I agree with Rick K8EZB that Goo Gone, the citrus-based product, is a good choice for removing many labels. I let the label soak for 30 minutes (Goo Gone is aqueous so it evaporates slowly) and then work to remove the label. If there is substantial paper label remaining, an "orange stick" or even a fingernail can remove the paper, followed by more soaking in Goo Gone. Finally, a soft cotton shop or kitchen towel can remove the remaining adhesive residue. Using a typical kitchen paper towel too vigorously can scuff the paint. I've even used cotton balls in critical areas.
I also use Simple Green Extreme (well diluted) on Tek painted cabinetry. I put a splash of SGE in a tub of warm water and let the case soak for 30 minutes per side, then scrub with a soft brush. I have a kitchen Reverse Osmosis water system so I always do a final rinse in RO water.
Now, I've heard some folks complain about Simple Green; I've never tried that product. You would think Simple Green Extreme would be more of a problem than Simple Green, but I've never had any problem with SGE on painted surfaces when diluted. The supplied SGE is quite concentrated so it must be diluted. SGE is a little difficult to find but I got my last gallon jug on Amazon.
Incidentally, I often use RO water to wash electronics without issue. Water does not harm most electronics but residual minerals from tap water certainly does! Spill coffee on your computer keyboard? Just rinse thoroughly with RO (or, distilled) water. Anyway, anything I wash with a detergent (e.g. SGE) I final-rinse with RO water.
I do have Goof Off, a solvent-based product, but don't dare use it on painted surfaces. But, if you have a label on a stainless steel surface, Goof Off is quick and safe to use. I finish with Goo Gone and RO water rinse.
I've found instruments with solid brass ID tags bonded with a really hard adhesive. Those are tough to get off...
Isopropyl alcohol is ineffective on most adhesives. Methanol is a much better solvent but will attack some paint finishes and must be used with good ventilation. Finding methanol is getting harder and harder; it seems to have disappeared in California big box stores but is still available in California as a race fuel for motorcycles and cars.
I work on many microscopes with aged grease that is tough to get off. Soaking in xylene works well but again that solvent must be used with good ventilation and it is no longer available in California; it is available at Home Depot in every other state. Not for use on any paint!
For microscope mechanical subassemblies with dried grease, I use a succession of dirty-to-clean xylene in large-mouth screw jars. I use the jars with Teflon lid liners available from McMaster-Carr.
I do use isopropyl alcohol for flux removal but I get the anhydrous alcohol available from some drug stores and from industrial hardware stores.
There is no single-best approach and you must apply caution and wisdom to prevent damage.
On 6/11/2018 7:10 PM, Dennis Tillman W7PF wrote:
A far too common problem I have no solution for yet:...
Larry McDavid W6FUB
Anaheim, California (SE of Los Angeles, near Disneyland)