Removing price labels on games the easy way

If I were to ask my buyers what the most annoying thing about buying a rare high priced SNES game is, the answer would probably be that it gets crushed in the mail. More about that later though.

The second most annoying thing about buying a rare high priced SNES game is the price labels or other annoyances that shops have a habit of adorning the boxes with.

A sticky label adhered to printed cardboard is not the easiest thing to remove. Add to that almost 20 years of settling and most often the print and adhesive have “become one”.

Fear not, fellow collectors. In my quest for answers I have accidentally come across a miracle solvent for the removal of labels on just about any surface. Read on!


Did you guess it right?

I came about it by accident, while using it to dissolve grease from camera lens apertures, which it’s commonly used for.

It’s not a particularly hideous substance to use either, it won’t corrode your skin (much!), and the fumes are not particularly bad unless you’re in a particularly closed space like a cupboard! The solvent I used prior to lighter fluid was a much nastier solvent in an aerosol can. I drew the line under that particular substance after a couple of spontaneous nose bleeds. Don’t ask.

Moving on, below is a picture of a typical sticker on a gameboy advance SP console. It’s not a cardboard box but it could just as well be.

The sticker is particularly well adhered to the console, and as we all know well, if we pick at it, it will split, leaving a mess on the console taking far too much effort to remove.


Arm yourself with a Q-tip, or cotton bud as we call them in the UK, and douse your sticky label in lighter fluid. Imagine you’re about to set fire to the thing in a fit of rage.

Just, stop at the point where you strike the match. You’re aiming for the sticker to change colour, as it absorbs the lighter fluid it will typically become more transparent. The fluid┬áneeds to get to the glue underneath the sticker. ┬áDon’t worry, it’s very good at doing this.


If your label is stubborn like the one here, work the fluid into it with the Q-tip. Just rub it. Don’t take too long, as the fluid will evaporate – you need to act before it does this.

The one pictured is just about ready!

Lift it off, and gasp in astonishment at how it simply falls off, without any effort at all.

Unfortunately for me, on removing the label, I found out that the shop had slyly put the sticker over an area of significant scratching. I’m not impressed!!


I have used this technique on SNES game boxes many times without any trouble. Surprisingly the fluid does not dissolve the print on the box.

A last quick tip, try to keep the stuff off your hands. The lighter fluid evaporates just fine, the problem is the glue that it dissolves into itself. It can be particularly hard to remove from with soap and water once the fluid has evaporated!

Disclaimer: Always read the warnings on the bottle.

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