How To Remove Screen Printing from Clothes [6 Effective Ways]
Screen printing is extremely popular for businesspeople hobbyists alike for personalizing t-shirts, hoods, and other types of clothes.
However, one of the issues you’ll have to put up with this method is making mistakes from time to time. And forcing you to remove the screen printed designs from your clothes to re-do it correctly.
This guide will take you through various methods you can use to easily remove screen printing from your clothes.
We don’t guarantee that a specific method will work for you, so you should try various solutions to see which one works for you.
Method #1:Get the Printing off With a Nail Polish Remover
If you've ever heard about removing screen print from shirt with acetone and wondered how it’s done, this is your part.
This is one of the most popular methods known to all screen printers all over due to its high effectiveness and affordability. You can use nail polish remover (it contains the acetone compound). Or you can get acetone itself, but make sure you observe all the safety precautions recommend when dealing with this strong solvent.
Regarding material compatibility, this method will work with clothes with more cotton or 100% cotton and tough materials like denim.
For a cloth that’s 50% polyester, you might want to skip this method and try other alternative methods discussed in this guide.
How to Use Acetone to Remove Screen Printing:
Step 1. Give the Cloth a Cold Wash
If you’re dealing with a cloth that has just been printed on, you want to first give it a cold wash. This will help wash off the ink as well as stop it from solidifying further and becoming hard to remove. Avoid using hot water for this step since it will only make the ink stick more.
Step 2. Dry the Cloth
Next, you want to dry that cloth in your dryer. Be sure to set the dryer to a High heat setting to dry the shirt and at the same time help loosen up some of the ink. Afterward, get your cloth out and use your fingertips to peel off the loose ink.
Step 3. Apply Acetone to The Print
Now it’s time to use the acetone or your nail polish remover. Apply a sufficient amount of this compound on a cotton ball and then gently dab it on the design with a little force. Use a little force but avoid rubbing it in to keep your shirt from getting damaged.
Get rid of all the loosened-up ink with your hands.
Step 4. Wash the Cloth Again
Assuming you have removed all the ink, you’ll need to give your hoodie or shirt another wash, this time following the recommended cleaning instructions. This will help get rid of any acetone residue remaining on your shirt.
Dry the shirt using the high heat setting to remove any remaining ink traces.
Step 5. Repeat the Process (if Necessary)
If some of the ink is still hanging around, repeat this process (from Step 3) and see if the remaining design will come off your shirt. However, we don’t advise you to repeat this process more than once. Doing too many times might give the acetone sufficient time to damage your clothing.
Method #2: Iron and Plastic Bag Method for Removing Screen Printing
If you’re removing screen printing design from a garment that is sensitive to chemicals, this is an alternative method for you.
The method simply involves using heat to transfer the design from the fabric to a plastic paper bag, after which you can easily peel the remaining ink.
You shouldn’t iron the fabric directly since this will only make the ink stick more and make it harder to remove. Instead, place a paper bag over the design first as explained in the steps below.
Directions for Using iron to Remove Screen Printing:
Step 1. Lay the Fabric on Your iron Board
Lay the fabric in such a way that the screen printed design facing upward. If you don’t have an iron board, you can also use a table or any other surface that’s flat and solid.
Step 2. Lay the Paper Bag Over the Shirt
Look for a large paper bag such as the one you use when visiting the grocery store. Carefully examine to see which is side is shinier than the other.
Got it? Great! Put the paper over the design in such a way that the shiny side is against the design.
Step 3. Iron the Cloth
Now grab your iron and set it to low without steam. Run it back and forth over the paper bag severally. The heat will motivate the design to stick to the shiny side of the paper bag.
Peel away the paper from the fabric and see if it has managed to pull out any ink.
Assuming most of the ink has come off your fabric, you can then use a plastic scraper to get rid of the remaining bits of ink from the cloth.
NOTE: This method works best with non-heat-sensitive fabric materials. If you’re dealing with materials like nylon or polyester, you shouldn’t avoid this method to prevent your garment from burning. We’ll discuss a safer method for polyester clothes later in the guide. (Keep that tab open!)
Method #3: Get a Plastisol Remover
As you already know, plastisol is one of the most popular types of inks used in screen printing. This makes sense why a good plastisol remover will help you easily get rid of that screen printing on your fabric.
Before we get into more details, you should know that plastisol removers come formulated with strong chemical ingredients and you should only use them in well-ventilated areas.
Plus, you should put in protective gear when working with these products.
How You Will Use Plastisol Remover:
Step 1: Soak a soft fabric in the plastisol remover and apply it to the design you want to remove from your fabric. Let the remover sit for up to 30 minutes to give it enough time to work its magic.
Step 2: Now grab a soft bristles brush and use it to clear the flaking bits that have been loosened up from the design after applying the remover.
Step 3: Take a soft cloth and use it to wipe away all the remaining plastic remover product from your shirt to prevent it from damaging your fabric.
Step 4:Lastly, wash the cloth using regular washing machine cycle and a soft detergent. This will help get rid of any remaining chemicals and make your garment safe to wear.
Method #4: Use a Spot Remover Gun to Remove Screen Printing
The method is great for precisely removing small spots on your garments without affecting the rest of the fabric. However, you don’t want to use it to remove a large design as it might turn out costly for you.
You’ll need to invest in a spot gun remover and a chemical solvent for you to successfully use this method.
Luckily, there are multiple guns out there from different manufacturers, so you should have an easy time getting one that will meet your unique designs.
How to Use a Spot Remover Gun for Screen Printing:
Step 1:Fill the gun with the spot removing liquid. This is as easy as opening the container, pouring in a sizeable amount of liquid for your needs, and then closing it up.
Step 2:Next, set your gun to sharp stream nozzle setting and aim your gun at the spot you want to remove. Hold the gun at around 5 inches to ensure you precisely hit the target without being too close to damage the garment. Fire the gun to release the juice!
Step 3: Finally, wash your fabric when the spot is gone. Wash using regular cycle to help remove all the remaining chemical solvent on your shirt.
Other Tips for Removing Screen Printing from Clothes:
Though we have listed the 4 MAIN methods for removing screen printing from garments, there are additional methods that you can also try. The methods are super-easy to do and use already available materials and supplies in your home.
We don’t guarantee you that these methods will turn out effective. But hey, you lose nothing in trying them out!
# Sugar Crub
The sugar you use in your kitchen can also make a good screen print ink removal agent. The method works well on freshly printed designs, though it might work on older designs as well.
Measure a tablespoon of regular sugar and apply it to the design. Use your hand or a soft piece of cloth to gently rub the design with the sugar. You can repeat the process as many times as you please to get rid of the entire design.
Remember to wash your garment afterward to get rid of the sticky sugar.
TIP: We advise you to use this method in conjunction with the cold water rinse method (we’re about to discuss it below). Start with the cold rinse and then finish up with a sugar scrub.
# Cold Water Rinse
If you’ve just screen printed fabric and then realized you made a mistake with the design, you can try quickly giving the garment a cold water rinse in your washing machine.
Or you can simply rinse it in cold water by hand.
This method is based on the idea that cold water will help wash off the fresh ink. It will also help delay the process of the screen printing ink bonding with your fabric fibers.
Whatever you do, avoid using warm or hot water for this method. This will only make things by enabling the ink to solidify quickly on your garment.
How do You Remove a Print from a Hoodie?
Removing a screen print from your hoodie is simple. You can use any of the methods described provided it’s safe for the hood material.
However, the method we urge you to try on your hood is using the nail polish remover. But keep in mind that it has its downsides too can damage your hood or even cause discoloration.
To use this method, apply a small drop of your nail polish remover to a hidden area of your hood and see how it reacts with the material. If it doesn’t cause any damage or discoloration to it, it means it’s safe to use and you can proceed with it.
Make sure you’re working in a well-ventilated area, with your eye protection and gloves on. Insert a piece of cardboard or any other similar stuff inside your hood to ensure the polish remover doesn’t cross to the other side of your hood.
Direction for Removing Screen Printing from a Hoodie:
Step 1:Apply the nail polish remover to the print you want to remove and leave it to soak for up to 30 minutes.
Step 2: Use a soft rag or brush to gently rub away the now loosened up design after the 30 minutes waiting time is over. You want to be a bit faster when doing this step to prevent damage to your hoodie.
Step 3: When all the ink has come out, clean your hoodie by following the recommended washing instructions.
If you find any bits of screen printing ink still remaining on your hoodie, repeat this process
But don’t repeat it more than once due to the harsh nature of chemical compounds found in the nail polish removers.
How to Remove Screen Printing from Polyester?
If you’re planning to remove screen printing from polyester material, then you can this is a plastic-based material that’s heat-sensitive and you don’t want to use anything to do with heat or ironing.
A safer method of dealing with screen printing on polyester is to use a dish detergent plus a stiff brush.
Step 1:You first wash your polyester cloth in warm water and then apply a drop of your dish detergent onto the design while it’s still damp.
Step 2:With the help of a stiff brush, scrub at the design to loosen off the ink.
If you notice the design starting to flake away, this means it’s working. Continue with the scrubbing until you get out all the ink from the fabric.
What if the dishwasher method doesn’t work? Well, in this case, you need to switch to an alternative method. You can use the nail polish remover technique.
You can also try the other methods we mentioned above but keep in mind they’re risky as the chemicals can easily damage your polyester garment.
How to Remove Screen Printing from Nylon?
Just like polyester, nylon also requires special care due to its high sensitivity to heat. Some chemicals can also damage this material.
A safe way you can use to remove ink from a nylon shirt without damaging it involves using iron. But you should be careful about how you use it to avoid damaging the heat-sensitive material.
Steps for removing screen printing from nylon:
Step 1:Wash your fabric in cold water. Don’t be tempted to use any hot or warm water setting for this method.
Step 2:Lay the damp cloth on your ironing board or any other flat and hard surface, with the screen printing facing up. Lay a paper bag over the print. Avoid using paper bags lined with shiny film.
Step: Now iron over the paper bag, making sure you cover the entire area of the design. If all goes as expected, the ink should transfer onto the paper bag. Once your first bag has taken enough, use another bag until you get all the ink off the shirt.
Step 4: Repeat the process until you have removed all the screen printing from the fabric. But make sure you follow our instructions above to ensure a safe ink removal. Avoid pressing your iron directly into the heat nylon fabric.
How to Remove Print from Denim
Removing screen printing form denim is not a difficult task. Just shock the denim in a cold wash followed by a hot dryer cycle. After this step, try to scrap away the print.
You may apply the above six method and get success.
Well, if you just want to hide the old design then sew an embroidered patch over the offending design. You are done..
Can Screen Printing Come off?
A screen printed design doesn’t come off easily. After countless years of existence, screen printing still stands out as a top method for personalizing garments because it delivers high-quality, brilliant, and durable designs.
The designs can stand up to rough machine washing and retain their brightness and quality after many washes.
BUT that doesn’t mean that screen printing is 100% non-removable.
By employing the screen printing removal techniques we have discussed in this guide, you can easily remove an old design or any mistakes you make during screen printing.
One of the most popular methods is using acetone or nail polish remover and is used by both hobbyists and professionals.
Just try any of the recommended methods and see which one works for you.
Now you have it all! These are the most effective methods used to remove screen printing from clothes. Whether you want to scrap that old design from your hoodie that no longer excites you or you made a mistake when screen printing onto that shirt, these methods will help you completely remove the screen printing ink and re-print your cloth as you desire.
Remember that some of these methods involve the use of hazardous chemicals and you should use them with caution. The material of your cloth should also dictate the most suitable ink removal method to use.