Step-by-Step Guide to Properly Cleaning and Maintaining Screen Printing Equipment

Step-by-Step Guide to Properly Cleaning and Maintaining Screen Printing Equipment


In the world of screen printing, the quality of your prints is directly influenced by the condition of your equipment. Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential to prevent ink build-up, ensure precise prints, and extend the lifespan of your gear. This guide provides a step-by-step approach to keeping your screen printing equipment in top shape.


  1. Disassemble Your Screen Printing Equipment

Start by carefully disassembling your screen printing equipment. This typically includes removing the screen from the press, detaching any squeegees, and separating the ink wells. Be sure to consult your equipment's manual for specific disassembly instructions to avoid any damage.


  1. Clean the Screen

Cleaning the screen is perhaps the most crucial step in the maintenance process.

  • Remove Ink: Use a scraper or spatula to remove as much ink as possible from the screen. Be gentle to avoid damaging the mesh.
  • Apply Screen Cleaner: Spray or apply a screen cleaner designed for screen printing onto both sides of the screen. There are eco-friendly options available that are effective and safer for regular use.
  • Scrub Gently: With a soft brush or a special screen cleaning brush, gently scrub the screen. Pay extra attention to the mesh and the edges where ink tends to accumulate.
  • Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse the screen with water. A pressure washer can be effective, but ensure the pressure isn’t too high to avoid damaging the mesh. The screen should be free of all cleaner and ink residues.
  • Dry Completely: Leave the screen to dry in a clean, dust-free environment. You can use a fan to speed up the process but avoid using heat as it may warp the screen.


  1. Clean the Squeegees

Squeegees need to be cleaned after every use to maintain their edge and prevent ink from curing on them.

  • Remove Ink: Wipe off as much ink as possible with a rag or scraper.
  • Wash with Cleaner: Use a squeegee cleaner or a mild detergent to wash the blade and handle. Avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage the rubber or polyurethane blade.
  • Dry Thoroughly: Wipe the squeegee with a clean cloth and let it air dry completely before storing.


  1. Inspect and Clean the Platen

The platen or printing bed can accumulate ink, adhesive, and dust over time, which can affect print quality.

  • Scrape Off Residue: Carefully scrape off any dried ink or adhesive. Be careful not to gouge the platen surface.
  • Clean Surface: Wipe the platen with a damp cloth and a mild cleaner. For stubborn residues, you may use a platen cleaner or alcohol, but test it on a small area first to ensure it doesn’t damage the surface.
  • Dry and Apply Protective Layer: Once clean, dry the platen thoroughly. Apply a new layer of platen tape or adhesive to protect the surface and provide a consistent printing base.


  1. Lubricate Moving Parts

Check the press’s moving parts, including hinges and bearings. Clean them of any ink or dust build-up and apply a suitable lubricant. This prevents wear and tear and ensures smooth operation.


  1. Reassemble and Store Properly

After everything is clean and dry, carefully reassemble your equipment. Make sure all components are securely fastened. Store your equipment in a clean, dry place to prevent dust accumulation and possible rusting.

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your screen printing equipment are crucial for producing high-quality prints and extending the life of your gear. This routine may seem time-consuming at first, but it pays off by preventing issues that can lead to poor print quality or equipment failure. Establishing a regular maintenance schedule ensures that your screen printing operations run smoothly and efficiently.