This article will review these basic label storage guidelines and best practices to help you keep your labels in peak condition:
- 1. Use the original packaging
- 2. Store in a dry area
- 3. Keep the temperature consistent
- 4. Avoid dust
- 5. Prevent light exposure
- 6. Try an opaque container
6 Top Label Storage Tips
The optimal environment for storing labels is a dark, dry place at 72° F with 50% relative humidity. If stored in their original packaging under these conditions, many self-adhesive labels are guaranteed a one-year shelf life. Some can last even longer.
But not everyone can maintain proper label storage conditions, so here are some tips to help keep your labels safe:
1. Use the Original Packaging
Keeping your products in the original label packaging makes all the other tips easier. The packaging helps keep out dust, moisture and light, preventing surface and adhesive degradation.
2. Store in a Dry Area
Moisture and liquids are true enemies of self-adhesive labels. Damp conditions can damage even waterproof labels by reducing their ability to adhere. Moisture also can irreversibly ruin paper labels.
Chemicals and solvents can damage labels as well, so take care to store labels away from these materials.
3. Keep the Temperature Consistent
Temperature is among the four factors that affect a label's ability to adhere. The others are the length of time the label has been in place, the adhesive's strength and surface characteristics.
Fluctuations in temperature, whether on the high or low side, can degrade the adhesive. Extreme temperatures are the most frequent cause of adhesive degradation. They can hurt a label's ability to adhere or even start the adhesion process, rendering the labels useless.
Excessively high temperatures also create an issue with paper labels, particularly paper laser labels. High temperatures reduce the labels' moisture levels, which are needed for the labels to print correctly. Once printed, the toner on dried-out laser labels can crack and flake off.
For proper label storage, you also need to consider the sources of temperature fluctuations. Printers and computers can generate a lot of heat, so it's best not to store labels near them. Radiators and space heaters are other potential sources of extreme heat that you should be aware of. Likewise, air conditioning can create temperatures that are too cool, so you'll want to avoid placing labels directly under vents.
4. Avoid Dust
Dust causes particular problems for labels that run on applicators or thermal printers. These tiny particles act like sandpaper, wearing down the applicator or printer components, resulting in poor print quality.
5. Prevent Light Exposure
Exposure to direct sunlight or UV light is particularly damaging, but even artificial light can create problems. Light exposure can cause label surfaces to fade or discolor. If the light is also a heat source, it can contribute to further adhesive degradation.
6. Try an Opaque Container
Placing an opaque container over your labels can prevent dust, light and moisture damage. Combined with using the original packaging, this practice will help ensure your labels will always perform properly.
The Importance of Proper Label Storage
Correctly storing labels can keep costs in check and help you get the most out of your label investment. In some cases, the need for proper label storage goes beyond basic economics into the realm of federal regulations.
For example, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has specific medical device label requirements regarding label storage. It's essential to always be aware of any regulations that could affect your storage practices.
Clearly labeling your labels can help when you need to search for a product later on.
Purchase Your Labels From LLT Labels
Now that we've reviewed how to store labels, you're ready for the next step. We offer stock and custom labels for a wide range of end uses. Whether your application is industrial or prime labeling, we have a product that suits your needs. Start shopping now for the labels that meet your requirements.
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