The good thing about water-based inks is that they do not contain phthalates and are water-soluble. You don’t need high–grade solvents to clean the screens, just water. But when you leave water-based inks on the screen mesh to dry, it makes the screen especially tricky to clean. You’ll have to be careful not to ruin the screen and the stencil.
How do you remove the ink when it’s dried up?
Managing screen cleaning depends on how you clean and the screen wash you use. To get the most benefits of water-based inks, the idea is control. Use safer, eco-friendly screen wash or less-caustic alternatives that will not only remove the ink but will protect your screen mesh as well.
Firstly, learn about harsh solvents. These may be lacquer thinners, screen opener solvents, and other products that are high in toxicity and caustic. For the safety of the screen and screen-printers using them, avoid these toxic solvents. Secondly, look for safer screen wash options like Franmar AquaWash Water–based Ink Remover available from screenprintingsupplies.com.au
Here are the basics on how you can make screen cleaning more manageable:
- Prepare your screen and several dry rags.
- Take your screen and the rags to the washout booth. The area will make it easier for you to clean the screen.
- Using the dry rags, wipe off excess ink that’s built up around the screen. Start with the thinner areas as they tend to dry very quickly. Clean off as much ink as possible and wipe the rag from top to bottom.
- If the ink can’t be eradicated using water and water–resistant emulsion, remove the remaining ink by spraying or applying a screen wash or stain remover. Choose the milder options that wipe the ink quickly without causing damage to your screen.
You can also opt to soak the screen with a haze remover but it’s more caustic and aggressive. You need to pair it with a pressure washer, applying the highest possible pressure to prevent the haze from remaining on the screen.
While highly toxic solvents can remove ink stains with less effort, they are not a safe choice. Always look for safer alternatives. At best, the practice is to clean screens right away. This way, you’ll only need water to clean the screens.
As a guide to cleaning water0-based inks off screens straight away, checkout this video ‘Washing PERMASET ink off Screens’
Water-based inks are eco-friendly and easy to use. To learn more about the PERMASET® range of water-based inks for screen printing, accessories and tools, you can shop here, or Contact PERMASET via this form.