How To Remove Screen Printing Efficiently From All Fabrics

How To Remove Screen Printing

We all love to flaunt exquisitely embroidered clothes. With the continuous increase in demand for designed apparel, companies have been using multiple techniques to create better and enchanting designs. For once, Embroidery digitizing is undoubtedly one of the most preferred methods to create aesthetically pleasing embroidery pieces on clothes. However, in recent years, screen printing has also gained much popularity and acceptance in the fashion industry as the preferred method to create stunning designs onto fabric. It’s an easy and consistent method that produces excellent results every time. However, there’s just one minor glitch. How to remove screen printing from the fabric?

There may be a variety of reasons you would want to remove screen print from clothes; maybe as a seller, you want to get another more popular design printed, or perhaps you are just bored of the design, and now you want to change it. Either way, it’s common for people to wonder how to remove screen printing from clothes.

Now, if you are also one of those people who wonder how to remove screen printing, there are multiple ways to achieve it. One of the easiest is rubbing the design with nail polish remover. However, there are other ways as well for how to remove screen printing, including the iron and paper bag method or sugar scrub method. Nonetheless, if you are interested in learning everything about removing screen printing from clothes, keep reading. Below we will cover all the popular and practical ways to address how to remove screen printing efficiently from all sorts of fabrics. But before we move on to discuss how to remove screen printing, let’s take a brief introduction of the technique itself – screen printing.

What is Screen Printing?

What is Screen Printing

Screen printing is one of the most preferred methods to transfer the design to fabric. The technique uses a special thick ink that doesn’t soak through the fabric, thus can be applied on all sorts of clothing, including tees, bags, hoodies, etc. Given the ease of use, consistency, and quality of screen printing, it is widely used by many commercial companies to create stunning designs on clothes. In fact, with the right tools and inks, you can also screen print a design on your clothes easily at home.

Usually, the screen printing process involves one or two ink colors, given the convenience of the process. Alternatively, if you are interested in using a multi-colored design, you may want to use the heat pressing technique. Heat pressing is another prevalent and widely used technique that is preferred for bulk design printing. The technique involves sealing the design on the fabric through heat. One advantage of using the heat pressing technique over screen printing is that it allows the use of multiple colors. Also, since both of these techniques produce the same sticky type of designs, the printed designs can be removed using the same methods.

How to remove screen printing from clothes?

remove screen printing from clothes

Ok, now that we are done with the basic introduction of the screen printing techniques, let’s move quickly to our main topic and discuss how to remove screen printing from clothes.

As mentioned earlier, there are multiple ways that can be adopted to address how to remove screen printing from clothes. The suitable method will consider the size of the design, type of fabric, and time you are willing to put it for the removal process.

So, if you are engaged in the screen printing business, it may be helpful to learn about all possible techniques to address how to remove screen printing to ensure the clean removal of designs from the clothes.

Just before we start, let’s remind you to always keep safety first while using any of the below-mentioned techniques. When working with strong chemicals, make sure to wear safety gloves, keep windows open and cover the surface with plastic sheeting.

Lastly, you should never use heat or hot water to remove the design. Since heat will only set the design permanently (with just one exception, which we will discuss later).

Now, let’s start and see some of the best methods that can help you to know how to remove screen printing from clothes.

1. Nail Polish Remover (Acetone)

Nail Polish Remover

Acetone is a common chemical that is used in nail polish removers. One of the critical characteristics of acetone is its ability to dissolve all sorts of ink designs, which is one reason it is one of the most effective how to remove screen printing methods you can use. Also, it’s incredibly convenient and cost-effective since almost all households will have a bottle of nail polish remover at home.

Even if you don’t have a nail polish remover at home, you can easily purchase acetone from the chemical store. However, just be cautious about taking proper safety procedures since it’s a strong solvent.

Now, the first thing you need to know is the type of fabric you are working with. While the method can be used for the majority of fabric types, it isn’t recommended for use on fabric with 50% or more polyester (in which case, you may want to move down to the section where we detail how to deal with synthetic fibers). Nonetheless, if you are dealing with any tough fabric like cotton or denim, you can easily proceed with the method.

Moreover, if it’s a relatively new design, it is recommended to wash the cloth in cold water, which may help loosen up the ink and open up cracks in the design.

Next, you can take a relatively large cotton ball and dip it in acetone or nail polish remover. Let the cotton ball absorb a sufficient amount of chemical before rubbing the design with it.

Rub the entire design with the acetone-dipped cotton ball before letting it sit for some time, and then proceed to peel the design.

Once you have successfully removed the screen printing, wash the cloth to remove any acetone remains on the clothes.

2. Spotting Fluid

Spotting Fluid

Spotting fluid is another popular method to address how to remove screen printing. Spot removal guns are pretty easily available in a variety of quality and price ranges in the market. Some spot guns use compressed air, whereas others may work like cheap water pistols you may have used in your kid’s birthday party.

Nonetheless, the key here is to get familiarized with the gun’s working and make sure you only aim the gun on the inked design. That’s because the spot-removing liquid from the gun may damage the plain fabric.

The spot gun uses a special chemical solvent and the pressure to dissolve the ink. However, the solvent from the gun may soak through the backside of the fabric as well. Thereby, make sure to place some scrap clothes beneath the screen printed design to ensure the solvent doesn’t get past the design and damage the fabric.

This is arguably the easiest way to learn how to remove screen printing since all you need to do is fill the spot-gun with the solvent and aim at the design and fire! Just make sure your aim is good enough to hit only the inked surface, else you may end up damaging the fabric.

Once you are done with design removal, wash the cloth thoroughly to remove any strains of chemical solvent.

3. Plastisol Remover

Plastisol Remover

Moving on with our list of how to remove screen printing from clothes, we have yet another highly popular and convenient method used in the industry.

If you haven’t heard it yet, plastisol is one of the most widely used ink for screen printing. Fortunately, you can also buy specific removers for plastisol from the market.

Just as a word of caution, the plastisol remover is a strong chemical; thereby, it is recommended to only use it in a well-ventilated area and always wear safety gloves.

Once you have purchased the remover, simply dip some soft cloth into the chemical before laying it over the design. Keep the chemical sit over the design for up to thirty minutes.

After thirty minutes, use a soft brush to scrape off the flaking bits of the ink. Next, use a soft clean cloth to remove all strains of chemicals from the fabric.

Before using the clothing again, make sure to thoroughly wash the clothing with detergent since the chemical may harm the skin and gives off a strong, pungent smell.

4. Iron and Peel

Iron and Peel

Moving on with our list of how to remove screen printing from clothes, we have the iron and peel method. This is the heat exception method for removing screen-printed designs that we talked about in the earlier section. The technique uses heat (iron) to melt the design onto a paper bag.

Usually, when we deal with how to remove screen printing from clothes, we do not recommend using any sort of heat to the screen print designs, which makes the removal process more difficult. However, this specific technique is the exception.

To successfully pull through this method, you will need a large paper bag (sort of what you get at grocery stores). Now, take a close look at the surfaces of the bad to notice one side will be relatively shinier compared to the other side. Now, keep the shiny side of the bag facing the print design before introducing the iron.

Moving on, keep the iron at a low setting and start pressing it over the paper bag back and forth. Repeat the movement several times. The idea is that the heat will force the design to stick to the shinier part of the bag, making it easy to peel off the remaining strains of ink.

5. Fade with Washing

Fade with Washing

Next in our list of how to remove screen printing from clothes comes the fade with the washing method. This may not be the most obvious and quickest fix; still, all designs do fade over time, and repeated washes will eventually fade the design.

On average, a high-quality screen print design is made to sustain up to 50 washes without any signs of fading. To add to the life of the design, it is recommended to turn the garment inside out, which saves the design even longer. Nonetheless, here we are more interested in getting rid of the design; thereby, you should wash its right side with cold water.

6. Sugar Scrub

Sugar Scrub

Last in our list of how to remove screen printing from clothes, we have another unique and simple method – the sugar scrub. This involves using sugar as a scrubbing agent to abrade the screen print designs.

This method is mainly recommended for fresh designs, which are relatively easier to remove. Also, small older print screen designs can be effectively abraded with this method.

To start, you should rinse the clothes with cold water to open up cracks and loosen the ink. Once washed, try scrubbing off any loose ink strains from the clothes. As for any remaining ink strains, take a tablespoon of sugar and start scrubbing the design using a soft cloth or even your hand.

Once you are done, wash the cloth to get rid of any sticky sugar.

How to remove screen printing from polyester fabrics?

How to remove screen printing from polyester fabrics

Removing print screen designs from synthetic fabrics is a difficult task because you can’t use any strong chemicals on these fabrics without damaging them. Thereby, when you are looking for how to remove screen printing from clothes made from polyester fabric is use dish detergent and a stiff brush.

Polyester as a cheap fabric is found in almost all sorts of apparel, including t-shirts, hoodies, bags, and other popular clothing articles. Thereby, it’s important to know the fabric of the clothing before applying any of the above-mentioned removal techniques.

The problem with removing screen printing from polyester is that the fabric doesn’t react to most chemical solvents. Also, polyester can melt under heat or get damaged due to chemicals; thereby, you can’t use iron and peel techniques on polyester clothing.

Your best bet on removing screen printing from polyester clothing is to use dish detergent and warm water. Soak the cloth in warm water before putting a little dash of dish detergent on the design. Use a stiff brush to scrub the design gently till it begins to flake.

Keep scrubbing the design with the detergent until the ink is wholly scrapped away.


Well, there you have it; everything you need to know about how to remove screen printing from shirts. Most of the techniques described above can easily be implemented in homes or at individual levels. The key to screenprint removal is to use the right technique for the right fabric. Generally, most techniques work well with the majority of the fabric types, the only exception being polyester.

Read also: The Debate Over Allowing Fabric to Breathe in Wedding Dress Preservation

How To Remove Screen Printing Efficiently From All Fabrics

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