Do Thermal Labels Fade?

Fading of labels might not seem a big deal to everyone. After all, it does not make sense to store the sale receipts. So, does it matter whether they fade or not?

This might not be a serious issue to normal consumers, but it is for business owners. To save their money and time, they need to file the sales receipts properly. Other than tax reasons, they help to protect against unauthorized charges, item returns, claim rebates, and extended warranty. Yes, filing the labels is no casual thing. And that it is necessary to know how long they can stay.

To answer the primary question, thermal labels do fade. But that doesn’t mean you cannot restore them. Before that, let’s see why thermal labels tend to fade.

Thermal Labels Fade

Why do thermal labels fade?

The printing of thermal labels is done on a special paper called thermal paper. This paper has a chemical coating which reacts to heat. This is responsible for the printed text and images you see on the receipts. Since this chemical coated paper is highly sensitive to UV light and heat, prolonged exposure to these elements can result in gradual fading. Humidity and oil can also cause fading.

This can mean that you cannot print something to store it for years. But the use of thermal printing is so widespread that you will probably see it every day in some form. The reason for their popularity is that they are inexpensive and needs less maintenance.

How to restore a faded thermal label

Suppose you need a receipt, but it has started to fade. There is something you can do to restore them in an old fashioned way. All you need to do is to apply heat gently to the thermal label.

You can use your hairdryer for this. Set the speed to medium and keep it directly toward the backside of the thermal label until the text becomes visible to you. If you don’t have a hairdryer, you try using a light bulb to heat the thermal label.

No matter what heat source you use to heat the paper, don’t apply it on the front side of the label. Otherwise, the whole thermal label can become black. There should be a distance of a few inches between the source and the paper. Pay attention, whether the heat reaches the paper or not.

Things you need to remember

Before you handle the thermal paper, make sure to wear protective gloves or wash your hands. The natural oils and the moisture in hand can contribute to the fading of the thermal label. With sweaty hands, you might distort the text and images on the paper.

The bottom line

Since thermal labels are sensitive to heat, they do fade. But you can take practical steps to maintain them for an extended period. If you want to save the labels, you can scan them and store it as digital information. With the right care, you can preserve thermal labels.