How To Get Melted Plastic Off Heat Press: Detail Guide
The high heat that comes out of your heat press machine facilitates high-quality transfers to your garments. But it also has an ugly side which is—it can easily melt plastic or synthetic stuff on your heat platen.
Melted plastic mess on your heat press is also hard to remove. You’ve probably tried scrapping the residue but realized it won’t go away easily.
And you started wondering if there’s an easy solution to get the melted plastic off heat press?
In this article, we have shared a couple of methods that are easy to use and easy on your pocket to help you knock the melted plastic off your heat press.
Different Ways to Get Melted Plastic off Heat Press Platen:
We have researched a lot in heat press users’ forums, blogs, and YouTube channels, and gathered a wealth of useful info on the melted plastic issue. Using this info, we have been able to compile the following methods of getting rid of melted plastic from your heat press.
But we don’t guarantee that a specific method will work for your machine. In other words, you’ll need to try the different methods to find out which one works for you.
Let’s get a close look at these top solutions…
Method #1: Check the Manufacturer Cleaning Instructions
Yes, sometimes you can get help in places where you least expect it!
The manufacturer behind your machine may have already had enough of people dealing with melted material on their machines and decided to include some helpful tips on how to deal with it.
If it comes from the manufacturer, then it’s most likely an effective solution you can’t afford to ignore. What’s more, they could have specific products they recommend you to use when cleaning their models.
Always start by consulting your user manual on how to deal with melted plastic.
Method #2: Use EZ-Off iron Cleaner
Another helpful solution for cleaning residue resulting from melted plastic off your heat press machine is using an EZ-Off iron cleaner.
The cleaning solution is incredibly easy to use and highly effective at cleaning all types of heating platens.
But make sure you use this cleaning product in a well-ventilated area because it produces fumes that are unpleasant (though it is non-toxic).
How to Use EZ-Off cleaner on Melted Plastic:
Step 1: If your machine is already turned off, power it on and heat it up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 2: Next, apply a small amount of the cleaner onto a cotton rag or ball. use the rag to apply the cleaner onto the problematic area. Use small circular motions to rub the residue and do it in the direction of the gain of the platen metal.
Switch to a new piece of rag once the current one becomes soiled with the melted plastic coming and continue with the removal process.
Step 3: When you have removed all the residue on the platen, use a clean soft cloth to wipe out and finish up the cleanup.
NOTE: If you can’t get EZ-Off, you can use any other iron cleaner available. But take time to research more about the cleaner to ensure it works for you.
Method #3: Cleaning Chemicals
You can also enlist eh help of popular cleaning chemicals like acetone and rubbing alcohol will also help remove the mess from your heat press.
However, these two cleaning solutions are highly flammable and you shouldn’t use them on your heat press when it’s still hot.
In general, you should avoid using flammable cleaning solutions on your machine, especially if you’re cleaning it when it’s still hot.
Method #4: Cook the Melted Plastic
This method works based on the idea that what melts on can also melt off.
If none of the above methods seem to work, try increasing the temperature to a high to melted the melted plastic mess for easy removal.
Once the mess becomes melted and turns to liquid form, use a soft cloth to wipe it off your heat platen.
Since you’ll be using extremely high temperatures for this part, you must put on heat-resistant gloves to avoid getting burnt.
Additional Tips for Dealing with Plastic Reside on Heat Press:
Tip #1. Act as Fast as Possible
This makes it easy for you to remove plastic mess from your heat press. We highly advise you to work on the residue as fast as you notice it. This is because continuing to expose it to high heat will only cause it to continue “cooking” and make it more challenging to get out.
Tip #2. Be Gentle on Your Heat Press
Though we have mentioned this earlier, it is worth repeating. Don’t use rough techniques on your heat platen as these will only damage the protective rubber coating on the platen or even cause scratch marts.
Scratches are notorious for interfering with temperature and pressure aspects, which are essential for proper transfers in a heat press.
Be as gentle as you can. Don’t use the rough scrubbing pads. Steer off any cleaning solutions with harsh chemicals or grit. Use a piece of a soft cloth. Just be gentle!
Tip #3. Always Turn off The Machine Before Working on it
Don’t get too obsessed with getting rid of the mess that you forget about your own safety.
Working on your machine when it’s 350- to 400 degrees F super-hot is clearly a suicide mission and you risk sustaining serious burns.
So, how do you go about it? First, turn off the machine immediately you notice a mess. Next, allow it to cool down a bit, but not completely. A warm heat press will make the residue even easier to remove.
Always make sure you put on protective (heatproof) gloves, such as your oven gloves, when handling a hot heat press.
Tip #4. Don’t Use Any Flammable Cleaners on Your Heat Press
You should only use non-flammable cleaning solutions on your heat press.
Yes, I know we mentioned acetone and rubbing alcohol as good alternatives for removing melted plastic.
But we also mentioned that if you plan to use them, then you’ll have to give your machine time to completely cool down to prevent possible fire incidences.
We’d suggest trying other cleaning methods and use acetone and alcohol chemicals ad your last resort if everything else fails.
Tip #5. Avoid Scrapping the Heat Platen
As much as scrapping off the melted plastic might seem like a good way to get rid of the residue, we caution you against using it.
This is because it will most likely end up scrapping off the Teflon sheet and leave your heat platen exposed, increasing the chances of residue formation.
Using metal-based scrappers is even worse because it will easily scratch the heating platen and affect how your machine works.
Measures to Prevent Melted Plastic on Your Heat Press
They say prevention is better than cure. And that isn’t any different when it comes to dealing with melted plastic on your heat press.
In most cases, the residue left out on your platen during printing is usually do mistakes in printing or simply incorrect use of your machine.
Below are some helpful tips that you should follow every time you use your machine to print on lactic and generally all other heat-sensitive materials to avoid leaving behind any mess.
Learn to Use Your Heat Press Machine Correctly
One of the simplest measures you can employ to prevent plastic residue formation is learning to use your heat press correctly.
As we went through forum comments from various heat press users, we noticed that most of the melted plastic on these machines is formed as a result of mistakes in either using the machine, positioning of the substrate, wrongly using the transfer paper, etc.
If you can take time to master how to operate your heat press machine, you’ll be able to significantly minimizes the chances of melted plastic.
Always Ensure You Have the Teflon Sheet in Place
Most of the problems of burnt material on heat platen can be avoided if you just equip your machine with a Teflon sheet.
It is always easier to clean a Teflon sheet than a heat press platen. And in case the sheet gets soiled, you can always throw it away and use a new one.
Teflon sheets are super-affordable and usually come in bundles, so throwing one isn’t really a big deal.
Avoid Overexposing the Material to Heat
Another reason why you’re dealing with a plastic mess on your heat press is that you overexposed the material you’re heat pressing.
Overexposure simply means forcing more heat to a substrate than it can handle, forcing it to break down (or melt, in other words) and solidify on your heat platen.
Knowing the exact amount of transfer period needed for your project will help save you from the mess. Most transfer papers include the recommended transfer time for various materials.
Also, most of the modern heat press models now come with a timer that lets out a loud beep to let you know when the transfer process is over so that you remove your substrate and prevent overexposing it to temperature.
Some models even feature an automatic shutoff function and will automatically go off the moment the timer reads “00.”
Clean Your Machine Occasionally
Ignoring small spots of residue might not look like a big problem for now and you can easily convince yourself to ignore them.
But you know what will happen? More and more spots will keep happening and before you know, they’ve grown into a big mess that will take quite a lot of effort to get off your platen.
Again, your user manual will come in handy in this case. Check whether the manufacturer offers you any cleaning instructions specific to your model.
But if your model didn’t come with any cleaning instructions, just use your easy and quick guide below for routine heat press cleaning:
Cleaning melted plastic residue from your heat press machine is never an easy job, especially when you have no idea how to go about it. This guide has just equipped you with some helpful solutions that you can apply to help you completely remove this residue and continue using your machine. Make sure you follow the precautions we have discussed in this guide when printing on plastic and heat-sensitive materials in the future to prevent incidents of melted plastic and, thus, avoid the cleanup hassle.