The cost of screen printing screens can add up. You can’t just use them and then throw them away. You must take care of them and keep them in good condition. Which is why it is important for you to learn how to clean your screens properly. While we understand that this is not the most glamorous part of screen printing, it is one of the most important parts of the job if you want to save money.
What equipment is involved in cleaning screen printing screens?
So obviously a dirty screen is the first item that is necessary to the process. Then you will need paper towels for removing large chunks of emulsion and dried ink. You will also need a brush for scrubbing. A pressure washer is needed as well.
Using a pressure washer on screens can get messy so you may want to consider a spray out tank to collect the excess water and chemicals.
Dip tanks are an optional accessory as well that can be used to clean screen printing screens as well.
What are the steps involved in cleaning screen printing screens?
- Remove All Tape
- Remove Excess Ink From Screen
- Spray Screen Reclaimer and let it set for 2 minutes
- Lightly scrub the screen with a coarse brush
- Wash away emulsion with a pressure washer
- Increase the tension of the mesh
- Turn the screen over and repeat the process
- Apply degreaser to both sides of the screen
- Rinse with power washer
- Let the screens dry
- Use a haze remover to remove ghost images
What Are Dip Tanks?
Dip tanks are containers that are made from polyethylene which is similar to heavy plastic. The difference between these tanks and something that you purchase at the store is that these containers use polyethylene rather than plastic. Polyethylene will stand up to the chemicals that are in the dip tank solution. The screen printer places a used screen in the dip tank and leaves it for 5 minutes. The ink will become loose and come off in the solution when the screen is removed.
Once the screen is removed then it is sprayed out with a power sprayer to get any final bits of emulsion and ink out of the screen.
The Final Word on Cleaning Screen Print Screens
Screen printers want their screens to last as long as possible. They don’t want to have to purchase a new screen after each job is completed. They probably wouldn’t be able to stay in business too long if this was the case. That’s why it is vitally important that you clean the screens properly at the end of the day or at the end of a print job. Good screen cleaning and maintenance is part of the job. Protect your investment and your income.