Household Cleaners: How to Properly Label a Cleaning Product Container

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Your labels should satisfy government requirements, withstand use, and make customers take notice.

Cleaning and disinfectant product labels have to be eye-catching to potential customers, withstand constant handling, adhere to containers for months or even years, and endure contact with the cleaner or disinfectant itself. If that weren’t enough, the ink must resist fading and smearing to ensure safety information is always legible. 

Also, consumers are increasingly demanding more environmentally friendly products and packaging. Labels and containers are expected to be biodegradable or recyclable, a goal that can sometimes be at odds with the need for durability. With label technology improving and constant innovation in the booming laminated label industry, there are more choices and superior labeling options than ever before. 

In this article, we'll discuss how to create labels that satisfy government requirements for safety, stand up to years of use, and make customers take notice of your cleaning products. 

Legal Requirements 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and even the United Nations (UN) all have shaped the rules and regulations regarding the information that must be included on cleaning and disinfecting product labels.  

OSHA’s Hazard Communication Standard requires the following information on your labels: 

  • Name, Address, and Telephone Number: Contact information for the manufacturer, importer, or responsible party. 
  • Product Identifier: Chemical name, code name, or batch number. 
  • Signal Word: Danger (less severe) or Warning (more severe). 
  • Hazard Statement: Describes the nature of the hazard. 
  • Precautionary Statement: How to prevent or minimize risk from using the product. 
  • Pictogram(s): You must display one or several of the nine pictograms that represent the danger posed by the product.

You can also use a Hazardous Materials Identification Safety (HMIS) Label to satisfy OSHA requirements. 

Labels That Last 

Let's look at two of your best options; film labels and shrink sleeve labels. 

Film Labels: Durable, top-coated film labels resist scratching, fading, and negative reactions to chemicals. Plus, they generally print faster. Labels like 3M's Versatile Print Label Material increase efficiency by eliminating certain pre-treatment steps and allow for the use of UV inks. During the printing process, UV inks are exposed to specific wavelengths of light and harden into plastic-like substances, creating a long-lasting and durable image.

You might find you need several styles of labels depending on what types of cleaning or disinfecting products you offer. Perhaps you only need a front label for a spray bottle or container of disinfecting solution but would like a wraparound label to encircle a cylindrical container of wipes. Investing in a labeler like Pack Leader USA's PRO-515 means you can switch back and forth between front and wraparound labels with only one machine.

PRO-515Shrink Sleeve Labels: For superior resistance to moisture, tearing, fading, and smudging, many companies have turned to shrink sleeve labels. They require no adhesive, cover the entire container from top to bottom, allow for impressive full-size graphics to draw in customers, can fit most container shapes, and even offer extra security in the form of tamper-evident seals. If your products are aimed at consumers who seek environmentally friendly products, then you can advertise that your shrink sleeve labels are recyclable, too.


If your product line features many different sized and shaped containers, and you don't want to have to switch labeling machines for every single one, you might want to check out a labeler like Pack Leader USA's SL-77. It can apply shrink sleeve labels quickly and efficiently and has 30 memory slots for maximum flexibility for varied container sizes and shapes. 

Getting the Customer’s Attention

To ensure customers notice your products on store shelves, you need to focus on aesthetics as well as current labeling and packaging trends. 

  • Label Style: For a modern, clean look, clear labels can give the impression there's no label at all. If you use opaque containers, then a standard label might be what you need. Make sure your label is large enough to accommodate all the legal requirements as well as your branding. 
  • Fonts: For high-end products, thin, tall lettering gives an impression of elegance. For consumers focused on health and nature, fonts that look handwritten feel honest and personable. Bright and bold fonts convey power and action. 
  • Color: Make sure your colors are consistent with your branding and match your product. For example, customers might expect yellow labels for lemon-scented cleaners or green for pine-scented cleaners. 
  • Graphics: Pictures tell stories. Using graphics to communicate a message can be effective (e.g., children playing soccer on cleaners that tackle grass stains, trees on naturally-derived cleaners, lightning bolts or barbells on products that are maximum strength, etc.)
  • Recycled and Biodegradable Materials: Containers that are recyclable/recycled are a strong selling point. Increasingly consumers want to see packaging and products that won't cause harm to the environment. Also, high-quality film labels that are biodegradable might be worth the extra cost depending on your target demographic.

Communicating with the Customer 

Your labels need to provide clear, easy to understand information to keep consumers safe. Printing OSHA-approved warnings isn't enough, however. Consumers have become so inundated with warnings and cautions that they often fail to sense the degree of actual danger they face from cleaners/disinfectants. 

Content_NonWovensIndustry-Everspring(Photo Credit: Target)

Many companies are now committing to "oversharing" on their labels: listing inactive ingredients even when they aren't required to, adding awareness and education on social media and websites, offering access to Safety Data Sheets (SDS), and moving to ingredients that are more easily understood or are less harmful. 

The more transparent you are on your labels about dangers, the more trust you'll gain in the marketplace. 

Choosing the Right Printing Partner 

When you want a trusted labeling partner, look for experience and expertise. Pack Leader USA's label machines are durable, trust-worthy, and upgradeable. Check out Pack Leader USA's labelers for household cleaners to find the machine that's right for you. As always, if you have any questions, we're happy to offer a free consultation

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