PaperCrafting 101

Stamp Cleaners

Dear Fellow Crafters,

There are different ways of cleaning stamps and each stamper develops his or her own method. Cleaning stamps is important because no matter what type of ink is used, several things can happen such as: different colored inks can contaminate the surface, dried ink can clog up parts of the stamp resulting in unclear images and finally, unclean stamps gather dust and dirt. An important note to remember is  that there is a difference between stained and clean stamps. Some stamps become stained over time however they are perfectly clean. Don’t over-scrub the stained stamps as you can damage the surface.

There are several stamp cleaners on the market. The are typically sold in plastic bottles with a dauber top or a spray top. The dauber lets you apply the solution where you want to. The 5 types are:  water-based( dye and pigment), solvent(see 2nd part), acrylic(see 2nd Part) all-purpose (water-based inks) and the scrub- it pad. This pad is the easiest way to clean as  it has 2 surfaces as I’ll explain later.

Tips for cleaning stamps

  • Don’t soak wooden stamps as you might damage the stamp.
  • Tap the stamp onto a  paper towel to remove surface ink.
  • Store wooden block mounted stamps when dry.
  • Check the manufacturers information for any special cleaning instructions.
  • Use a stamp cleaning pad. Paper towels can leave bits of paper “lint”. Some pads have a scrubbing side and a drying side. The drying side will remove some of the solution but the stamps need to air dry. Let the cleaning solution do  its job, then gently turn your stamp in a circular motion.
  • Clean the stamp pad. It seems obvious but how? For best results use a shallow bowl and some dish soap that doesn’t contain moisturizer. Blot up the excess moisture  and allow the pad to dry thoroughly.
  • Clean your stamps before you use them. Sometimes the manufacturing process leaves a residue on the stamps that may interfere with the inks ability to adhere.
  • Keep wood mounted stamps looking clean by sealing the wood around the image. Use a light coat of clear nail polish.
  • Specialty inks such solvent based require specialty cleaners. In Part 2 we will talk about acrylic stamps and solvent cleaners.

‘Til next time,


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