How to Remove Screen Printing? (More Than 10 Ways)

Andrew B. McCutchen
Ever tried removing ink designs from fabric unsuccessfully? You may have used the wrong method. In this article, we shall provide detailed steps on how to remove screen printing you'll definitely want to try out. Keep reading!

Screen printing is a new technique of creating designs on fabric by forcing ink through the screen that holds an image to draw different designs. This method has gained popularity over time since it is easier to use and cheaper. However, sometimes you can make mistakes when using it, which must be rectified. It may seem complex, but it's manageable. Below are some methods on how to remove screen printing.

Table Of Contents

1. Use Acetone/ Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover is easily accessible at an affordable price if you don't have one in your house already. And this time, we're not using it on the nails but to get rid of a screen print. Nail polish remover contains acetone, a chemical with properties that can dissolve the ink. It is a popular criterion and is proven to be effective.

What to do:

Step 1:  Apply a small portion of the remover on a cloth and gently rub it on a small part of the print, then let it sit for some time. If you observe no damage on the fabric,

Step 2:  Continue to rub it over the remaining part from one point to the other until all the ink is removed.

Step 3:  Then, wash the fabric normally to get rid of the remover and the ink particles.

You can apply this method on; cotton fabrics, denim, and fabric that is 50% less polyester. If you're using it on freshly printed items, cold wash the item to loosen the ink before proceeding. Acetone also effectively removes ink from hard surfaces like metal and glass.

Precaution: Acetone is a strong solvent; it smells terrible and can be harmful if directly used, work in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves if you're using pure industrial acetone.

2. Use Spotting Fluid

Spotting fluid is a method that uses spot-removing guns and any ideal ink-removal liquid (you can use any ink discussed in this article on how to remove screen printing). The guns use air compressors, but some work like water toy guns. It is an effective method, especially on small spots, and is easy to use. However, you need to buy a spot-removal gun online or from a local retailer if you have no access to one and an ink removing liquid.

What to do:

Step 1:  Take the fabric from which you want to remove the screen print and place it on a flat surface. It should not be turned inside out.

Step 2:  Place an old cloth between the fabric to trap the escaping ink and prevent it from soaking on the other side of the fabric.

Step 3:  Using a gun filled with the spot-removing liquid of your choice, aim it at the spot and pull the trigger to release the liquid to the spot. The ink will dissolve and soak through the backside of the fabric.

Step 4:  Remove the old cloth soaked with ink and wash your fabric normally to get rid of the chemical solvent.

Ensure to aim the gun on the spot you want to be removed. Otherwise, the spot-removing liquid will damage the plain fabric.

3. Use Iron and Peel

Screen prints can be removed by heating. You can use a hair dryer or heat press the ink with an iron box to melt and peel onto a paper bag. This method can be messy since applying heat directly on an ink design can make it difficult to erase, so ensure to set relatively low heat on the iron box but avoid steaming. It is an ideal method for large prints.

What to do:

1. Using a dryer

Step 1:  Using a hair dryer, apply heat directly on the design, like when brow-drying hair for a couple of minutes.

Step 2:  The ink will contract and loosen.

Step 3:  You can peel it off with your fingernails or rub it with a cloth.

2. Heat pressing with an iron box.

It is the most preferred method of the two.

Step 1:  Get a large paper bag and place the shiner side of the bag against the design.

Step 2:  With your iron box (set on low heat), run it back and forth over the bag. The ink will melt and stick to the bag.

Step 3:  Then, stop heating and peel the bag, which will lift off the print.

Step 4:  If some elements remain on the fabric, peel it with fingernails or rub it with a plastic scrubber.

4. Use Sugar Scrub

For most people, sugar is just a sweetener. What if we learn a new hack on how to remove screen prints by sugar scrub? Scrub methods are used to scour prints due to their abrasive nature. Of the many scrubbing methods, sugar is the most common since it is readily available at home and is more abrasive. It is effective on freshly printed designs.

What to do:

Step 1:  Measure a tablespoon of sugar and place it directly on the print to be removed.

Step 2:  Using your hand or soft cloth, gently rub it on the design. Since sugar is granulated, the roughness of the crystals will impact the ink on the fabric peeling it out.

Step 3:  Add more sugar at intervals as you continue scrubbing until the ink is removed.

Step 4:  Finally, wash the fabric to prevent the granules from sticking to it.

5. Use Plastisol Remover

Plastisol ink removers are arguably one of the most effective methods of removing screen prints. Plastisol is an ordinary ink used in screen printing, so the chemical ink-removers designed mainly for its removal work perfectly.

What to do:

Step 1:  Put some special plastisol ink remover in a clean bowl.

Step 2:  Soak a cloth into the remover and lay it on the print, and allow it for 30-40 minutes.

Step 3:  With a soft brush, rub off the peeled design and wipe extra plastisol with a cloth.

Step 4:  Wash the fabric with detergent and lean water.

Precaution: Plastisol has a strong smell; it should be used in a well-ventilated area, and remember to wear gloves.

6. Cold Water Rinse While Printing

A cold water rinse is ideal on fresh ink and is thus commonly used by those in the screen printing business to rectify any mistakes or make changes. It is a simple method that requires cleaning the item in a washing machine or by hand with cold water and letting it dry before setting another design on it. Precaution: Avoid hot water rinse as heat can set the ink.

7. Fade with Washing

You can confirm faded designs if you check most of your old clothes with screen prints. Probably because of the multiple washes. So, if you want to remove a design from your fabric, wash it a couple of times with the right side out.

Precaution: Multiple washes may fade the fabric as well as the design.

8. Use Bleach (Baking Soda Paste)

Baking soda is a versatile ingredient. It is a mild cleaning agent, and apart from bleaching, it can be used to remove scrub prints. Besides, it's readily available in most homes and is affordable.

What to do:

Step 1:  Mix baking soda with waste in a ratio of 1:1 to form a paste.

Step 2:  Apply the solution to the design and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

Step 3:  Scrub gently around the area and then wash the fabric.

Step 4:  Repeat the same procedure until most of the ink is removed.

Step 5:  Whatever remains, can be peeled with fingernails.

9. Use Cold Cashmere

Cold cashmere works well in stain removal. It can as well be used to remove ink from fabric.

What to do:

Step 1:  Add some cold cashmere onto the screen print and allow it to soak for some time.

Step 2:  Gently rub over it with a soft cloth until the design is peeled.

Step 3:  Whatever remains, can be removed with fingernails.

Step 4:  Clean the item to get rid of the cashmere.

Precaution: Cold cashmere can be harmful. Keep it away from your eyes, and wear gloves if you have sensitive skin.

10. Use Sand Paper

Sandpaper is a cloth scrubber with an abrasive side that can be used to scrub.

What to do:

Step 1:  Place the item you want to remove the print from on a flat surface.

Step 2:  Take sandpaper with one hand while holding the item tight with the other hand.

Step 3:  On the abrasive side, scrub it over the screen print to peel the ink.

Step 4:  Sweep away the remaining particles with a soft brush.

How to Clean Screen Print from a Shirt

A shirt is two-sided. When removing ink from it using any of the above methods, first check the label on the shirt to confirm if the type of material used is suitable for any of the above methods. Then place either a cloth or cardboard between the shirt's layers to prevent ink from soaking into the other side of the shirt.

How to Remove Screen Print from a Denim

Removing ink from denim can be effectively done by a cold wash, then let the fabric dry. After that, you can peel away the print. Also, you can apply any of the methods discussed earlier in this article.

How to Remove Screen Print from Nylon

Fabric made of nylon requires special treatment due to its synthetic nature. You can use the heat and peel method though you should be careful when using this method on nylon by not letting the iron box rest on the fabric and using low heat to prevent it from melting or using WD40.

How to use the WD40:

Step 1:  Buy a can of WD40. Once you have it, spray it over the design print and let it settle for some minutes.

Step 2:  Using a cloth, rub over the design gently to remove the dissolved ink.

How to Remove Screen Print from Polyester

Polyester is another synthetic material. Most fabrics nowadays are made with 50% polyester because it is affordable. Since polyester comprises plastic, the fabric may melt if the iron and peel method is applied due to heat. It may also react to chemical solvents. Thus, they require special treatment.

What to do:

Step 1:  First, wash the fabric with warm water and squeeze a couple of drops of dish wash onto the print while still dumping.

Step 2:  Scrub with a soft brush to remove the design.

Step 3:  If this method does not work, try using acetone.

How to Remove Screen Printing Residue

Using any of the methods may leave some haze on the item. Try the following tips to remove it, especially on fresh prints.

Step 1:  Screen print another damp cloth.

Step 2:  Make a top coat of your fabric with the printed dump cloth to cure into an emulsion and heat it until dry.

Step 3:  Wash the item with pressure water or with a vacuum cleaner.

Step 4:  Air it directly on sunlight for the light pressure to remove the haze.

Step 5:  If the above method fails, use a solvent like hydrogen peroxide to remove the haze.


It's evident there are several methods to remove screen prints from fabric, metals, glass, and other items. Each method can be effective depending on the type of material it's applied on, so before you choose a method to use, check the labels on each item to determine the type of material it's made of to avoid any harm. Also, follow the safety precautions when handling chemical solvents and heat. Otherwise, with the elaborate steps we've discussed above on how to remove screen printing, you can do it with ease.

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