Newbie Cleaning Question

Ok here goes nothing… After i get my rollers type and all the stuff i need to print. Besides rags, maybe rubber gloves and a spray bottle. What cleaner do i use to clean my type and my press…


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You should do a search in the discussions, as this topic has been gone over many, many times.

Lots of people have their own preferences, but I use Mineral Spirits to clean the plates, type and rollers. I’ve also used California Wash but I don’t like the smell. Do NOT use acetone on rubber surfaces (it’s also highly toxic stuff).

Oh, and definitely rubber gloves! California Wash will eat through latex.

I use low-odor mineral spirits on everything. I like nitrile gloves, I can get several uses out of them before replacing.

For about 50 years I have been cleaning my press and type with either a mixture of kerosene and white gas (naptha) or mineral spirits. My technique almost never involves my hands touching the solvent or the ink; I use 3 to 4 newspaper sheets and solvent to remove the ink from the press and a rag to finish and clean the type. One pint can of solvent will go for months of cleaning (each cleaning uses maybe 1/4 cup of solvent), though I don’t print every day. I can usually clean up entirely without more than a very small spot of ink on my hands. I’ve never felt the need for gloves. I have used the method on a 3x5 Kelsey up to a 10x15 Nonpareil.


years ago printers used gasoline, today I use coleman fuel, its almost the same but not as harmful, I always use gloves, mixing coleman fuel with kerosene works very well.

So no smoking while cleaning the type right lol jk. I dont smoke….

I would strongly suggest that what ever you use, is said by the manufacture that it won’t strip the good out of your rollers. Some chemicals will change the shape, swell, and pull the good “chemical make-up” right out of the roller. A blanket wash available at your local paper supplier would be a good place to start. Some chemicals can even add to the rollers causing problems. I use a blanket wash for the type and rollers. Varn makes good chemicals. Some with low smell.

I forgot to add to my comment above that my rollers on my 6x9 Sigwalt, the press I use almost exclusively, still look just like they came out of the box from Frontier Roller probably about 25+ years ago, after being cleaned with either the 50:50 mixture of white gas and kerosene or more recently with mineral spirits all those years. No shrinkage, no swelling, no deterioration I can see. I do not know what rubber Frontier used but it has held up well.



Don’t skimp on the rags. Get some good quality rags-in-a-box; I like the white kind that come from the Home Depot paint section, meant for oily solvent type cleanup jobs.
Skimping on the rags could leave a bunch of annoying bits of lint and dust that you’ll have to clean off somehow.

I do a 2 stage or sometimes 3 stage cleaning:
1 use Kerosene, and that tends to take most of the ink off. Its slow drying too, so easier to work the ink off with a rag.

2 Next I usually use California wash to take off any leftover residue with some more rags.
I’ll generally let the press run until the wash dissolves completely, after I think I’ve thoroughly cleaned the ink off.

3 - If I’m switching from a dark to a light color, or putting a light or transparent color on the press next, I’ll use a “de-glaze” or “roller conditioner” to deep clean the rollers. Not necessary every time but helpful in a pinch.
You can get a spray version or sometimes a bottled version, I buy mine from PRISCO (Printers Supply Co) out here on the east coast, but you can order one from NA graphics that comes in a spray/aeresol can. Follow the directions of whatever one you get…