Why Your Labels Aren’t Sticking – And How to Fix It [Video]

Label adhesion issues can be pretty frustrating, especially when you don’t know what’s causing your custom labels to not stick properly. The good news is that there are steps you can take to ensure your label not only applies with ease, but also stays secure to the surface. 

Find out what causes labels to peel or fall off, and how to fix different adhesion problems to achieve a seamless application.

What Causes Labels to Not Stick?

There are a variety of reasons that can explain why your labels aren’t sticking, such as wrong label adhesive, temperature, and application environment. Before we delve into solutions for adhesion issues, let’s take a closer look at common situations that cause labels to not stick.

Unclean surface

Labels apply best to surfaces that are clean, dry, smooth, and flat. If your container has dirt, moisture, or oil, then it’ll be harder for your label adhesive to form a strong bond.

Textured surface

Along with cleanliness, texture can also affect your label’s application. A rough or bumpy surface makes it tricky for the label to fully adhere because of the crevices.

Incorrect adhesive

There are multiple label adhesives available like permanent, repositionable, removable, cold temp, food-safe, and more. Labels that have the wrong adhesive for their intended purpose will cause issues come application time.

Curved container

Labels stick best to flat surfaces because curves and contours can cause the label’s corners to lift up. Before placing an order, communicate to your label rep about your container’s unique shape so they can help you select the best label material, shape, and size.

Extreme temperature

Every label adhesive has a ‘service temperature range,’ which refers to the temperature range the adhesive can function after it’s been applied. An extremely cold or hot environment can cause the adhesive to crystallize or melt, prompting the label to unstick.

Ways to Fix Label Adhesion Issues

Now that you have a better understanding of what affects label adhesive performance, next you’ll learn how to fix labels that aren’t sticking properly. Follow these simple tips to get labels that both apply easily and stay on for the duration that you need. 

Clean the application surface

Wipe down the application surface so there’s nothing standing in the way of your label’s adhesive. Having a completely clean surface may not be always possible, but it’s crucial to keep it as free from dust, oil, and moisture as possible.

Use a stronger adhesive

While you can’t fix a rough surface, you can use a stronger adhesive to overcome adhesion issues. Ask your label printing company about adhesives with “high initial tack” so the label bonds to the surface quickly and achieves a long-lasting stick.

Select a flexible label stock

Label stocks are available in a variety of materials and thicknesses. Make sure to select a flexible stock, like squeezable film, for curved containers. Another great option is to use shrink sleeve labels that completely contour to a container with 360-degree graphics coverage.

Apply labels at room temperature

Apply your custom labels in an environment that isn’t extremely cold or hot, preferably at room temperature. If you need to apply labels below 40 °F, we recommend using freezer-grade labels. These specialty labels can be applied in temperatures as low as -60°F!  

Send us a sample container

A smart way to ensure your labels stick as they should is to send us a sample container so we can test different label stocks. Also, share important details with us, like application method and storage environment, to receive the best label recommendations.

Achieve a Professional Label Look

Labels that peel or fall off don’t send the right message to your customers. Enhance your brand’s image with custom labels that look professional throughout the product’s lifespan. By having the proper adhesive, stock, and application environment, the majority of label sticking issues are fixed.

Lastly, partnering with an experienced label company that will work closely with you to achieve the exact label look you want. Call us today at 1-800-475-2235 to explore custom label solutions for your business!

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in July 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.