How to Remove Photo Emulsion From a Silk Screen

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How to Remove Photo Emulsion From a Silk Screen
Remove Photo Emulsion From a Silk Screen

Out with the old art, in with the new: after printing with photo emulsion, here's how to make sure you (your silk screen, actually) will live to print another day.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Liquid Bleach
  • Pressure Washers Or Garden Hose
  • Water
  • Nail Brushes Or Soft Scrub Brush
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Buckets
  • Safety Goggles

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Clean all the ink off the silk screen. Use a pressure washer if you have one.

  2. 2

    Mix a solution of equal parts household bleach and water.

  3. 3

    Pour the bleach solution onto the surface of the silk screen.

    How to Remove Photo Emulsion From a Silk Screen
  4. 4

    Scrub lightly with a nail brush or soft-bristled scrub brush and let sit for five minutes.

    How to Remove Photo Emulsion From a Silk Screen
  5. 5

    Scrub the entire surface on both sides.

  6. 6

    Rinse with water.

    How to Remove Photo Emulsion From a Silk Screen
  7. 7

    Repeat until all the emulsion is removed.

  8. 8

    Hold the screen up to a window or bright light and tip to view it at different angles.

  9. 9

    Scrub until it's clean no matter at which angle you view it.

  10. 10

    Allow to air dry fully before storing.

Tips and warnings

  • Use the pressure washer (in a pinch, a garden hose) to wash the screen out. If you don't have any kind of a pressure device, washing will take longer and you'll scrub more.
  • You can buy commercial products for this purpose, such as CPS Screen Wash, but bleach works fine and is less expensive.
  • Make sure to get the emulsion off the taped edges of the screen as well as off the middle.
  • Wear gloves and goggles: photo emulsion is toxic and bleach is caustic.

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