Tell me your clean up process…

Step by step on the “how”, what brand of cleaner, what type of tags, etc. Thanks!

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Roller wash from NA graphics in a spray bottle and scrap rags. unprinted tshirts work best, but I’ve used just about everything. Terrycloth is the only one I’ve found useless.

Give the ink disk and rollers a quick spray of the roller wash and put newsprint or other scrap paper on the ink. Run the rollers up and down. Repeat until you hardly get any ink.

Spray the ink table and clean with a used rag. Put the rollers up on the ink table. Clean beneath the rollers. Spray the rollers and wipe side to side. Turn rollers down 1/4 turn and wipe again. Repeat until the rollers are off the ink table. Wipe up any drips. Dispose of the used rag and repeat this last bit with a clean rag.

Clean the edge and underside of the ink table with your rag. If you have a split ink table, like me, clean in between the two by spraying roller wash between the two. I lift the inner one up slightly and jiggle it up and down to force out the ink and wash.

Leave the rollers at the middle of the chase area.

Wash hands and go have a cup of tea.

Technique similar to Arie’s. I use inexpensive mineral spirits. I do not use the newspaper.
I have a wooden frame that supports the rollers by their ends. The final part of the clean up is to thoroughly clean the trucks and the ends of the rubber roller. The ink migrates to the end of the roller on the longer runs. If not cleaned well from the ends, it causes the rollers to swell.

8x12 C&P using oil-based inks, here. For most cleanups, I start by taking my ink knife and scraping as much of the ink off the disk as possible. I then run the press for a while and again scrape the disk. I do this 3 or 4 times until there is very little ink being left on the disk. If it’s something like a custom mix of ink, I’ll clean the ink knife off into the ink can so it can be re-used later. If it’s something I’ve already got plenty of, I just wipe the knife off on a paper towel.

Once I have most of the ink removed, I’ll start cleaning in earnest. I use Varn California Wash and plain cloth rags. I start wiping the rollers on the press similarly to Arie and finish by taking them off and wiping them down thoroughly before storing them on my roller rack. I do not leave my rollers in my press unless I’m going to print shortly after.

If I need to deep clean the press (for instance, if I’m changing from a dark to a light color, or I’m done with a big job and don’t have anything lined up immediately after), I start by putting a couple of dollops of Putz Pomade onto the ink disk and running the press for about 30 minutes. This is a deep cleaner specifically formulated to lift ink out of rollers. After I’ve run the press I go to the above steps, though with this procedure the ink is a loss no matter what.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

You can also do what I call a “color wash” Put your ink on that your going to run. Work it thru your rollers awhile and then wash it up. Lighter color inks this works the best for. Then you can get the press cleaner and with the right residue pigments, if you leave any by mistake. When going back to black, this wouldn’t be necessary.
Some people have been using other chemicals to wash presses up with. I would not use anything other than press wash chemicals. The correct chemicals have the necessary make-ups to insure that your rollers stay in good shape. Mineral Spirits can strip your rollers of healthy chemicals and cause them to fail sooner. I.e: Swell out of round, Shrink, and crack.

For a small tabletop I do the following:

1. Take the rollers off the press, and outside to the porch. Lay a few sheets of old newspaper and splash some kerosene. Roll the rollers along the newspaper to get rid of most of the ink. Saturate a shop towel/rag with some more kerosine, and wipe off the remaining ink.

2. Take the inkdisk off the press, outside. Wipe the disk with a bit of Pine Sol, finish with kerosene.

3. Clean the form with a soft toothbrush (dipped in kerosene) and a shop towel.

4. Jam the ink knife between the pages of a phone book and pull. Shop towel + Kerosene.

5. Gather up the dirty newspaper pages, disposable shop towels (paper), misprints, gloves, throw it all in a plastic bag, tie up and dump in the trash.

So inbetween uses you leave the rollers on the machine?

Also, I’m assuming used rags can’t really be reused. Correct?

I reuse rags. My final wipe-down of everything is with a new rag each time. Next washup, that last rag from the previous washup gets used second-to-last, On the third washup, that rag will be used first to get the thickest ink off, before moving to a cleaner, but still not new rag and finally a new one. All of them will be left to dry after washup and then the dirtiest thrown away. I generally get 3 to 4 washups per rag from cleanest final step to dirtiest first step.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

I store my rollers in a wooden box between uses, and use disposable paper shop towels.

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So very helpful, as always! Thanks!

I should add that I use a combination of the thick paper shop towels like Oprion showed above and cloth rags. For the really dirty stuff like cleaning the lump of ink off my knife after scraping the disk, I use the paper towels simply because once you’ve done that a couple of times, you have a nasty wad of ink and towel that will never be useful again. It would be a waste to use cloth for that. I use rags for the wipe-downs after. It’s one of the reasons I’m able to get 3 to 4 washups out of each rag.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

Heh reminds me of the jokes about shop towels falling to the floor and shattering.

that shop towel thing is no joke.

I have a C&P Pilot. I currently use odorless mineral spirits, but I’m thinking about picking up some California Wash when I run out.

First, I keep still usable rags and my spirits in a thick plastic bin with a lid. I take the chase out and clean up my plate with just a barely moist with spirits rag. I then take the plate off and store it flat. I wipe off the base and leave that for the next job. I take the rollers off my press and stand them up in the bin. I clean my ink disk with a rag and mineral spirits, usually one dirtier rag for getting most of the ink off and then one fresh rag to make sure everything is clean. I then clean my rollers using the same method. The bin is nice because it has some grooves in the bottom so I can sort of “lock” my rollers into place while I wipe them. I have a wooden storage box for my rollers once they are clan. I clean my ink mixing area last, usually because I may have some ink to put away in aluminum foil packets or containers.

I then throw away any unusable rags and pack the rest up with the mineral spirits back into the bin and tuck it back under my work bench.

When I use our Showcard, I wipe clean any plates or printing surfaces, then clean the brayer and ink surface. I don’t really need to put the brayer in my bin while I clean it, though.

To avoid procrastinating real work for too long, I’ll focus on the notable difference in our cleanup process from textbook cleanup processes.

All of the manuals will say that this is a horrible idea, but my shop has been using SOYsolv for several years now.

It cleans quite well and doesn’t smell very bad and isn’t very toxic. The issue (and part of the reason that it cleans so well) is that it doesn’t evaporate; residue gets left on the type, so we often wind up wiping things a few times over with clean rags.

If you find it to be an issue, you could use a conventional solvent after the SOYsolv to get the remaining bit off. But I haven’t needed to do that in a while.