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May 5, 2008 07:45 AM

Really strange question!

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?

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

    4 Replies
      1. re: dolores

        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

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

          1. re: Gio

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

    1. 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.

      3 Replies
      1. re: grant.cook

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

        1. re: dolores

          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

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

          3 Replies
          1. re: Aimi

            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

              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

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

          2. try rubbing alcohol.

            if not, then acetone.

            1 Reply
            1. re: karmalaw

              Yup, when in doubt, acetone always works.

            2. "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

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

                It actually works ...




                1. re: ipsedixit

                  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

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

                    1. re: psb

                      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

                    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

                    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.