Paint thinner is not the appropriate chemical to remove emulsion from the screen printing screen. Instead, you may use Acetone or xylene. That would make the work done. Moreover, it is recommended to buy proper chemicals. It is more worth it than wasting your time finding budget solutions that do not get the work done rightly.
Some of the most popular screen emulsion removers are Speedball Diazo Photo Emulsion Remover and Ecotex. You can easily reclaim screens in seconds. The remover is strong enough to remove emulsions of all types. You can use it in the sink or pair it with a screen printing washout booth. Moreover, if you have a screen printing shop in your garage, home, basement, etc, it is drain safe. As a result, the emulsion remover does not clog your drains.
How do you remove dried emulsion from a screen?
The process of removing the dried emulsion from the screen printing screen is called reclaiming.
You won’t have to buy a new screen with every new design. You can reuse the same screen to put a redesign.
- The first step is to remove any ink from the screen. If the ink is wet, scrape off all the ink with a squeegee. However, if the ink is dried, directly spray down the emulsion remover. Prior to that, place your screen with dried emulsion in the washout booth.
- Rinse the screen with water both front and back.
- Next spray the emulsion remover chemical four to five times on the entire screen. The chemical softens the emulsion which can be easily removed by the pressure washer or standard garden hose. Pressure washers are a lot quicker though.
- Grab the scrub brush and begin scrubbing it. Scrub both the front and backside of the screen. At this point, the emulsion loosens and turns into a liquid state instead of a solid. Keep it for about 30 seconds. Moreover, it also depends on the emulsion remover brand.
- Apply the pressure washer to remove the emulsion. However, you may still have some ink left from the previous print on the screen. This is called hosting. That is due to the oil in the ink that stains the screen. Moreover, it is important you remove the oil also known as hazing. Because that can affect your next print.
- To remove the remaining ink, apply dehazer spray on the print area.
- Then use a scrub pad or brush especially for degreasing and dehazing. Make sure you scrub both sides of the screen, especially the backside where the ink primarily lays down. Then keep it undisturbed for 20 to 30 seconds You will the ink slowly fading away.
- The spray water from the backside of the screen. That will be much more effective.
- Finally, let the screen dry.
Once the screen is dry, you can coat the screen again and repeat the same process over and over again. Most importantly, you should apply too much emulsion remover to clean faster. Too much emulsion remover can harden your emulsion forever on the screen. Never make it too concentrated. And do not sit on the screen too long. For hard stains, it is better to use a pressure washer and dehazer.
Best Ways to Remove Emulsion from Screen Without Emulsion remover:
The best alternative to emulsion remover is bleach. You can get pool bleach from any hardware store. It shouldn’t be scented. Before you begin, wear hand gloves, goggles, and a breathing mask(if needed).
Does screen printing need emulsion remover?
To remove the emulsion, a screen printing emulsion remover is needed. The screen printing emulsion remover is used to remove the emulsion from the screen, screen frame, and squeegee blade.
- Pour or spray the bleach on the screen.
- Spread using a scrub brush. Do it for both sides of the screen. Not necessarily deep scrubbing.
- Let it sit for 30 seconds to 1 minute. But don’t let it dry out else it will lock.
- Spray with high-pressure water to let the stencil melt away.
So, you can reclaim your screens without using an emulsion remover.