[7 Effective Ways] How to Remove Screen Printing from Clothes? Update 06/2022

Screen printing is a common method of putting a pattern onto fabric for t-shirts, bags, and hoodies, but what happens if you need to remove the printed design? Perhaps you have a side business screen printing t-shirts to sell on Etsy, or perhaps you acquired a comfortable hoodie at a thrift store and want to remove the unsightly, cracked logo emblazoned on it. In either case, you’re undoubtedly curious about how to remove screen printing from garments.
The most common method for removing screen printing from garments is rubbing the design with a cotton ball soaked in nail paint remover. Other simple procedures include melting the print with an iron and a paper bag or scraping it away with a sugar scrub. To remove the design from some textiles without destroying the fabric, additional attention is required.
This post will show you how to remove screen printing from your home in seven simple steps. You’ll also learn how to handle unusual materials like polyester and how to cope with print residue.

How to Remove Screen Printing

What is Screen Printing?

On many popular items, such as t-shirts and bags, screen printing uses a strong ink that does not seep through the cloth to create a stenciled design. This method is used by many commercial companies who sell t-shirts with designs on them. With the correct tools and inks, you can screen print at home as well.
Because the process initially used tightly stretched silk mesh with the negative of the image stenciled onto it, screen printing is also known as silk screening. The printer then applies the thick ink to the mesh screen and places it on the garment. The stencil keeps the negative space from inking the tee, resulting in a design!
Because of the ease of the technique, screen printing normally only uses one or two colors of ink. If you want a t-shirt with a multi-colored design, heat pressing is a good option.
Heat pressing is another popular method for decorating t-shirts in mass these days. This entails utilizing heat to seal a transfer (typically vinyl) onto fabric. More colors can be used in these designs than in screen-printed graphics. Both procedures, however, require heat to adhere plasticky-feeling graphics to the fabric.
You can typically remove both a screen-printed and a heat transfer pattern using the same processes, depending on the type of fabric involved.

7 Effective Ways of Removing Screen Printing from Clothes

Depending on the size of the pattern, the type of cloth it is printed on, and how much time and work you are willing to put into the procedure, you can remove screen printing designs in a variety of ways.
You might want to master these skills if you make your own screen printing and need to fix smudges or flaws in the designs. Maybe you like recovering secondhand clothing and removing old logos or unappealing designs from the stuff you buy. There are a variety of reasons why you might wish to learn how to remove an undesired design.
As a general rule, safety should always come first when attempting any of these procedures. If you’re going to deal with strong chemicals, put on gloves, open a window, and cover your work surface with plastic sheeting.
Also, take in mind that the design should not be exposed to hot water or heat. The design will be permanently established by the heat. (However, as you’ll see in the “iron-and-peel” method later, there is an exception to this rule.)
Here are seven simple methods for removing screen printing from garments.

1. Acetone or Nail Polish Remover

Stretch linen

Acetone, a chemical used in nail polish remover, may dissolve even ancient and broken ink drawings. This is by far the most popular strategy, and it is frequently quite effective. Plus, many of you undoubtedly have a bottle of nail paint remover stashed in the cabinet beneath your bathroom sink, so it’s a quick fix.
You can also buy acetone, but when working with either of these powerful solvents, please follow all safety precautions.
Determine the type of cloth your design will be printed on first. If the fabric contains more than 50% polyester, skip this procedure and read down to the polyester section for some particular recommendations on dealing with synthetic fabrics.
You can safely try any of these ways if your fabric is predominantly cotton or another durable fabric like denim.
Second, if your design is new, try washing it in cold water first, as this may release the ink.
Using a cotton ball soaked in nail paint remover, carefully dab an unnoticeable section of the design. This is an excellent approach to ensure that the chemical will not affect the cloth.
Continue assuming the fabric was not harmed by the nail paint remover. More of the design should be rubbed using the cotton ball. Allow it to set for a few moments before attempting to peel away the design.
After the design has faded, wash the t-shirt or fabric item again to remove the nail polish remover and any leftover ink flecks.

2. Spotting Fluid

Stretch linen

Spot-removal weapons are available at a variety of prices and levels of efficacy. Some function using air compressors, while others are more akin to the cheap water guns you’d give out at a kid’s birthday party.
In any case, the goal is to provide you with a precise method for removing minor spots from your design. Because the spot-removing liquid will damage the plain cloth, make sure you aim the pistol at the inked design.
To cause the ink to dissolve and soak through the backside of the fabric, these guns utilize both pressure and a chemical solvent, so make sure you put an old towel or other scrap material beneath the screen-printed surface to absorb up the escaping ink.
This procedure, though, is perhaps the simplest to try. All you have to do now is load the gun with spot-removing liquid, aim it at the design flaw, and fire!
Of course, after you’ve finished, wash the cloth item to remove the chemical solvent.
The disadvantage of this method is that you must buy the gun as well as the particular liquid. Because removing huge designs with this method would be very expensive, you should usually only use it on minor faults.

3. Plastisol Remover

Stretch linen

Plastisol ink is the most common form of ink used in screen printing, and special ink removers can be purchased to properly remove it from the cloth.
Because this is a powerful substance, please work in a well-ventilated location and wear gloves!
Soak a soft cloth in the remover and place it over the design to try this procedure. Allow thirty minutes for this to sit.
Clear away the flaking portions of the design with a gentle brush next.
Wipe away any residual plastisol remover with a soft towel.
Finally, use a regular washing machine cycle with detergent to wash your garment. You don’t want to wear the item if it still has a strong chemical odor!
You might also try using rubbing alcohol or mineral spirits, however these methods are less reliable.

4. Iron and Peel

How to get print off a shirt

This method involves melting the image onto a paper bag using an iron, making it simple to peel away the residual ink.
Generally, you should avoid using heat to any design you want to remove because it will make it more difficult to remove the ink. This strategy, however, is the exception to the norm.
Locate a large paper bag, such as the kind sold at grocery stores. Take a look at the bag and you’ll see that one side is shinier than the other. Place the bag’s shinier side against the screen print design you want to get rid of.
Then, without steam, set your iron to a low setting. Then, numerous times, move the iron back and forth over the paper bag. Hopefully, the heat will cause the design to adhere to the paper bag, allowing it to peel away from the fabric!
If any of the design remains on the material, scrape away the remaining ink with your fingernails or a plastic scraper.

5. Fade with Washing

While this isn’t a quick remedy, it’s true that all designs fade over time, especially after a number of washes.
Generally speaking, the average design will last about fifty washes, especially if the garment is turned inside out before washing. Naturally, if you want to get rid of the design, turn it right side out!
The risk with this procedure is that it will fade the shirt’s color as well as the inked design.

6. Coldwater Rinse While Printing

A cold water rinse will usually erase fresh ink. This technique is usually only effective on brand-new designs. This will assist you in rescuing any slightly damaged objects as you work if you conduct your own screen printing!
Run the item through a cold rinse in your washing machine as soon as you identify a design flaw. You might also try rinsing in cold water by hand.
In any case, avoid using warm water! The ink will be set by heat.
If the cold rinse was successful, you might attempt a warm rinse and then air dry the item.

7. Sugar Scrub

Removing logo from shirt

Sugar can also be used to abrade screen print designs softly. This approach works best on new designs, but it may also work on minor sections of an existing design.
To begin, try a cold water rinse to see if it helps. If any of the design is left, sprinkle a tablespoon of normal sugar over it. Then carefully rub the sugar into the design with your hand or a soft cloth.
Of course, once you’re done, you’ll want to wash the item again to remove all of the sticky sugar!

How to Remove Screen Printing From a Shirt

To remove screen printing from a garment, you can use any of the seven ways listed above, but there are a few other options to consider.
First, look inside the garment for the manufacturer’s label to see what kind of fabric it is made of. Some t-shirts are made entirely of cotton, while others are made up of a mix of cotton and polyester. If your shirt includes more than 50% polyester, you should definitely attempt the dish detergent procedure detailed later in this article in the section on removing screen printing from polyester.
Make sure there’s a gap between the front and back of the shirt as a second t-shirt tip. Between the layers, you can put a piece of thick cardboard or an old towel. This will keep any ink from soaking through to the shirt’s back.

How to Remove Screen Print from a Jersey

When it comes to removing old lettering from a jersey, the nail polish removal approach usually works fairly well.
Using a cotton ball soaked in nail paint remover, carefully rub the design. Rub the flaking lettering away with a gentle brush or cloth.
Instead of directly on the design, consider putting the nail polish remover to the inside of the material. Allow for some time to pass before gently peeling away the old letters.
This method also works great with heat-set vinyl lettering!

How to Remove Print from Denim

A cold wash followed by a hot dryer cycle is one approach to remove screen printing from denim. Try to peel away the old design after this procedure.
Any of the seven approaches outlined before may also work for you.
However, if all you want to do is cover over the existing design, you might find it easier to sew on an embroidered patch over it. Alternatively, you might try heat-setting a fresh vinyl design over the previous one.

How to Remove Print From a Hoodie

How to remove print from hoodie

Using the nail polish remover procedure, you can generally remove a screen print pattern from a sweatshirt. Here are a couple more ideas about how to work with hoodies.
Before you begin, make sure you have a buffer inside the hoodie. It’s best to use a thick piece of cardboard. (If you don’t, the ink will soak through and onto the back of the hoodie.)
After that, gently rub the printed design with a cotton ball soaked in nail paint remover.
Peel away the wet design with a soft cloth or brush.
Finally, to remove the nail paint remover, wash the sweatshirt in a regular wash cycle with detergent.
The fabric of many hoodies these days contains synthetic fibers. As a result, nail polish remover may harm the material. Before you get started, test the remover on a small, inconspicuous corner of the sweatshirt.

How to Remove Screen Printing from Polyester

When it comes to synthetic fabrics, dish soap and a stiff brush are your best chance for removing designs from polyester. You’re probably aware that many everyday things, such as t-shirts, hoodies, and shoulder bags, include a significant percentage of polyester these days due to its low cost.
Because this synthetic cloth is comprised of plastic, removing printed images requires extra care. Chemical solvents, such as spot removers, are unlikely to work well with polyester. Don’t use the iron-and-peel approach on a polyester shirt since it can melt under high heat.
Washing a polyester item in warm water and squirting a dot of dish detergent over the design while it is still damp is your best bet for eradicating a design. Scrub the design with a hard brush.
The procedure is working if it starts to flake away! Continue scraping until all of the ink has been removed.
If the dish detergent doesn’t work, you might want to try the acetone or other procedures mentioned before. However, these chemicals may cause damage to the polyester fabric.

How to Get Screen Print off Nylon

Screen printing on nylon can be removed using WD40 or an iron. Another synthetic fabric that requires particular treatment to erase printed graphics without causing damage to the fabric is nylon. The good news is that there is a simple solution that you most likely already have!
Find a can of WD40 and use it to erase an undesired design from a nylon item. Allow to dry for a few minutes after spraying this liberally over the pattern.
Then, using an old towel, massage the design vigorously. Ideally, the design will disintegrate and be wiped away by the towel!
WD40 is primarily a solvent that can effectively erase ink from a variety of surfaces, including metal and hard plastic.
On nylon fabric, you can use the iron-and-peel approach, but be careful not to let the iron rest directly on the cloth. When heated to a high temperature, it will melt.

How to Remove Logos From Clothing

You can quickly remove logos from garments by wiping them with a cotton ball coated in nail paint remover. The leftover ink must then be peeled away with your fingernails or a mild plastic scraper.
Keep in mind, however, that once the logo is removed, the clothes may not appear as good. It’s possible that the cloth where the logo used to be is brighter and newer than the remainder of the shirt. The fabric may also warp slightly as a result of the nail paint remover.

How to Clean Screen Printing Residue

If a bit of ink residue remains on the cloth after using one of the treatments indicated above, you might want to try a cold rinse or a last sugar scrub before giving up.
If you’re working with a new print and haven’t yet set the design, give it a quick cold wash to see if any undesired ink comes off.
If that doesn’t work, or if the design is ancient, try the sugar scrub recommended previously.
A teaspoon or two of sugar rubbed gently over the design can release the residual ink from the fabric fibers, allowing you to rub it away with a soft cloth or your hand.
To rinse out the sugar, repeat the process with a regular washing machine cycle.

Other Tips

If all of the strategies listed above seem like too much effort, try the following suggestions.
One important concept to remember is that tiny faults are easier to correct than large ones. To erase a design that covers the entire front of a sweatshirt or t-shirt, for example, you’ll need a lot of spot remover. Do you really want to spend that much money on remover or scrape away at the design for that long?
You might want to save your time and effort for little splotches that can be dabbed away with a cotton ball and nail paint remover.
Second, how much is the t-shirt or hoodie worth in terms of time? You could wish to toss out the wrecked item and start from scratch. Save the garment for cozy wear-around-the-house moments and make a new one to wear in public if you don’t like the idea of wasting it. Of course, you might donate or give the damaged garment to your children to use as pajamas!
Alternatively, if removing the design will take too long, you could consider replacing it with a new one. Heat transfers work well for this, and you might be able to seal a vinyl pattern over an old screenprint design.
Finally, if you screen-print properly, it’s probably cheaper to buy new shirts or hoodies and reprint instead of removing all the damaged prints from a failed bulk batch. Consider how long it would take to repair the damaged print on ten, twenty, or even a hundred t-shirts.

Conclusion

There are various efficient methods for removing screen printing from garments. A cotton ball rubbed into the design with nail paint remover works well. A printed design can also be successfully removed by abrading it with a handful of sugar.
Professional tools, such as a spot-removal cannon that applies pressure and chemicals that remove a design from the fabric, are also available.
Have you used any of the seven screen printing processes outlined here on a design? Which did you find to be the most effective? Please let us know in the comments section below!

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