Screen printing is an effective method of printing designs onto fabric. You can create a number of customized accessories like bags, hoodies, t-shirts, pillowcases, and more. It allows you to work with various materials like metal, paper, glass, wood, etc. Also, the designs it produces are long-lasting and vibrant. If you have a design printing business, you may have wondered how to remove screen printing from shirts. There are several reasons for wanting to remove the design from the fabric.
Screen printing is a simple process. But when you’re a beginner, you are bound to make at least a few errors. You may have a lot of smudges and design errors in your first few prints. Also, you may create a design that doesn’t look as good on fabric as your mind. Or, you may want to erase an old, cracked design and create a new one.
There are several different methods of removing screen printing from clothes depending on the type of fabric. A technique that works best for cotton shirts might not suit other materials. We will share some safe, easy, and effective methods for removing screen printing off different fabrics materials. You will also learn how to clean the print residue and deal with fabrics that require special care, such as polyester, without damaging them. So let’s jump right into it!
Different Methods of Removing Screen Printing From a Shirt
We have tried and tested the following methods and found them to be highly effective:
Remove the Design with Acetone
Acetone is a chemical solvent helpful in dissolving screen printing permanent inks and removing designs from fabrics. You can also use a nail polish remover; it may already be lying around in your cupboards, and you wouldn’t need to buy a cleaning product. Since acetone is a strong chemical, we recommend you wear protective gloves and work in a well-ventilated area.
Wash the cloth with cold water so that the ink loosens up. Now soak a cotton ball with acetone or nail polish remover thoroughly and rub the printed design gently. Make sure you have sufficient product to saturate the print entirely. Wash the shirt with cold water to remove print residue and chemical traces once you get rid of the design.
Note: this method is not suitable for polyester.
Use Spot-Removing Liquid
You can remove screen printing from shirts with a spotting fluid with spot-removal guns. These guns are available in the market at different prices. You can get an expensive one if your budget allows it. It will be highly effective for screen printing removal. However, if you do not want to spend more money, you can get a cheaper one. It will get the job done, but you may have to repeat the process multiple times. This method allows you to remove tiny patches of the design precisely.
It is perfect when you do not want to get rid of the entire print but only a few elements. Place an old towel under the screen-printed design to prevent the fabric from soaking up the liquid. Be careful during this process, or you may damage the cloth. Aim the gun at the screen print so that the chemical solvent does not touch the fabric. Wash the shirt after to remove the leftover chemical.
Use Plastisol Remover
Plastisol is the most popular ink for screen printing. Thankfully special cleaners are available that dissolve the ink and remove the design from the fabric instantly without damaging it. A plastisol remover contains harsh chemicals. Make sure you wear protective gloves and glasses and work outdoors or in a ventilated space. Also, cover the surface you are working on with a plastic sheet. Soak a piece of soft cloth in the liquid thoroughly.
Dab it over the screen-printed design and let it sit for at least half an hour. Once the print dissolves, scrap it away with a soft-bristled brush, then wipe the chemical residue with a soft cloth. Wash the shirt with cold water to remove the solvent from the fabric.
Heat and Remove the Design
You can easily peel the design by applying heat to it and making it melt onto paper. Other than this method, using heat to remove the screen print is not advisable. The heat sets the inks permanently. However, this technique is an exception. Place the shirt on a flat surface like a table or an ironing board. Fold an old towel or a soft cloth. Place it inside the shirt underneath the design.
Grab a brown paper bag and lay it over the screen print design shiny side up. Heat the iron on a low setting, and then run it over the print a few times. The heat will cause the ink to melt, forcing it into the bag and detaching it from the fabric. If little bits of ink is still stuck on the shirt, you can remove them with your fingernails or a plastic scraper.
Rinsing the shirt with cold water is the best way to remove design errors when the ink is still fresh. If you have accidentally messed up your screen print design, run the shirt through cold water immediately. You can rinse the shirt with your washing machine or place it under the tap in the sink. The choice is yours! Cold water washes away the ink if it’s fresh. Make sure not to use hot water as it will set the ink deep into the fabric, making it difficult to remove. This method will not work on older designs.
Remove Screen Printing With Sugar
You can use sugar to erase screen-printed designs. A sugar scrub is best for fresh prints but also works on older designs. Rinse the shirt with cold water and then pour a spoon full of sugar onto the pattern. Rub it gently in circular motions with your hands or a soft cloth. Once the sugar has been removed the screen print ink, scrap away the residue and sugar leftovers with a soft brush. Remember to wash the shirt with a regular detergent to get rid of the sticky sugar.
All the methods described above are safe and work effectively on cotton t-shirts. If you need to remove screen printing from other fabric materials, some of these methods may not work. Let’s discuss how you can remove screen printing from fabrics that need special care, like nylon, denim, polyester, etc.
Learn Also: What is DTG Printing
How To Remove Screen Printing From Fabrics
The acetone and nail polish remover method is suitable for jersey. All you need to do is take a cotton swab or ball to soak with the solvent and rub the design off.
You can remove screen printing from denim by washing it with cold water and running it through the machine dryer. The methods explained above are also safe and applicable to denim.
Nylon is a synthetic fabric that requires attention and caution while removing screen printing, or you may harm the clothing item. The iron technique is safe and works effectively for denim. Make sure the iron does not touch the fabric directly. You can also use WD-40 to remove a screen-printed design from denim. Spray the product over the print and rub it away with a soft cloth or brush.
The acetone screen-printing removal method is appropriate for hoodies. Remember to put an old towel underneath the design to protect the fabric from chemicals. Before you apply this method of screen printing removal to the hoodie, we recommend a small patch test to ensure it wouldn’t damage the fabric.
Polyester is a synthetic fabric, so be vigilant while removing screen-printed designs. It is a delicate material. So the spot-remover and iron and peel methods are not suitable. You can only remove screen printing from polyester by washing it with warm water and liquid dish soap. You will need a stiff brush to scrub the design. You can also try the nail polish remover method. Remember to test a small hidden area of the object before applying the liquid to the print to make sure it does not cause harm to the fabric.
Removing screen printing from shirts may sound challenging, but once you understand how to do it, you can do it smoothly within a few minutes. We have explained several methods of effective screen-printed design removal. You can choose any of them at your convenience. We have also described how you can erase screen printing from synthetic fabrics. Now you do not have to worry about design errors and glitches. You can rectify any issues you may face during the printing process conveniently.
We hope that the article was helpful to you. Have fun removing the old, boring designs from your shirts and creating something new. Remember to take safety measures before beginning the process to protect the clothing and yourself from harm.