Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo



How to remove shipping labels from boxes

by: Chica

If you’re like me and did a lot of online shopping over the Christmas season, you’ve probably got lots of cardboard boxes sitting around. You might use them in the future to mail packages, or you might just be tossing them into the recycling bin or trash, but either way you probably don’t want your name and address to remain on the box for others to see.

You don’t need to painstakingly peel those labels away with your fingernails or mark them out with a black marker, though. I’ve got a quick and easy technique for removing the labels (and any other markings) from a cardboard box.

All you need is a pair of scissors. Open the scissors up and gently score the box around the label or markings that you want to remove.

How much pressure you apply will depend on what you’re going to use the box for:

  • If you want to use the box again for shipping, then the key here is to apply gentle pressure. You only want to lightly cut through the first, thin layer of cardboard. If you cut too deeply, you’ll compromise the integrity of the box and you won’t be able to use it again. Don’t use a razor blade here, because it will cut too deeply. Just a regular pair of scissors works best.
  • If the box is destined for the trash or recycling bin, you won’t need to worry as much about cutting deeply. The key here is speed. Cut fast and straight so that you can get your name and address off that box with minimal effort.

Once you’ve scored a line all the way around the label or marking, grab the corner of the area with your fingers and pull it back. The thin layer of cardboard will peel away and you’ll be left with a clean box.

Notice that I even removed the company name that was printed on the corner of the box with this technique. It works for more than just labels!

12 comments so far:

  • 1
    rackmanager 01/17/2009 at 6:57 pm

    actually, you just simply put the bigger label over to cover up all label that you do not use anymore.

  • 2
    Chica 01/18/2009 at 11:20 am

    Hi rackmanager. You’re right that you can cover an old label with a new one, but often my old boxes will have more than one label and the new label isn’t big enough to cover them all, so I have to remove some of them. :)

  • 3
    mike 01/18/2009 at 2:38 pm

    Thats a handy trick indeed.

    Similarly, if you want to get stickers or other labels off plastic boxes or tins for instance, using a standard blow dryer can produce amazing results. Warming up the sticker for around 20 – 30 seconds will make the adhesive less sticky, and often you can peel off a label cleanly off CD cases, cookie boxes or anything else with a smooth surface for that matter.

    Very handy for removing service stickers or company branding from old hardware for instance :)

  • 4
    phototristan 01/18/2009 at 3:36 pm
  • 5
    Bob 01/18/2009 at 4:30 pm

    Use a hair drier and the label peels off with no damage to the box.

  • 6
    Lyle Hensley 01/18/2009 at 4:36 pm

    Heat gun works better. Use a putty knife and start removing the label and slid the putty knife under and continue to remove the old labels. Use low heat and keep your finger out from in front of the heat gun. Works great been using it for years.

    “What is right is not always popular. What is popular is not always right”

    Lyle Hensley
    Enjoying Every Breath
    Retired US Army
    1957 – 1978

  • 7
    Chica 01/18/2009 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks everybody for the ideas about using heat to remove the labels. For cardboard boxes, though, we find that using scissors is a lot more convenient for us, because we always have them around :) Don’t forget that the cutting method works for markings on the box, too, such as the company logo.

    Thanks also to phototristan for making a video showing our technique. So helpful to our readers!

  • 8
    crazy serb 01/23/2009 at 1:00 am

    try burning the box, I’m sure it will get rid of those pesky stickers.

  • 9
    KeLlY B 12/19/2009 at 5:17 pm

    WOw and I have spent so much time trying to peel them off with my fingers.

  • 10
    Norma 05/11/2010 at 8:45 pm

    I have a lot of boxes to re-use and will first use this method. Thanks as it will save having to apply a new label over more then needed.

  • 11
    leigh the sewing diva 01/26/2011 at 5:43 am

    that is awesome!!!!! thanks

  • 12
    Jeff 03/24/2013 at 6:14 pm

    My big problem is plastic bags with plastic labels or paper labels with some gummy adhesive. I can’t get the label off the plastic, and have a small box full of the cutouts from these labels. They don’t shred – they gum up the shredder. I’ve thought about “melting” them out on the grill in tin foil, but not sure if that’s a good idea or not.

    Any ideas for these?

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