How to clean photo emulsion out of a screen with bleach

Written by maude coffey
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Aspects of silk screening are draining to your wallet. Using household items instead of store-bought chemicals and accessories is a way to keep costs down when silk screening for a hobby or for a business. After removing the ink of the artwork completely from the screen, you must remove the photo emulsion to ensure future use of the screen. A permanent stencil will remain on the screen if the photo emulsion is not cleaned off immediately after a print run, according to

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Timer
  • Scrub brush
  • Dishwasher detergent

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  1. 1

    Place a stopper in a work or utility sink, and lay the screen in the sink. Pour bleach into the sink, completely covering the screen, then set a timer for five minutes.

  2. 2

    Pull the screen out of the bleach when the timer goes off. Keep the screen in the sink above the bleach. Scrub both sides of the screen with a scrub brush.

  3. 3

    Set the timer for five minutes again. Place the screen back into the bleach to soak. After the five minutes, pull the drain plug out and let the bleach drain out of the sink.

  4. 4

    Rinse the screen with hot water, using a hose or spray attachment. Sprinkle dishwasher detergent on both sides of the wet screen, and scrub with the scrub brush. Rinse the detergent off the screen with hot water.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear gloves and protective eye wear when handling bleach.
  • Hold the screen as far away from your body as possible when scrubbing to prevent splashing.
  • Turn on a fan and open windows to help ventilate fumes from the bleach.

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