How To Clean Rubber or Ink Stamps

Set of Rubber Stamps and How to Clean Them.

Cleaning Rubber Stamps

If you like to make your own greeting cards or wrapping paper, or are into scrapbooking, you know how essential it is to have clean rubber (or ink stamps as some call them) stamps.

Some people also use rubber stamps at work. Is any stamp more important than the one that reads, “Paid in Full”? Knowing how to clean these stamps will extend the number of months or years you can use them, and will also prevent one color of ink from contaminating another.

Cleaning rubber stamps is neither complicated nor expensive but it does need to be done to keep your stamped images clear and the lines crisp. If you look at your stamp and there is caked, dried ink between the lines, give one of these cleaning tips a try.

Cleaning the Stamp Quickly

This is an easy one, use baby wipes. Any type is fine as long as you purchase baby wipes that don’t contain alcohol. Alcohol can cause your stamp to crack. Once you’re done using the stamp, get out a baby wipe and stamp it on the sheet until all of the ink is removed.

Make sure the stamp is dry before using it again. To dry off the stamp after cleaning with a baby wipe, use a lint free cloth and stamp until dry or you can just let it air dry.

Heavy Duty Cleaning

I always make sure I have a couple of old toothbrushes lying around; you never know what they might be good for. Cleaning your stamps is just one of those ways.

  • Put a drop or two (depending on the size of your stamp) of mild liquid soap on the stamp.
  • Wet the toothbrush with warm water and gently scrub, carefully, you don’t want to damage the stamp.
  • Rinse the toothbrush often while cleaning until the stamp is clean.

Homemade Cleaning Pad

A rubber stamp cleaner is used to clean the stamp as you go. It will stop the ink from building up on the stamp so you won’t have to pause to clean it. If you prefer to buy a pre-made stamp cleaner, they’re available at most craft stores.

But if you want to know how to clean stamps with your own homemade cleaning pad, all you’ll need is: a soft sponge for the soft side of pad, a scrubby sponge for the scrubbing side and a plastic case or container to hold the 2 sponges.

You don’t need to cut 2 different sponges to make the cleaning pad. If you just have one sponge with the green scrubby on one side only, assemble one side with the scrubby facing up, the other side will have the scrubby facing down.

Making the Pad

  • Measure the inside of the plastic container.
  • Cut the sponges a little bit larger than the dimension of the case; for example, if the inside of the case measures 3″ x 2″, cut the sponge so it’s about 3 1/8″ by 2 1/8″.
  • Fit the 2 sponges into 2 different containers; scrubby side up in one case and non-scrubby side up in the other.

How to Use the Cleaning Pad

  • Dampen the scrubby sponge and leave the soft sponge dry.
  • Add two drops of mild dishwashing liquid to the scrubby sponge and work the soap into the sponge.
  • Gently rub the dirty ink stamp on the top of the scrubby until it is clean. Be sure to get the sides of the stamp clean too.
  • Wipe and dry the stamp on the soft, non-scrubby sponge.
  • Make sure your stamp is dry before using it again.

Caring for Stamps

Because stamps can be expensive, caring for them properly means a long time of crafting fun for you and the kids. These tips will help save the life of your stamps.

  • Clean your stamps after each use to keep the stamp design crisp and ink build up from happening.
  • Don’t soak your stamps in water, over time this can erode the glue that holds the stamp to the handle.
  • You shouldn’t use rubbing alcohol, it can cause cracking.
  • Store them on a flat surface in a cool dry place. Try to avoid stamps pressing against each other as it may, overtime, leave dents in the rubber.

As a side note: if you are using clear stamps and you clean regularly but notice various colors of staining, they are clean, they tend to stain more than red rubber stamps.

As much as you regularly clean and care for your stamps, over time there will be some permanent staining and this is to be expected, but they are perfectly clean. Have fun being creative and making your memories to share with others.

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