper. Neither should attack PP. You may never get rid of a ghost of the lettering. If this is the case, perhaps you can print a stick-on label and cover the area.

      1. thew May 7, 2008 06:45 PM

        i have a strange question in response

        why do u need to remove it?

        5 Replies
        1. re: thew
          r
          randyjl May 18, 2008 05:58 PM

          I want to use them for Christmas gifts of food that I make!

          1. re: randyjl
            thew May 18, 2008 06:07 PM

            another way to go then would be to get some acrylic paint from an art supply store, and customize each container

            1. re: randyjl
              Caroline1 May 18, 2008 09:58 PM

              For gifts, I'd be prone to buy new containers. But anyway, if you've peeled off the label or need to get the sticky stuff off, use hair spray. Spray some on directly, then use a cloth or paper towel to rub it off. Hair spray is a miracle cleaner... Gets ball point pen out of the ultrasuede on my breakfast room chairs when my grandson gets creative. It will remove lipstick. All kinds of things that nothing else will touch. I keep a bottle of hair spray under my kitchen sink right next to the 409.

              1. re: Caroline1
                c
                cimui May 18, 2008 10:18 PM

                i wonder why that quality of hairspray frightens me a bit...

                1. re: cimui
                  Caroline1 May 19, 2008 04:38 AM

                  It isn't just "that" quality of hairspray. It's ALL hairsprays and styling spritzes. My guess is it's something about the alcohol to promote quick drying and the fixatives that hold hair in place that make it work as a cleaner.

          2. PaulaT May 7, 2008 11:26 AM

            Since you want to reuse why not use one of those peel off labels to cover the screened label? I am assuming that you will put different things at different times.

            1. b
              Big Bunny May 6, 2008 10:03 AM

              If the containers are really made to last, they might be more valuable with the labels some day.

              BB

              1. w
                wayne keyser May 5, 2008 08:29 PM

                Just leave the labels alone. I have a few similar-style coleslaw and potato-salad containers that have been with me for 25 years.

                1. cayjohan May 5, 2008 06:23 PM

                  Acetone or Bestine or typewriter platen cleaner?

                  Um, given some of the alternatives, would it be a great hardship to just leave the printing where it is? Only the inside of your fridge will see it.

                  Cay

                  1. hill food May 5, 2008 02:48 PM

                    there is also a product called Bestine that will strip just about anything.

                    short of that, see if the office supply store still sells typewriter platen cleaner (ha! how 20th c.?) that will send you flying - don't tell the paint-huffing crowd about it, but it's some seriously bad stuff.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: hill food
                      Scargod May 19, 2008 01:18 PM

                      This is not true about Bestine. It is very fast drying and is one of the few things that you can use on paint finishes and plastics that will not damage them, from a brief wiping. Used to be extremely flammable but they reformulated it so it is less so.

                    2. f
                      FrankJBN May 5, 2008 12:20 PM

                      "Rubbing alcohol should dissolve the painted label"

                      "try rubbing alcohol"

                      Since when does rubbing alcohol dissolve paint?

                      A good rule of thumb is that substances made to be used on human skin will not remove paint.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: FrankJBN
                        ipsedixit May 5, 2008 02:24 PM

                        Um ... have you ever actually tried using rubbing alcohol to remove paint?

                        It actually works ...

                        http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P2-8336061.html

                        http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf955587.ti...

                        etc.

                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          MikeG May 6, 2008 08:28 AM

                          Definitely agree about alcohol and all sorts of paints and inks - and human skin is far more impervious to most chemicals than common paints, varnishes, etc.

                          But while alcohol will take off all kinds of stuff (including the "white" lettering on plastic baggies) it probably won't be completely effective for screened on labels on containers designed to hold food. And of course steel wool will leave an ugly surface or one that grabs onto dirt like a magnet in the scratches.

                          For solvent-based materials, naphtha is probably the cheapest thing, a few dollars for a quart at a hardware store and takes a wide of range of materials without even "hazing" plastic surfaces. Acetone in particular is likely to leave a "matte" finish to any shiny or clear plastic...

                          1. re: MikeG
                            psb May 6, 2008 01:24 PM

                            >Acetone in particular is likely to leave a "matte" finish ...
                            >
                            how about Hydrofluoric Acid

                            1. re: psb
                              MikeG May 7, 2008 12:56 PM

                              I'd be surprised if "ordinary citizens" can even buy it these days - at least not without 5 forms of ID and complete biometric scanning - but otherwise I don't know. I know it doesn't eat away at plastic the way it does glass, but I don't know if it leaves "most" plastics completely pristine or for that matter, whether it's even particularly good at removing ink/paint (since it doesn't seem to affect hydrocarbon-based plastics, my very sketchy guess would be no.) Naphtha, on the other hand, works fairly well in my experience, though I admit I use it more to remove adhesive residue than ink/paint. And it does that well/safely on glass as well as plastic. ;)

                          2. re: ipsedixit
                            f
                            FrankJBN May 6, 2008 08:46 AM

                            Yes I have.

                            no it doesn't.;

                            The links you cite do not indicate that it works.

                            The 'encyclopedia' article is about ink, not paint.

                            The thrifty fun contains both comments that deny that it works and some that state that it does. Among those that claim it does work, rubbing alcohol is often used in conjunction with other solvents.

                            Let me return the favor - have you actually tried it? What paint did you remove from what surface?

                          3. re: FrankJBN
                            karmalaw May 7, 2008 11:53 AM

                            rubbing alcohol removes many types of inks... and ink could very well be what is used on the screenprinted design.

                            I learned that as a teenager.. and much to my benefit I once walked into a store and saw a lovely handbag that someone had marked up with a red pen. It was marked down, but I was able to negotiate a much better markdown ("look! it's ruined! But I am willing to take it home and try and restore it") and I walked out. It took me less than 5 minutes at home with the rubbing alcohol and some cotton balls to revive that handbag.

                            meanwhile, it's not like the bottle of rubbing alcohol is going to break the bank -- it comes in very handy for cleaning things around an office or home office -- including telephones (look! nice and shiny!) and anything else someone might have marked up with a pen or pencil.

                            Ditto with the acetone.

                            No reason not to try with each and see which works best.. unless you're being held to a budget of under $1.00 for the entire project.

                          4. karmalaw May 5, 2008 12:12 PM

                            try rubbing alcohol.

                            if not, then acetone.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: karmalaw
                              ipsedixit May 5, 2008 12:15 PM

                              Yup, when in doubt, acetone always works.

                            2. Aimi May 5, 2008 11:02 AM

                              Rubbing alcohol should dissolve the painted label.
                              Steel wool or sanding might rub holes in the container.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: Aimi
                                r
                                randyjl May 5, 2008 11:34 AM

                                These are great sturdy plastic containers with tight screw on lids. The labels are not peel off but screened on the clear plastic.

                                1. re: randyjl
                                  danhole May 5, 2008 11:43 AM

                                  I had a bunch of great jars that had silk screening on them, and I got it off with nail polish remover. Just be very careful and test in a spot to make sure you don't mar the surface. I got that tip from a silk screen printer I knew.

                                  1. re: danhole
                                    Aimi May 7, 2008 08:35 AM

                                    Oh, yes. I forgot about that one. Acetone is much better than rubbing alcohol.

                              2. g
                                grant.cook May 5, 2008 09:32 AM

                                Maybe a citrus-based cleaner..

                                Be careful - food packaging isn't built like re-useable storage containers - its designed to hold what's in it for a reasonable self life.

                                http://web.aces.uiuc.edu/vista/pdf_pu...

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: grant.cook
                                  d
                                  dolores May 5, 2008 09:35 AM

                                  You must meet my mother, who uses her Polly-O ricotta containers for years and years and years!

                                  1. re: dolores
                                    MMRuth May 5, 2008 09:38 AM

                                    Yes - many in my family as well. However, I've read the same thing as grant.cook refers to about using that sort of container, or deli takeout containers, to store food, and I don't do it anymore. I've bought various square and rectangular stackable storage containers that I like b/c (a) they are glass and I can see what is in them and (b) they stack well and take up less room in the fridge.

                                    1. re: dolores
                                      g
                                      grant.cook May 5, 2008 12:15 PM

                                      Did she use it for ricotta? One of the risks seems to be cross-flavoring or storing something in a material that it wasn't originally meant for, and the other is exposing it to a heat that it wasn't meant to handle, like in the microwave - many containers aren't exposed to a lot of heat during processing. I'd at least want to make sure it could handle the heat of a dishwasher - hot wash cycles can get up to 75 degC plus the unknown of what the detergent might do to the plastic.

                                  2. Gio May 5, 2008 08:15 AM

                                    Not knowing what the containers are made of, I'll suggest wet sanding....

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Gio
                                      d
                                      dolores May 5, 2008 08:46 AM

                                      Steel wool?

                                      1. re: dolores
                                        b
                                        brendastarlet May 5, 2008 08:50 AM

                                        If they are plastic, try covering the label with Ivory liquid or a similar dishsoap. Give it a couple of minutes, and try peeling it off.

                                        1. re: brendastarlet
                                          Gio May 5, 2008 09:23 AM

                                          I was thinking the labels may be silk screened directly onto the container, not on a paper label.

                                          1. re: Gio
                                            d
                                            dolores May 5, 2008 09:34 AM

                                            Yes, hence the steel wool. I 'think' I've taken similar labels off plastic containers with steel wool.

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