The Best Way to Remove Sticky Labels from African Wax Print Fabric (Ankara)

The Best Way to Remove Sticky Labels from African Wax Print Fabric (Ankara)

Understanding African Wax Print Fabric (Ankara)

African wax print fabric, also known as Ankara, is a beloved textile originating from West Africa, particularly countries like Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal. It's celebrated for its vibrant colors, bold prints, and cultural significance. Interestingly, it's sometimes referred to as "Holland Print" due to Dutch manufacturers mass-producing the wax print technique they observed during their occupation of Indonesia.

Ankara fabric adds a unique beauty to your projects, perfect for special occasion wear, with its bold and bright designs that exude joy and vibrancy. If you've ever come across Ankara for sale, you're likely familiar with the large labels that are often stuck on the fabric.

These labels can be stubborn and difficult to remove, potentially leaving behind residue or even damaging the fabric. But they're easy to remove with the right method. In this guide, we'll explore the most effective and safest method for removing sticky labels from your gorgeous Ankara fabric: the heat method.

The Heat Method: A Reliable Solution

When it comes to removing sticky labels from Ankara fabric, the heat method is the one I like the best. Here's how to do it:

  1. Peeling Method (Not Recommended): While you may be tempted to start by peeling off the label, this method often leaves behind stubborn residue that can be challenging to remove without damaging the fabric.

    • Caution: Proceed with caution if using the peeling method, as it may result in residue that requires additional removal techniques.
  2. Adhesive Removal (Use with Caution): Applying adhesive removers or rubbing alcohol can be effective but carries the risk of damaging the fabric. Always test these products on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure they don't cause discoloration or weakening of the fabric fibers.

    • Note: Adhesive removal methods should be used as a last resort and with caution.
  3. Heat Application (Recommended): The heat method is the safest and most reliable way that I've found to remove sticky labels from Ankara fabric. This is what I do:

    • Place a clean, dry cloth over the label residue. I recommend a fabric such as a piece of cotton, muslin or even silk organza  Set your iron to a medium heat setting - careful with high heat, so you don't scorch your fabric.
    • Gently iron over the cloth-covered area in circular motions for 20-30 seconds. Use steam to assist in the removal of the label.
    • Lift the cloth and check if the label residue has softened.
    • If necessary, repeat the process until the residue loosens and the label can be easily peeled off.

Precautions and Tips

  • Always test any cleaning or adhesive removal method on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric first to ensure it doesn't cause damage.
  • Take your time and work slowly to prevent accidental damage to the fabric.
  • If you're unsure about a particular method, consult with other sewers or professionals for guidance.


Sewing with African wax print fabric (Ankara) is a pleasure, but dealing with sticky labels can be an inconvenience if you don’t know how to remove them. Using the heat method, you can easily remove the labels without damaging the fabric.

I recorded a video about this! Take a look on YouTube!


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase at Amazon.  This is at no additional cost to you. 




© Miss J Sews 2024. The information contained herein is provided for information purposes only; the contents are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents herein. We disclaim, to the full extent permissible by law, all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents herein.

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