Which Cleanup Solutions Are Best?
So, you've made your printed images using your screen printing materials, and now your screens need to be cleaned. This part of the process might feel like an afterthought, but it shouldn't be. Choosing the right cleaning products for your screen printing projects is important. With the right cleaning products you can maintain your screens and maintain productivity in your screen printing shop. Your screen printing supplies are an investment! Maintaining them should not be an afterthought, so here's what we recommend.
Which Cleanup Solutions Are Best?
Know which products are most useful to have in your shop or among your supplies at home. You'll need more than one type of cleaning product to meet all your needs. Don't try to use the wrong product for the task. Below are the basic supplies you should keep on hand:
- Ink remover for cleaning your screens, squeegees, and press.
- Emulsion remover to remove the emulsion from your screens.
- Haze and ghost remover is especially helpful in a production screen printing environment, but can be used anywhere to cleans mesh stains.
- Screen degreaser for degreasing screen fabrics.
Finally, we also recommend a good hand-washing product for removing the ink and other chemicals from your hands. Normal soaps aren't as effective against inks as a hand-washing product designed to remove ink and chemicals. Using the right hand-washing chemical, you won't have to go out into the world looking like you just stepped out of an artist's studio!
Why It's Important to Choose the Right Chemicals
Some screen printers try to cut corners with their cleaning products - after all, how important is it to use specialized cleaning products, really?
The answer is: very important.
Never use household products on your screen printing tools, as these chemicals can be harmful to your screens. Some can damage screens on their own, while other household cleaning products are slow acting and not very effective. Using these products, you'll have to scrub your screens extra hard just to finish the job. This can result in damage, and when you're done, you may end up using more specialized cleaning products to finish the job anyway.
Screen printing cleaning products are designed to do the job right the first time - especially good quality cleaning products. The better the products, the easier it is to clean up your messes, and the better it is for your screen printing materials.
What To Look For In Screen Printing Cleaning Products
Not all screen printing products are created equal. So, what qualities should you be looking for when you're buying cleaning products for your shop or at home screen printing operation?
Safe for Your Screens
Of course, you need to buy products that are safe for your screens. What does this entail? Start by purchasing cleaning products that are intended for use with screen printing tools, purchase cleaning products from sources you trust. If you're new to screen printing, find out from other screen printers where they purchase their supplies. Choose well-known, reputable screen printing suppliers with a loyal customer base. A good shop will strive to sell you the best products possible.
Some people shy away from purchasing cleaning products that are high quality because they're more expensive. Don't sell yourself short just to save some pennies! Good cleaning products may cost a little more, but they're so effective that a little goes a long way. Optima products, for example, are some of the most effective products on the market. Just a little of the Optima ink and emulsion remover can clean your screens with minimal effort. You'll use less Optima on your screen printing materials than you'll use of the other brands.
Easy to Use
Some emulsion removers require mixing, and that can be a pain. We suggest using the OPTIWASH emulsion remover because it's effective without mixing.
Lots of screen printing cleaning products are toxic and shouldn't be flushed down the drain, into your septic or sewer system. Some large screen printing shops have their own method of disposing of toxic cleaning products, but many home-based operations don't have any way to dispose of toxic chemicals. For home-based screen printing operations, the best cleaning products are drain safe, like Optima products.
Which Screen Cleaning Products Are Best?
At Total Ink Solutions, sell Optima high performance cleanup solutions because we believe it's the best on the market. If you're new to screen printing and in need of a set of cleaning products, we suggest purchasing the Optima Startup Kit to get a sampling of all the different cleanup solutions available. What's included?
OPTIWASH Ink Remover
This is the strongest ink remover and degrader made by Optima. A little goes a long way with this highly effective ink remover. To use, simply spray the cleaning product onto the screen then scrub it lightly with a rag.
OPTISTRIP Emulsion Remover
This emulsion remover is a no-mixing required product that does not need diluting in order to use. To use it, spray the product onto the emulsion and wait for the emulsion to soften (about 30 seconds), then use a jet of water from a hose or spray nozzle to remove the emulsion.
OPTIDHAZE Haze and Ghost Remover
Screen printing produces stains on materials that can be difficult to erase. This ghost and stain remover is used to get rid of stains, with less odor than many other haze and ghost remover products. It works quickly and effectively against a variety of stains. It's also low VOC, which makes it safe.
OPTIDGREASER Degreasing Product
This screen degreaser is super concentrated for total effectiveness against a variety of oils and chemicals. It can be used on a variety of material types including polyester, stainless steel and nylon. It's also non-hazardous and drain safe, so you don't have to worry about flushing it down the drain.
Found the Right Screen Printing Cleaning Product? Contact Total Ink Solutions
At Total Ink Solutions, we sell a variety of screen printing products, including Optima products like the ones listed above. You can either purchase these products in a sample pack, or individually. For more information about purchasing our high-quality screen printing products, contact Total Ink Solutions today.