Author Topic: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment  (Read 16854 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« on: December 23, 2013, 05:56:53 am »
1 minute tech tip!
Dave shows how to remove sticker residue from test equipment without damage, using a plastic pencil eraser. No chemicals required!
It also works for those troublesome security stickers.
Handy for sprucing up equipment before resale on ebay.

 

Online BravoV

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2013, 06:02:13 am »
Can't use this method for the residue at the lcd panel at one of the scope as in EEVblog #559 as this will scratch it.

I used the sticky tape, stick it to the residue, peel it and keep repeating the stick & peel process with the tape until all residue gone, and change the tape if needed.

This method will leave no scratching mark at all and just works every times.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2013, 06:12:13 am by BravoV »
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2013, 07:10:54 am »
Orange peel juice. Simply eat an orange and squeeze the peel so the terpentine oil comes out.
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Offline daddario

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2013, 08:27:46 am »
I usually use these label off sprays from either Kontakt Chemie, Due-Ci, Taerosol, etc. They seem to be based on some kind of a citrus oil.
You just spray it on, leave it there for a minute or so (not for too long, as it will not work then) and then just peel the sticker paper off.
But when used on plastics you must _always_ test the stuff before, for example on a corner somewhere, as they do damage _some_ materials. Especially some of the transparent perspex-ish type materials used for protective screens on displays and some analogue indicator windows.
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Offline nitro2k01

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2013, 09:13:41 am »
In true Dave style, a 1 minute tech tip takes 2 minutes, just like a quick video is 30 minutes long. ;)

Another tip that I've heard, for computer stickers, is to stick a bit of adhesive tape to it and rub it in. I think this would work poorly in both of Dave's examples. In the first example because the sticker residue was dirty, and in the second example because it was a special sticker that left more than just glue gunk. But still a useful tip.

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Online grumpydoc

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2013, 09:39:19 am »
The citrus oil ones are good but don't work on everything, in particular they don't seem to work on gum arabic although a good soak in warm water will shift gummed paper labels
 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #6 on: December 23, 2013, 09:40:02 am »
Another idea (addition to Wilfred's post about eucalytus oil).

Eucalyptus oil does not attack plastic, but dissolves residue and removes dirt. Remove the oil with isopropyl alcohol or metho, or spray 'n wipe cleaner . I used eucalyptus oil on a second hand HP CRO I bought from a bloke online. It was full of calibration stickers and other ugly stuff including marks from dirty hands. The eucalyptus oil made the CRO look like new.

Eucalytus oil will also remove rego sticker residue, and chewing gum out of the carpet, off the car seat, or out of your hair. It smells great, has heaps of therapeutic uses, is non-toxic to the skin and is proudly made right here in home of the eucalyptus gum tree - Australia.

A few other uses...
http://www.eucalyptusoil.com/eucalyptus-uses


« Last Edit: December 23, 2013, 09:42:27 am by VK3DRB »
 

Offline LuN4T1c0

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2013, 09:42:52 am »
If the sticker is still present another possible solution is just heating it up a bit with an hair-drier, it will take off without residues
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2013, 10:17:59 am »
I use benzine (lighter petrol) I always have a few cans handy as its a good degreaser and leaves no residue and dose not attack plastics.
 

Offline Terabyte2007

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2013, 10:52:06 am »
Good idea. I made the mistake once of using another product here in the US called "Goof Off" or something like that on a large analog meter lens that someone moron placed a sticker over and the residue was impossible to get off. Well, that was a mistake I'll never do again, it etched the shiny clear plastic cover permanently dulling the surface and still did not remove the residue! Hopeless...
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Offline JoannaK

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2013, 11:52:07 am »
The citrus oil ones are good but don't work on everything, in particular they don't seem to work on gum arabic although a good soak in warm water will shift gummed paper labels

As a word of warning.. some of those highly concentrated citrus oils (D-limonena?) can eat/melt some types of plastics. So even though it's generally safe to use, there is possibility that the plastic can't handle it,
 

Offline Fliz

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2013, 11:54:49 am »
Only use PVC FREE plastic eraser  ;D :P
 

Online grumpydoc

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2013, 11:57:51 am »
Quote
As a word of warning.. some of those highly concentrated citrus oils (D-limonena?) can eat/melt some types of plastics.
Yes, you always needs to test an inconspicuous area (maybe inside) first.

Forgot that and got bitten when I found IPA removing the paint from a Tek 'scope which I really didn't expect
 

Offline peter.mitchell

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2013, 12:05:54 pm »
There is another alternative, and that is being patient. In the vast vast, majority of cases, if you apply only the slightest force to pull the sticker off, and you apply it evenly along the axis (eg, not from a single corner, but evenly along an edge) you can literally just remove the sticker. Of course though, if you are too late and someone has already removed the sticker leaving behind residue, yes, these methods work great.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2013, 12:06:37 pm »
Another idea (addition to Wilfred's post about eucalytus oil).

Eucalyptus oil does not attack plastic, but dissolves residue and removes dirt. Remove the oil with isopropyl alcohol or metho, or spray 'n wipe cleaner . I used eucalyptus oil on a second hand HP CRO I bought from a bloke online. It was full of calibration stickers and other ugly stuff including marks from dirty hands. The eucalyptus oil made the CRO look like new.

Eucalytus oil will also remove rego sticker residue, and chewing gum out of the carpet, off the car seat, or out of your hair. It smells great, has heaps of therapeutic uses, is non-toxic to the skin and is proudly made right here in home of the eucalyptus gum tree - Australia.

A few other uses...
http://www.eucalyptusoil.com/eucalyptus-uses

Our operators are standing by. Call 0555-EUCALYPT to order your eucalyptus oil. And if you call within the next five minute we will give you a second bottle for free. Yes, a second bottle for free. You only have to pay a small additional nominal fee for your free bottle. So what is holding you back? Eucalytus juice made by nude virgins in Australia. Kylie Minogue  is using it to grease her pop songs, why don't you? And OMG, it removes stickers, too. Immediate visible success. Stay with us, because only today we add a free personal wipe, all in one beautifully designed card box.
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #15 on: December 23, 2013, 01:28:15 pm »
There is another alternative, and that is being patient. In the vast vast, majority of cases, if you apply only the slightest force to pull the sticker off, and you apply it evenly along the axis (eg, not from a single corner, but evenly along an edge) you can literally just remove the sticker. Of course though, if you are too late and someone has already removed the sticker leaving behind residue, yes, these methods work great.

Stickers degrade over time too, meaning many can't peel off after a year or two. The paper types are pretty horrible in this regard. Plastic (e.g. dymo type) labels fair much better.
 

Offline Nermash

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #16 on: December 23, 2013, 01:32:20 pm »
Nah, I prefer WD40 :)
 

Offline c4757p

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #17 on: December 23, 2013, 01:34:21 pm »
Kylie Minogue  is using it to grease her pop songs, why don't you?

:-DD
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Offline Neverther

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #18 on: December 23, 2013, 01:42:40 pm »
Am I bad person for using brake cleaner for this?
Softens the residue and evaporates rather quick, little soak with paper towel if needed.

Haven't had problems with clear plastic, but you could always just sand and polish them if they have gone bad.
 

Offline Radio Tech

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #19 on: December 23, 2013, 01:51:23 pm »
All the above looks like decent sollutions for removing this gunk. I will try the eraser next time.

Thanks for that tip Dave!

My biggest problem is a lot of the stuff I work on is vintage.
The paper label is gone. What is left is a hard crusty mess that feels like sand paper.
WD40 works a treat on this.

Offline AlfBaz

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #20 on: December 23, 2013, 02:00:42 pm »
if all else fails

 

Offline VK3DRB

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #21 on: December 24, 2013, 12:35:54 am »

So what is holding you back? Eucalytus juice made ... in Australia. Kylie Minogue  is using it to grease her pop songs, why don't you?

I don't think Kylie Minogue uses eucalyptus oil. Her pop songs are clogged up with bubble gum. 

If I had a choice between dating Kylie Minogue, or hanging out at my favourite electronics store buying some electronics components, I know what I would rather do. But if you really like Kylie, invite her out on a date at a top class restaurant and then finish off a lovely evening by taking her home and showing her something that will really impress her... your new 555 timer emulator PCB. You know she'd be yours when she sings to you "I can be so lucky - lucky, lucky, lucky..."



« Last Edit: December 24, 2013, 12:38:02 am by VK3DRB »
 

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #23 on: December 24, 2013, 01:49:47 am »
Hi Dave,

Are you going to sell these on eBay? I would really like to pick one up on eBay and I would prefer to buy from someone i know rather than risk it on eBay.

If so, could you please tell me your seller ID so I can be emailed when you list stuff.

 :-DMM :-BROKE

Thanks Mate

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Offline edavid

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #24 on: December 24, 2013, 02:28:53 am »
Good idea. I made the mistake once of using another product here in the US called "Goof Off" or something like that on a large analog meter lens that someone moron placed a sticker over and the residue was impossible to get off. Well, that was a mistake I'll never do again, it etched the shiny clear plastic cover permanently dulling the surface and still did not remove the residue! Hopeless...

You can probably save it.  Go back and remove the residue (I use Bestine Thinner, which is just heptane), then polish it up with Novus plastic polish (or automotive headlight polish).
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #25 on: December 24, 2013, 09:46:38 am »
A lot of labels can be peeled off complete with the glue if you warm them up first with a hair dryer.
 

Offline marmad

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #26 on: December 24, 2013, 05:14:54 pm »
You can probably save it.  Go back and remove the residue (I use Bestine Thinner, which is just heptane), then polish it up with Novus plastic polish (or automotive headlight polish).

I've never tried heptane - using instead 99% n-paraffin (which, in the EU, is also straight-chain alkanes, C10-13). Does heptane work as well as (or better than) n-paraffin for taking virtually anything off plastic (residue, paint, magic marker, etc) without damaging it?

I'm refurbishing old equipment, so I'm always on the lookout for the best solvent for removing years-old crap without damaging plastic - so I'm wondering if I should give heptane a try. I've read that lower carbon number n-paraffins are usually the best solvents, so heptane is perhaps the lowest (that's still considered reasonably safe).
« Last Edit: December 24, 2013, 07:07:09 pm by marmad »
 

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #27 on: December 24, 2013, 06:52:38 pm »
Quote
You can probably save it.  Go back and remove the residue (I use Bestine Thinner, which is just heptane), then polish it up with Novus plastic polish (or automotive headlight polish).
Fortunately I quickly realised and had only completely removed the paint from the very edge of the case - which is hidden by the front panel.
 

Offline reagle

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #28 on: December 26, 2013, 03:52:38 am »
What a timely post- I am working on my own pile of auction loot :)
Among the goodies is a bunch of of Fluke 70 and 73s with broken calibration stickers along the seams. Somehow Fluke thought that requiring recalibration every time user changes a battery is a good idea. So now I am left with half-circles made of a plastic that breaks the moment you pull on it. Any suggestions on how to deal with that? You can see how they've removed them in the past- by taking chunks of cases with them..
Another menace is user initials in permanent marker. Using eraser and 90% alcohol that came off the front that's a label overlay, but it's a different story on a plastic

Offline Dave

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #29 on: December 26, 2013, 04:12:57 am »
Never thought of using a rubber to get rid of the sticky residue. I always used IPA for cleaning everything. I guess I'll have to buy some more used equipment to test your method. ;D

In case you are wondering, yes, I intentionally wrote that first sentence like that. *giggle*
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Offline edavid

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #30 on: December 26, 2013, 05:42:46 am »
You can probably save it.  Go back and remove the residue (I use Bestine Thinner, which is just heptane), then polish it up with Novus plastic polish (or automotive headlight polish).

I've never tried heptane - using instead 99% n-paraffin (which, in the EU, is also straight-chain alkanes, C10-13). Does heptane work as well as (or better than) n-paraffin for taking virtually anything off plastic (residue, paint, magic marker, etc) without damaging it?

I'm refurbishing old equipment, so I'm always on the lookout for the best solvent for removing years-old crap without damaging plastic - so I'm wondering if I should give heptane a try. I've read that lower carbon number n-paraffins are usually the best solvents, so heptane is perhaps the lowest (that's still considered reasonably safe).

I've never tried n-paraffin... is there a commercial name for it in the US?

Anyway, heptane won't remove paint or marker, but it's great for softening adhesive.  You can use it to remove one label that's on top of another label without damaging either one.  Cal stickers, no problem...
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #31 on: December 26, 2013, 07:12:36 am »
So now I am left with half-circles made of a plastic that breaks the moment you pull on it. Any suggestions on how to deal with that? You can see how they've removed them in the past- by taking chunks of cases with them..

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #32 on: December 26, 2013, 09:23:38 am »
Quote
So now I am left with half-circles made of a plastic that breaks the moment you pull on it. Any suggestions on how to deal with that?
These are a pain to  get off. As you say they are designed to break apart so you can't just pull them off.

In theory the way to deal with them is to use something thin, slid between the label and the surface it is stuck to and then just slowly work at it until all is removed. The difficulty is finding something strong enough to actually be able to separate the adhesive whilst not scratching the plastic. I've decided a fingernail is just about ideal but I do have fairly strong nails so it might not work for everyone.
 

Offline TheWelly888

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #33 on: December 26, 2013, 11:00:19 am »
At work I often need to clean off sticky label residue on medical equipment (for better appearance in the clinics/wards!) and usually use 70% IPA saturated cloths or detergent. But the other day I tried the plastic rubber on one of those cal void labels that leaves patterned sticky mess and it works!

Thanks for that tip!  :-+
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Offline marmad

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #34 on: December 26, 2013, 04:01:55 pm »
I've never tried n-paraffin... is there a commercial name for it in the US?

Well, n-paraffin can refer to any straight-chain alkane (a saturated hydrocarbon where the carbon atoms are joined in a linear, snake-like structure with the general formula CnH2n+2). Heptane is one of those n-alkanes (7 carbon atoms = C7H16), and the n-Paraffin EU 'product' I'm taking about (CAS nr. 93924-07-3) is between 10 and 13 linear carbon atoms, but it mostly consists of C12H26, which is Dodecane (also known as dihexyl, bihexyl, adakane 12 or duodecane).

Quote
Anyway, heptane won't remove paint or marker, but it's great for softening adhesive.  You can use it to remove one label that's on top of another label without damaging either one.  Cal stickers, no problem...

Yes - other chemicals/techniques that people have mentioned here (Benzine, eucalyptus oil, citrus oils, IPA, heat, etc, etc) are poor compared to the middle n-alkanes (C5-C15) for plastic. Once you've tried n-paraffin (and I imagine heptane is the same) to clean/remove things from plastic, you'll never use that other stuff again.

I refurbish vintage analog synthesizers, and I've used n-paraffin to take off any and all kinds of adhesive/labels in seconds - as well as paint, magic marker, etc. from keyboards and dials - or from virtually any type of older or newer plastic.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2013, 05:37:11 pm by marmad »
 

Offline IanB

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #35 on: December 26, 2013, 04:18:24 pm »
The miracle cleaning liquids commonly found in the USA like Goo Gone or Goof Off consist primarily of light petroleum distillates, essentially the same thing as the C7 to C13 alkanes mentioned in this thread. In the old days we might have used petrol/gasoline for this purpose (much cheaper), but these days car fuel contains all sorts of nasty additives and is probably not the best choice as a delicate cleaning solvent. Great for bicycle chains, less good for plastic lenses.

White spirit (clear mineral spirit) is a similar solvent. If you started with white spirit and added a bit of citrus oil you would probably recreate Goo Gone.
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Offline marmad

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #36 on: December 26, 2013, 04:34:39 pm »
The miracle cleaning liquids commonly found in the USA like Goo Gone or Goof Off consist primarily of light petroleum distillates, essentially the same thing as the C7 to C13 alkanes mentioned in this thread. In the old days we might have used petrol/gasoline for this purpose (much cheaper), but these days car fuel contains all sorts of nasty additives and is probably not the best choice as a delicate cleaning solvent. Great for bicycle chains, less good for plastic lenses.

White spirit (clear mineral spirit) is a similar solvent. If you started with white spirit and added a bit of citrus oil you would probably recreate Goo Gone.

Goo Gone is 90% to 95% CAS nr. 64742-47-8 - which seems to consist of both iso and n-alkanes C11-C16 - so not like the pure n-alkanes I mentioned. Goo Gone seems to be a general, multi-surface cleaner - while what I wrote about is not general purpose - but instead, the best thing for specifically plastics (and certainly nothing like gasoline - which would be terrible on some plastics). The n-alkanes make poor fuels - but great solvents, while isoalkanes tend to make better fuels.

White spirit (clear mineral spirit) is a similar solvent. If you started with white spirit and added a bit of citrus oil you would probably recreate Goo Gone.

White spirit (assuming you mean petroleum spirits) are alicyclic hydrocarbons in the C7-C12 range. You might have a hugely different result using the two chemicals (White spirit/Goo Gone) on the same surface.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2013, 05:30:17 pm by marmad »
 

Offline GBoos

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Re: EEVblog #560 - How To Remove Sticker Residue On Test Equipment
« Reply #37 on: December 27, 2013, 10:58:52 am »
You can use any vegetable oil you find in your kitchen, it will do no damage to any plastic.
I use it every time I need to remove stickers from any surface.
 


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