Removing Excess Labels

I would like to know what the membership does tp remove excess labels on vintage ammo boxes. What methods are used so the color remains and excess glue is removed.
Thank you for your knowledge.

CAREFULLY use Zippo-Ronson lighter fuel:

Away from open flame, if possible outdoors, use a cotton swab (Q-tip). Soak the swab with lighter fuel then place the swab on the sticker/label you want to remove. Soak the sticker with fuel. In short order the sticker should loosen allowing you to grab the sticker with a pair of of tweezers. If the center area of sticker is still attached, hold the edge of sticker up with the tweezers and liberaly apply more fuel with the swab until the sticker comes loose. Allow the spot underneath the sticker to dry for 30 minutes.
The offending sticker is now gone with underlying label and box in good shape!


I start with a camel hair brush and warm water with a touch of dish washing detergent. Working slowly and carefully works on many labels. Sometimes I have had to resort to steam but that has to be done carefully because it will sometimes fade lables, particularly if used aggressively.

I agree that the white label on your box, but I’d recommend against removing the tax stamp since it provides some history on the box.

Cheers and good luck,

PS: BD, thanks for the alternate approach. I will try it when I have a problem label.

Thank you, Brian and Lew,
Now a trip to Walmart for supplies.

I have found that using a hair-dryer or heat gun is the best way for stickers, and then only if there is any pesky residue left behind do I resort to chemicals on Q-tips, or anything like that. Usually though, I can just use a small piece of duct tape, which I just dab repeatedly over the sticky residue, and it is grabbed up by the tape, and leaves the box label unharmed.

found in most automotive repair supplies businesses, is a tin of 3M General Purpose Adhesive Cleaner. The product # is: 08984. <-important
Great stuff, doesn’t discolor the ink I either pour a little on a rag & use the rag to soak the label or just pour a little onto the box to soak the label (it comes with a pouring spout so it’s easy to control the volume & area coverage) & it will just lift right off. It won’t remove thee discolor that adhesive imparted to the box, but the label is gone & the rest of the box is still as it was. Also works on metallic cartridges.

There is also a liquid product by Elmer’s called “Sticky Out” that comes in a 4 oz. clear plastic bottle. It removes: “Crayons, labels, most glues, stickers, tar, oil paint, rubber cement, and more!” I use it to remove stick-on labels and clear Scotch tape that so many people like to use on cartridges. It has no effect on the patina on a brass cartridge case and a little goes a long way. For a change, the product is made in Canada, not China.

In my experience, Valspar’s “Goof Off” liquid works best to remove inked-on markings like from a Sharpie pen, and it also doesn’t seem to have any effect on patina.

I have almost always done as DK says, with a hair dryer, but sometimes it does take quite a bit of time and even more patience.

The 3M Pete uses, and the Elmers Mel uses both sound interesting. I will see if I can find them tomorrow, and give it a go.

William, I would suggest not to remove that 10 cent stamp, it looks like it might be a "Tax Stamp’ and may impart a bit of added historic value to the box.
I cannot read it, what is in the circle to the left? Very cool!

BTW- the best thing I have found for "permanant’ ink markers is used in the Photo industry to clean old film emulsion, but it smells like heck, “Pec-12”.
I have never used it on cartridges… yet.

I thank you gentleman for your timely replies. I look forward to trying all suggested methods.
I did try Brian’s method, and it looks like I will have learn patience. Can’t believe I will now have to purchase a hair dryer.

BTW, I am neutral on the tax stamp. The great state of TN requires they be added to ammo for sale in the state, even if you are out of state but setting up at a gun show. I, personally, don’t see the provenance. The image in the label is the seal of Dept of Agriculture for TN.

Medical alcohol swabs also work well. It helps if you get them through healthcare. They usually packed 2 swabs per 1 needle, so I built up a fair stash of them :)

try the Dupont adhesive remover, no heat needed, it dissolves the glue, doesn’t stain the paper even if you over soak it & dries quickly,

probably cheaper than a hair dryer has less heat & doesn’t need electricity.

pistoled, [quote=“pistoled, post:10, topic:30792”]
The image in the label is the seal of Dept of Agriculture for TN.

I could not see the printing, and thought it might have been a foreign exporter or importer stamp that could proove origin or date… like some of the foreign or US State Dept tax stamps on items brought in to the US. I have seen some interesting, and old, tax stamps. It is a good thing I do not collect those, also!

Is the stamp supplied by the state? It would be nice if sellers could print their own on ‘less-sticky’ labels. There is a guy her in Virginia that has great lables that you can press on, as hard as you can, and after a year they still peel off cleanly and easily.