Iron-on labels can be a great way of identifying garments or providing manufacturer information. However, there will be times when you want to remove them. To help you with this dilemma, we’ve gathered ways on how to remove iron-on labels from clothing without damaging them.
All About Iron-on Labels
What are iron-on labels?
Iron-on labels are a transfer solution that sticks to the fabric’s fibers due to heat applied by an iron. It adheres to the cloth without any need for sewing and comes out as if it’s part of the garment.
You can apply iron-on labels easily, even without prior experience. They are also very durable and can be used on various fabrics.
Where can I use iron-on labels?
For Labeling Belongings
If you have children closer to age, it would be best to label their clothes, bags, and shoes to prevent them from getting lost among all their stuff. It will also give them a sense of responsibility. When their things have their names on them, they will likely take good care of their valuables.
Labeling personal items such as towels, backpacks, and swimsuits are beneficial when you’re using them in public places such as the gym, swimming pools, or spas. You can quickly identify them once they get mixed up with other people’s things.
For Including Manufacturer Details
Iron-on labels allow designers and clothing manufacturers to include information about their brands. They can also include care details, material, and size. These labels can be a good alternative for sew-on ones since they are easier to apply and can last long.
For Adding a Personal Touch
You can also personalize your clothes by adding iron-on labels, including a name and identifying symbols such as a favorite flower or a cartoon character. It can make even the simplest garments special and unique.
Iron-on labels may have practical uses, but there may be times when you need to remove them. For example, when giving hand-me-downs, it would be best to remove the labels that have your kid’s name on them.
Some people also remove iron-on labels that have started to fade to make the garment look cleaner. In contrast, others want to remove the labels because it irritates their skin. Whatever your reasons are, you can easily remove them with the following simple hacks.
How to Remove Iron-on Labels Using Heat or Steam
- Ironing board or any heat-resistant surface
- A thin plank of plywood
- Steam iron or garment steamer
- Adhesive remover of rubbing alcohol
- Clean cloth
Method 1: Hairdryer
- Check the clothing’s care label to know if it can withstand high heat. Some fabrics like polyester can get damaged under high temperatures. Avoid this method if the label says the material can’t handle the heat.
- Place the garment on a flat surface such as an ironing board or a heat-resistant kitchen counter.
- Place the plywood or a towel inside the garment to prevent any damage to the fabric.
- Switch the hairdryer using the highest setting and aim it at the iron-on label.
- If you have no hairdryer, you may use a steam iron instead.
Method 2: Steam Iron
- Place a wet towel or clean cloth over the letters.
- Switch the iron to the highest setting and iron over the label.
Both methods aim to heat the iron-on label enough to be peeled easily.
- With the use of a sharp knife, gently scrape the label.
- Be careful when doing this step so as not to damage the garment. The application of heat will make this step as easy as possible.
- Moisten the cloth with adhesive remover or rubbing alcohol.
- Apply it on a hidden part of the fabric to test if it will damage the garment or not.
- If there is no reaction to the test, you may proceed with the next step.
- Rub the glue residue with the cloth wet with alcohol or solvent until the treated fabric comes out clean.
- Launder the garment in the washing machine using the settings stated on the care label.
- Unplug steam iron or hairdryer immediately after use.
- Wear rubber gloves before handling adhesive remover to protect your fingers from chemical reactions.
- Dispose of the used cloth properly. Please place it in a garbage bag before throwing it in the garbage bin.
- Protect your eyes and nose from solvent fumes by wearing goggles and a face mask.
How to Remove Iron-on Labels Using Special Solvent
- Vinyl letter removing solvent
- Cotton swab
- Old cup
- For this method, you’ll be needing a vinyl letter removing solvent. This solution is created especially for vinyl iron-on labels. You may purchase this online, at a hardware store, or a crafts shop.
- Test the solvent by dabbing a small amount of solvent on an inconspicuous spot of your garment. The test ensures that the solvent will not ruin or stain your clothing.
- Wait for two minutes before checking the result of your fabric test.
- If you observe no reaction, you may proceed with the next step.
- Toss the garment in the tumble dryer using high heat for a minute or two. The heat can help make the removal process more straightforward.
- Moisten a cotton swab with the solvent. Make sure that it’s not dripping wet. Before dipping, you may dip the cotton swab on the bottle or pour the solvent into an old cup.
- Spread the solvent on the front and back of the label using the moistened cotton swab. Ensure that both sides are damp with the solvent to make removal easier.
- Use a pair of tweezers to remove the iron-on label gently.
- If there are still remnants of the label, you may saturate the affected area with more solvent.
- If there is no more glue residue, wash the garment in the washing machine. It would be best to follow your garment’s care label
- Air-dry the garment outdoors. Avoid using the dryer since there still might be some residue of the flammable solvent.
- It would be best if you performed the procedure in a well-ventilated area. Vinyl label remover has pungent fumes which can irritate your nose.
- It will help if you wear rubber gloves to protect your hands from the solvent.
- Dispose of the cotton swabs properly. Please place them in a garbage bag before tossing them in the trash bin.
- If you used a cup to hold the solvent, wash it thoroughly and keep them in a safe place afterward. Never use it for drinking or storing food.
- Tightly close the lid of the solvent bottle and keep it in a safe place away from any heat source. Keep it also away from children’s reach.
How to Remove Iron-on Labels Using a Dry/ Flat Iron
- Dry or flat iron
- Adhesive remover or rubbing alcohol
- A piece of clean cloth
- Sharp knife or scissors
- Make sure the garment is iron-safe by checking the fabric care label. Use the required heat settings to avoid damaging your clothing.
- Set the iron to the recommended temperature.
- Place the iron inside the shirt, ensuring that the iron’s soleplate is directed at the label’s back.
- Stretch the shirt against the iron’s soleplate.
- When you feel that the garment is getting hot, remove the label using a knife or scissors. As the iron’s temperature rises, it will be easier to peel off the label.
- Peel the label carefully, starting at the corners and moving your way slowly until the end. Ensure that the soleplate is directed at the area you’re working on.
- Moisten a clean cloth with an adhesive remover of rubbing alcohol. Test the solvent in a hidden area of your garment to check if there will be any damage. If there is no damage or discoloration to your clothing, you may proceed to the next step.
- Apply more solvent using the same cloth and gently rub on the area with glue residue.
- If you have removed all leftover glue, you may toss the garment in the washing machine and launder using the instructions on the care label.
- Air-dry the clothing outdoors. Avoid using the heated dryer.
- Your hands will be very near the soleplate while you’re doing the procedure. Be careful not to touch the metal part since it will be scorching.
- Cover the solvent bottle immediately after use to avoid the fumes from evaporating.
- Use rubber gloves when handling the adhesive remover to avoid skin irritation.
- Remember to unplug the dry iron after using it. Never rest the iron soleplate down on any surface.
With the methods mentioned above, you wouldn’t have to wonder how to remove iron-on labels on clothing. The procedures are easy to follow with materials you can purchase at the hardware store or online. Please remember to practice safety precautions with any method that you choose.
Jessica Oliver is a fashion enthusiast with more than ten years of experience in the industry. She previously managed her own clothing store in New York before becoming a mother of three. With a passion for sustainability and a desire to share clothing care and recycling tips.