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Labeling plastic containers for freezer storage

rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 08:58 AM


What do you use to label plastic containers in your freezer, to keep track of what and especially when you froze the contents? I've had trouble with felt pens (Sharpies and similar) and with adhesive file labels. Suggestions?

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    Sushiqueen36 RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 08:59 AM

    Generally use a Sharpie but my mother always used (and uses) a grease pencil.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Sushiqueen36
      rjbh20 RE: Sushiqueen36 Mar 8, 2014 09:00 AM

      Sharpie on freezer tape

      1. re: rjbh20
        breadchick RE: rjbh20 Mar 9, 2014 07:17 AM

        Same here. I freeze so much stock and the tape stays on with no problem, and removes easily.

      2. re: Sushiqueen36
        c oliver RE: Sushiqueen36 Mar 8, 2014 09:18 AM

        I use a Sharpie and never have a problem scrubbing off the writing later.

      3. foodieX2 RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 09:01 AM

        masking tape and a sharpie. Old fashion masking tape seems to come off the best but even if it doesn't another piece over old holds up well too. Its cheap too!

        3 Replies
        1. re: foodieX2
          autumm RE: foodieX2 Mar 8, 2014 01:54 PM

          Exactly what I do.

          And I can use a longer piece if I want to indicate something is vegan or gluten free so I know later

          1. re: autumm
            DGresh RE: autumm Mar 11, 2014 06:35 AM

            Me three. I find that after a trip through the dishwasher the writing is usually washed off enough that I can reuse the tape and write something else!

          2. re: foodieX2
            monavano RE: foodieX2 Mar 8, 2014 01:56 PM

            The cheaper the better for labeling. Don't go for any tape that's for painting/has a glossy, stucco-like surface.

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            sedimental RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 09:35 AM

            I freeze in glass most of the time. Use masking tape and sharpie.
            When I use zip locks for dry items, I have started to write on a piece if paper and stick it inside the package. I can write notes on the paper too. It lets me reuse the zip locks neatly :)

            1. k
              kseiverd RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 09:40 AM

              Picked up 3/4 rolls of neon colored masking tape (about 1/2" wide) for next to nothing at a yard sale. Sharpie works well and tape peels off easily. That way don't end up with containers with previouscontents crossed out on actual container lids.

              1. r
                rdt01 RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 09:54 AM

                Many thanks to all. I guess I wrongly assumed that if file labels wouldn't stick, then neither would masking tape.

                But I could never get a Sharpie or grease pencil to write or remain on our plastic containers. Mysteries never cease.

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                  Liz K RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 10:10 AM

                  Regular masking tape comes unstuck for me,,,I use freezer tape, which looks the same but must have a different adhesive,

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Liz K
                    rdt01 RE: Liz K Mar 8, 2014 10:16 AM

                    Where is freezer tape sold?

                    1. re: rdt01
                      Ttrockwood RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 01:57 PM


                      1. re: rdt01
                        Liz K RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 02:39 PM

                        I find it in my grocery store, don't know if that is true of most.

                        1. re: Liz K
                          sunshine842 RE: Liz K Mar 9, 2014 07:48 AM

                          yes - it's usually with the plastic wrap/foil/etc. where I shop.

                          The adhesive is cold-resistant, so you don't end up with frozen, petrified labels piled up at the bottom of your freezer, as can happen with regular masking tape.

                        2. re: rdt01
                          tanuki soup RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 08:09 PM

                          Results of search for "freezer tape" at Amazon:


                      2. j
                        janniecooks RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 11:55 AM

                        I just write on a scrap of paper or a post-it note and tape the note with transparent scotch tape to the plastic lid, taping over the hand-written note. Never had any fail to adhere, even after a year in the freezer.

                        1. greygarious RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 01:38 PM

                          Tapes and labels adhere well if the lid is oil-free, dry, and NOT cold. You need to apply them when you fill the container, not after it's been chilled. Freezer tape is sold in hardware stores and in the houseware aisle of supermarkets.

                          Sharpies and magic markers also need to be used when the plastic is clean, dry, and not cold. Scrubbing is not needed to remove writing if you just swipe the plastic with a cloth or paper towel that's been dampened with rubbing alcohol, which instantly dissolves and removes the ink.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: greygarious
                            rdt01 RE: greygarious Mar 8, 2014 01:53 PM

                            Thank you, Jannie and Grey.

                            Great info from everybody, and I appreciate it all.

                            1. re: greygarious
                              ellabee RE: greygarious Mar 8, 2014 04:25 PM

                              Agree with all these points. One addition:

                              Masking tape will stay on fine if applied to clean, dry, not-cold rigid containers or ziplocs that will freeze flat.

                              But for bags that will have potentially mobile 'lumps', freezer tape or writing right on the bag works better.

                              1. re: ellabee
                                sedimental RE: ellabee Mar 8, 2014 05:24 PM

                                I use painters tape (green and blue rolls). Never a problem if put on clean and dry containers.

                                1. re: sedimental
                                  meatn3 RE: sedimental Mar 14, 2014 09:09 PM

                                  I use painters tape too with a sharpie. Works great!

                            2. monavano RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 01:49 PM

                              I use cheap masking tape- always have it in my kitchen drawer. HIgher end masking tape doesn't hold ink that well.

                              1. d
                                DBinNOLA RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 02:03 PM

                                I use a sharpie, to remove I use a small drop of cooking oil on a paper towel and rub the writing off.

                                1. d
                                  deekaa RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 02:35 PM

                                  I have recently started using the Listo brand of grease pencils. They will write on plastic containers just out of the freezer as well as wet plastic containers. The writing stays on even through the dishwasher but easily rubs off with a paper napkin. These are not peel off grease pencils which usually broke for me. They are like automatic pencils. Ordered a box of 12 black and liked them so much that I later ordered a box of 12 multi color. Am finding other uses for them around the house as well. Refills are available as well but I think that I may already have a life time supply.

                                  1. team_cake RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 02:40 PM

                                    For containers, I use a P-Touch label machine. I've never had a problem with the label adhesive in the freezer (stays on fine), yet you can peel it off with your fingernail under an edge easy enough when you want to remove it later.

                                    Everything else that is foil-wrapped and/or wrapped in freezer bags get the Sharpie.

                                    1. j
                                      jjjrfoodie RE: rdt01 Mar 8, 2014 04:53 PM

                                      I use black sharpie on 3M blue removeable painters tape from your local hardware store tape or on 3M neon green or yellow body shop painters tape found at any automotive store.

                                      Sticks awesome to both containers and bags but does not leave a residue or adhesive like stickers do. Temp does not effect it.

                                      The 3M stuff is so good I can pull off and stick to the face of the fridge once lableled and the dish gets eaten and then reuse when throwing the next batch back into the freezer weeks later.

                                      1. greygarious RE: rdt01 Mar 9, 2014 12:04 PM

                                        I switched from freezer tape to painting tape because IME the freezer tape strips into thin tails as I tear it off the roll unless I pull extremely slowly and carefully, and the blue tape tears cleanly. It adheres to and peels from the containers very well.

                                        1. fldhkybnva RE: rdt01 Mar 9, 2014 02:09 PM

                                          Sharpie and masking or duct tape

                                          1. q
                                            Querencia RE: rdt01 Mar 10, 2014 07:07 PM

                                            I use special labels that hold up at cold temperatures and don't come unstuck. They come on a roll and I order them from Walter Drake. Have used them for years. Very reliable.

                                            1. CindyJ RE: rdt01 Mar 11, 2014 01:44 PM

                                              I write with a Sharpie on masking tape. I've never had a problem with the tape coming off.

                                              1. KarenDW RE: rdt01 Mar 11, 2014 10:12 PM

                                                Either paper labels attached to containers with clear packing tape or magic tape
                                                sharpie branded permanent markers on colored masking tape.
                                                for stocks/other liquids... I write directly onto the ziploc bag
                                                Definely ensure that the container is clean, dry and at room temp.

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