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You won’t be able to stamp out good quality designs and messages if your rubber stamps are not maintained properly. Unwanted ink transfer, unclear designs, and dry clogged ink can turn anyone off, so it’s always better to keep your stamps nice and clean.
To clean your rubber stamp, you should always check the cleaning instructions at the back of the box.
But, if you are anything like me and have thrown out the box, don’t worry. I have got you covered. Here is a detailed guide on how to keep your rubber stamp fresh as new.
7 Methods to Clean Your Rubber Stamps
Method 1: Show your stamp some gentle care with baby wipes
Baby wipes are a gentle way to clean your rubber stamp without damaging it. It is not harsh and preserves the longevity of the stamp.
The only con is that it isn’t as effective in cleaning stains from permanent inks and it is difficult to completely clean the crevices using just a baby wipe.
Step 1– Take a baby wipe and fold it up. You can place the folded baby wipe on a towel so that it can absorb any drips.
Step 2– Now, press the stamp firmly on the baby wipe to remove the ink. You can also use a baby wipe to gently clean the crevices but remember no harsh scrubbing. Treat the rubber stamp like a baby’s soft skin and gently rub the baby wipe on it.
Small stamps can be cleaned easily this way. If the wipe dries out, moisten it with few water droplets or use a new one.
Step 3– For larger stamps, a box of baby wipes with a removable lid can come in handy. Press the stamp on the stack of baby wipes after removing the lid. Repeat the process until the stamp is clean.
Step 4– Lastly, pat your stamp on your paper towel or washcloth to blot any moisture. Dry out the stamp so that no moisture from the wipe remains on the stamp.
Tip: You can wrap a manicure brush or toothbrush with a single baby wipe to reach the inner crevices of the stamp.
Points to remember:
- Never store a moist rubber stamp. Always dry it out first.
- Alcohol is bad for you but it’s worse for your stamp. It dries out the stamp and damages it. Don’t use baby wipes that have alcohol.
- Aloe vera found in many varieties of wipes can make the stamp pale or brittle. So avoid that too.
- Some wipes may leave lint on the stamp. You can press it on sticky tape to remove the lint.
Method 2: Use Good Old Soap and Water
Soap and water can clean most things including your rubber stamp.
Step 1– Dip your paper towel in a mild soap or detergent mixed with water.
Step 2– Gently clean your rubber stamp by scrubbing it.
Step 3– Air dry your stamp.
Points to remember:
- Water is a life-giver but not when it comes to rubber stamps. Don’t submerge your rubber stamp in water or place it under running water. Water softens the wood and the adhesive that sticks the stamp to the block will start to degrade and come off.
- Rub gently with the paper towel. Harsh scrubbing can detach the rubber from the stamp block.
Method 3: Brush Your Stamp
Brush your stamp with a gentle toothbrush to keep it clean.
a) Brushing with oil
Step 1– For very dirty rubber stamps, you can dip your toothbrush in vegetable oil and gently scrub the surface.
Step 2– Remove any oil residue by spraying the surface with a stamp cleaner.
Step 3– Then, use a baby wipe to clean the surface.
Point to remember: Ensure all the oil is cleaned from the stamp, otherwise, it can get sticky.
b) Brushing with soap and water
You can also brush with soap and water for mild cleaning and then dry the stamp.
Method 4: Show Some Love with a Cleaning Solution
Pamper your rubber stamp with a cleaning solution made exclusively to remove water-based pigments and archival inks.
Step 1– To eliminate excess ink, press the stamp onto a piece of scrap paper.
Step 2– Dip a paper towel in your cleaning solution to wipe away dirt and ink from the stamps.
Step 3– If the dirt is stubborn and isn’t willing to go away easily, you can use a toothbrush to clean as well. If your cleaning solution is equipped with a roll-on applicator top or scrubber, that’s even more convenient.
Step 4– Lastly, air dry the stamp.
Point to remember: It is best to buy a cleaning solution from the same brand as the ink.
Method 5: Scrub It Clean with a Scrubber Pad
You can also use a scrubber pad designed specifically to scrub clean nasty dirt and stubborn inks. Buy a double-sided stamp scrubber pad that has bristles on the left as well as right sides.
Step 1– On one side of the pad, spray some cleaning solution.
Step 2– Rub the stamp into the wet scrubber pad gently. Carefully, clean the crevices and finer parts of the imprint.
Step 3– To dry your stamp, wipe it on the other side of the scrubber pad that is dry and hasn’t been used. Always use this side for drying and the other for cleaning your stamp even in the future. Mark the side to help you remember which is to be used for drying.
Step 4– Press your stamp on a piece of scrap paper to ensure there is no ink transfer. In case there is ink transfer, clean it once more.
Tip: You can make a homemade scrubber with car absorbent towels by cutting them into small pieces and then putting them one above the other. They should be put inside an airtight container.
You can also use car sponges or scrubbers or a paint edging pad as well.
Points to remember:
- Place a blotting material to catch any drips while cleaning your stamp with a homemade scrubber.
- Mark the drying and cleaning sides of your scrubber with tape.
Method 6: Sponge it Clean
You can remove water-soluble inks with a cellulose sponge and some dish soap and water solution. A cellulose sponge won’t leave lint on your stamps and thus is well-suited for this job.
Points to remember:
- The sponge should be stored in a plastic container with a lid.
- It should be cleaned with water occasionally.
Method 7: Clean Dust with a Sticky Tape
The adhesive layer of the sticky tape is effective in catching the dust. You have to press the stamp on the tape to clean the dust. You can then proceed with any of the methods mentioned above for cleaning ink.
Why should you clean your rubber stamp?
I know a simple reason like “cleanliness is next to godliness” isn’t enough to motivate us lazy humans to do this boring chore. So, here are 3 concrete reasons why you should clean your rubber stamp.
- To prevent your ‘Shipter’ from becoming ‘Shiter’- I had a friend working in a shipping company called Shipter who once told me that they had stamped ‘Shiter’ instead of ‘Shipter’ on an important document. The P in their stamp was caked in ink so it didn’t imprint on the paper!
- To prevent ink from transferring onto your next project.
- To avoid color mixing.
What’s the difference between a dirty stamp and a stained stamp?
Why should you care about this? Well, because a stained stamp needn’t be cleaned. Some stamps become stained over time. These stamps shouldn’t be scrubbed as they are already clean and scrubbing may damage its surface.
A dirty stamp, on the other hand, needs to be cleaned otherwise it will ruin your ink pad and you won’t get sharp designs.
How can you maintain your rubber stamps?
- Try to use pigment-based or dye-based ink with your rubber stamp.
- To clean the surface ink, tap the stamp on a waste paper after every use.
- Dye ink stains the stamp, so clean it immediately after using dye ink.
- Remember the stamp is delicate like a baby’s skin, so don’t use products with harsh chemicals, acetone, bleach, oil-based products, or hot water.
How should you store your rubber stamps?
- Don’t store your stamp in a wicker basket or colander or any place with uneven surfaces as it may leave your stamp dented and damaged.
- Don’t stack stamps one above the other as the weight may damage the stamps below.
- Don’t store them in a place where they are pressed against metal or wood.
- Direct sunlight makes the stamp brittle—store it in a cool, dry, flat place without much heat or humidity.
- Don’t store them in cardboard boxes as the contact between cardboard and rubber might dry the stamps out.
Now you have a detailed guide to help you with all your rubber stamp cleaning woes. Remember to use these tips the next time you clean. Like most things in life, rubber stamps also require proper care for longevity. Pamper it so that it always looks new.