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I love screen printing with vinyl. I love teaching others to screen print even more.
Hundreds of crafters have used my Screen Printing for Beginners online course to learn this easy and economical method for making high quality projects.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or just a beginner, it’s important to always take proper care of your equipment. This article will show you how to clean and maintain your screen printing screen so you can use it to make hundreds of amazing projects.
The key to properly cleaning your screen starts immediately after you are done printing. If you wait too long, the ink will dry on your screen and it will be ruined.
Step 1 – Remove the Vinyl from the Screen
As soon as you have finished printing all of your shirts, immediately remove the vinyl from the back of your screen. Be careful as you scrape and pull the vinyl off. You don’t want to tear a hole in your screen!
Pro Tip – I like to use a pallet knife to help remove the small pieces.
Step 2 – Wash Your Speedball Screen Printing Frame
Once you have finished peeling off the vinyl, it’s time to wash off your screen. Remember, the quicker you can get to washing your screen, the less trouble you will have getting the ink off.
One of the main reasons I use Speedball Inks is how environmentally friendly they are. These inks are water soluble and safe to just wash down the drain when you are done.
Start by washing the screen with warm water only. Usually, I can get almost all of the ink color off my screen just by spraying warm water over it.
Cleaning Screen Printing Frame with Speed Clean
If you have any ghosting or ink stains after washing with warm water, give Speedball Speed Clean a try. This cleaner is great for removing stains and making your screen look brand new again!
To use Speedball Speed Clean, just squirt a small amount along the top of your frame and use a soft brush to scrub in the solution.
Pro Tip – I use a soft toothbrush.
After you have scrubbed the solution over all of the stained area, rinse your screen again with warm water. TaDa!! Good as new!
With proper maintenance, your screen printing frame can last for hundreds of projects!
Step 3 – Allow Your Screen to Dry
After washing all of the ink out of your screen, allow it to air dry. I like to prop mine against the wall with a dish mat under it, but you could also dry them on a flat surface.
Once your screen is dry (usually under an hour), it is ready to use again for your next project.
Watch the Process of Removing Vinyl and Cleaning Your Screen
What Happens if My Screen Gets Loose?
After repeatedly adding and removing vinyl on your screen, you may lose some of the tension in your frame.
It's important to keep your screen tight. The tension helps your vinyl to stick to the screen.
If your screen gets loose, use a screen rolling tool to push the cording back into the frame. You may also need to replace the screen after a while. Here are some tips on how to replace the screen on your Speedball frame.
Hi – Can you save the vinyl after you remove it from the screen and use it again at a later date?
Not with the adhesive vinyl method. It will come off when you clean the screen. If you are wanting a design you can wash and reuse, check out my tutorial on using HTV: https://www.pigskinsandpigtails.com/2019/06/make-a-permanent-screen-printing-stencil-with-htv/
Is there an alternative for the speed clean?
How long should I wait for the screen to dry before using it again for another project?
It usually dries pretty quickly… about 15-20 minutes. If you put it by a fan it will speed up the drying.
I removed the mesh from my frame, now it is wrinkled. What is the best way to get the wrinkles out so the mesh is smooth when attached back to the frame? Thank you!
I just did my first screen printing and cleaned it outside as I was afraid it would stain my sink…so it was cold water instead of warm…will it hurt this one time?