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Waterproof Labels for Bottles: Factors for Water Resistance


After investing time and money to create great labels for your products, it would be a shame for them to peel off your container. Certain products are destined to encounter moisture, whether they sit in a cooler, sweat after being refrigerated, or encounter water during the application process.

While the majority of product labels don’t play well with water, there are measures that companies can take to protect their designs from a sad, soggy ending. Let’s break down a variety of factors that can help your labels stay strong and look great even after they’ve been exposed to moisture.

The Truth About “Waterproof” Labels for Bottles

Before we get too far, it’s important to address the proverbial elephant in the room – there is no such thing as a truly waterproof bottle label. Water and other fluids will impact even the most water-resistant bottle labels at some point. As such, you can’t guarantee complete protection with a simple label material.

While complete water resistance isn’t attainable, that doesn’t mean there aren’t means to protect your packaging as much as possible. There are several to make your labels as water and oil-resistant as possible, including the following considerations.

  • Label adhesive
  • Label material
  • Environmental considerations

Find an Appropriate Label Adhesive

Water, oil, and other wet substances can put you in a bind when you choose an adhesive for your labels. Even if your label itself is water resistant, a label adhesive needs to be able to withstand those substances. Everything from regular moisture to complete submersion can pose problems. With the wrong adhesive, you’ll be stuck with a label that’s falling off the bottle.

One drawback is that the presence of water may eliminate certain types of adhesives from your selection. For example, humidity and wet environments can pose problems for removable labels, so you may want to avoid them if you want a truly waterproof label.

Fortunately, there are moisture-resistant label adhesives designed to specifically combat this issue. There are a variety of factors that will impact exactly which adhesive works best – the amount of exposure, how often exposure is expected to happen, which types of fluids will pose problems, etc. Once that information is identified, a label printing expert can help you pair the right adhesive with your product.

A collection of custom waterproof labels for bottles.

Choose a Label Material

There are a wide range of label materials available, but the majority of them fall under one of two categories: paper or film. Both groups offer various benefits, but one type typically fares much better against water and other fluids than the other.

Paper is a great choice for companies looking for a versatile, cost-effective material, but there’s one big problem – paper has a tendency to disintegrate in water. There are specific styles of paper with a higher wet strength that can slow water penetration. However, there is no waterproof bottle label paper and even the most resistant paper substrates will become fully saturated over time.

If you need water resistance, we strongly suggest sticking with film stocks. Unlike paper, film stocks won’t absorb water, making them as waterproof as you can get for a bottle label. From shrink sleeves to roll labels, there are a few different film materials that are much better fits for products dealing with moisture.

  • Polypropylenes (BOPP) – A rigid film that features high tear resistance and is a great fit for beverages and other products that will encounter moisture.
  • Polyester (PET) – A film designed for maximum durability that is great for products used outdoors.
  • Polyolefin – An extremely soft and flexible film perfect for squeeze applications, such as bottles that will end up in the shower or other wet environments.

Regardless of your choice, the simple logic is that film is much better at resisting water than paper. As such, a film label is a great start for any bottles that will encounter moisture either before, during, or after application.

A selection of six beer bottles using water resistant bottle labels.

Plan Around Your Environment

When there’s water and other fluids, there are other potential environmental issues that can create problems for your label. There are a few main considerations that you’ll want to make when it comes to you where your products will go.

  • Your applicating environment.
  • Shipping and storage environments.
  • Where and how your bottles are used.
  • The product itself.

Your application process makes a major impact on your choice of adhesive, label material, liner, and more. That is especially true if your bottles will be wet going into the applicating process. A wet-apply adhesive is a must in these scenarios. You also may need to factor in your product as well. For example, acidic or oily products can wreak havoc if you don’t account for them in the planning process.

Proper shipping and storage is another factor that can be easily overlooked. All labels should be stored in a temperature-controlled environment. Exact temperature and humidity levels vary based on your exact label, but too much humidity in a shipping truck or a warehouse will pose problems. Shrink sleeves are especially sensitive to humidity and other environmental factors, so make sure to keep them safe before application.

Finally, you need to factor in just where your bottles will go once consumers get a hold of them. If your products are going to encounter ice buckets, coolers, or other cold storage places, you’ll need something stronger than a standard adhesive. A more aggressive, freezer-grade label adhesive will be able to withstand these conditions.

Other products may have very different issues, such as a bottle of conditioner. Certain health and beauty labels will sit in the shower and encounter other cleaning chemicals. These products needs to withstand a hot, steamy environment along with oils and other substances. Sunscreen bottles need waterproof capabilities at the beach or pool, but they also should have some form of UV resistance.

You should also consider whether the product itself may impact the label. For example, the oil found in products like sunscreen can affect the application and integrity of a label. Water-resistant capabilities are key, but you should always consider what will happen if some of your own product will leak out and interact with your label.

A whiskey bottle using a waterproof bottle label paper.

 

Find the Right Label Printing Company

Whether you need custom waterproof labels for bottles, jars, or any other container, it’s essential that your packaging showcases the quality of your products and brand. At Blue Label Packaging, we have the equipment and expertise it takes to not only make your labels as water-resistant as possible, but also enhance your design to make a lasting impressions on customers.

Ready to invest in the perfect bottle labels for your business? Contact us today to talk to one of our experts about high-quality, water-resistant labels.