I’m just starting out, what do I need to clean my screens?Reclaiming screens is much more cost-effective than needing to replace them. If you are a hobbyist or just getting your screen printing business started, there are a few screen printing supplies you need. A good high-pressure water source is key. Also, an ink degradant, a stain remover, a degreaser (such as Bio-1), and an emulsion remover (like ER-130) are essential items. Check out our trial kits which give you chance to try different chemical cleaners plus the spray bottles and scrubbers. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-752-6627 to order one today.
How do I go about reclaiming screens?
There are several processes for reclaiming screens. You can follow these easy steps for manually reclaiming your screens. Don’t take shortcuts, they tend to cost you more money in the long run or even potentially damage your screens!
- STEP 1: Remove as much ink from the screen as possible. Card out the ink while it is wet and put it back in the bucket. Ink is expensive, why throw it away?
- STEP 2: Remove tape from the screens. This is usually the messiest part of the process. Wear gloves, remove the tape, and throw it away.
- STEP 3: Apply an ink degradant to both sides of your screen while in a washout booth and scrub. Make sure you use a high-quality product like Bio-4 (or any Kor-Chem ink degradant). Using the right ink degradant will quickly break down the ink without overusing the chemical.
- STEP 4: Starting from the print side, use a high-pressure water rinse on both sides spraying from the bottom to top of the screen to remove all traces of ink.
- STEP 5: Apply emulsion remover to both sides and scrub. Then, use a high-pressure water rinse work from bottom to top again.
- STEP 6: Flood rinse the screen. This last step is very crucial. Use a garden hose or equivalent, rinse screen from the top to the bottom. Use a good volume of water to rinse away any leftover chemicals or residues, especially where the mesh meets the frame.
- STEP 7: Dry the screens. Screens should now be stored in a humidity-controlled environment for drying prior to coating and reuse.
Following all the steps and directions above will make you successful in reclaiming screens. This is always very important as a properly cleaned and coated screen should give you very few, if any, break downs on press. Down press time can cost you hundreds compared to the pennies in prep time!
Problem reclaiming emulsion
My emulsion is not reclaiming, it’s coming off in strings and/or chunks.
There are generally two reasons why this happens. The most common is that the screens are under exposed. Under-exposed screens will not allow the emulsion remover to fully break down the screen printing emulsion. Try running an exposure calculator to dial in the exposure time for your emulsion.
The second potential cause is the either your dip tank solution or emulsion remover solution is too weak. This can happen when a concentrate is improperly diluted or if the dip tank solution has not been changed out frequently enough. Using proper chemicals is crucial in reclaiming screens.
Are my chemicals safe to dump down the drain?
Most Kor-Chem screen printing chemicals are drain-safe. However, the solids from ink and emulsion you are using may not be. Best practice is to filter out any ink and emulsion solids before they go down the drain. Local regulations vary so check with your municipalities for their guidelines. Email us at email@example.com for more information on our drain safe screen printing products while reclaiming screens.