How To Remove Screen Printing From Clothes

Screen printing is a great way to express yourself through fashion. The problem is, sometimes you want to get rid of the design if you don’t like it. 

Or maybe you’re making your own screen printed tee shirts and something goes wrong.  But fear not!  There are plenty of ways to remove a screen printed design. 

Screen printing is a technique where ink is applied directly onto fabric using a stencil. This method has become very popular over the years because it allows you to customize almost anything.

There are several methods to remove screen printing from your clothes. Some involve chemicals, some require heat, and some even involve household items that you might not expect.

Here are some of the most effective ways to remove screen printing from fabrics.

How To Remove Screen Printing From Clothes

The Ironing Method

The ironing method is one of the most common ways to remove screen printing on clothes. It involves placing the garment on the outside of an iron and pressing it down until the ink design can be peeled off.

If you don’t have an iron at home, then use a hair dryer instead.  Make sure to only use this on cotton garments, as synthetic fabrics can be damaged by heat. 

The Vinegar Method

The vinegar method is another simple way to remove screen printing on clothing. You will need a mixture of white vinegar and baking soda in equal parts.

Mix them together and apply the solution to the area where the screen printing was. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water.  Scrub with a brush or an old towel to remove the design. 

The Baking Soda Method

Baking soda is also a good option when removing screen printing from clothes. Simply mix 1 cup of baking soda with 2 cups of hot water.

Apply this solution to the area where you wish to remove the screen printing. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes before scrubbing the area with a brush or an old towel. 

The Tea Tree Oil Method

Tea tree oil is yet another alternative that can be used to remove screen printing from clothes. Just add a few drops of tea tree oil to a bowl filled with warm water.

Dip a clean rag into the solution and wipe down the area where the screen print is located. Repeat this process as many times as needed.

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The Lemon Juice Method

Lemon juice is yet another natural remedy that can be used to easily remove screen printing from clothes without any chemical reactions.

All you need to do is squeeze lemon juice on the spot where you want to remove the screen printing and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then rinse the area with cold water.

The Salt Water Solution Method

Salt water is another easy method to remove screen printing from fabric. Just fill a bucket with salt and water.

Add a small amount of dish soap to the solution and soak the item in the salty water for 15-20 minutes. You can also use salt as an abrasive to scrub away the design. 

The Alcohol Method

Alcohol is a powerful solvent that can help remove screen printing from clothes quickly. To make the alcohol mixture, combine equal amounts of rubbing alcohol and distilled water.

Soak the printed items in the solution for 20-30 seconds. Then, scrub the design with a brush or an old towel to remove it. 

Fade With Washing

It’s true that designs fade over a period of time, especially if they’re washed too often. On average, a printed design will last about fifty washes if you wash them inside out.

If your goal is simply to remove the design, keep it right side out. This isn’t a quick method, but it will eventually remove a design from a tee shirt or other type of garment.

The danger of this method is that it may fade the color of the shirt as well as the screen printed design.

The Sugar Scrub

Sugar scrubs are great for cleaning stains on furniture and fabrics. It can also be used for removing screen printed designs.  It works by acting as an abrasive.

To create a sugar scrub, combine two tablespoons of granulated sugar with one tablespoon each of cornstarch and salt.

Stir until all ingredients are blended. To use, rub the sugar scrub onto the area. Rub the design away using an old towel or a firm brush. 

The Vinegar + Baking Soda Method

Vinegar and baking soda have been used for centuries to remove unwanted marks from fabric.  It can also be used for removing unwanted designs from clothing.

Combine equal parts of both ingredients and stir until mixed. Use a damp cloth to apply the solution directly to the affected area.

Let it sit for ten minutes. Scrub the affected area with an old towel or a firm brush to remove the unwanted design. 

The Toothpaste + Milk Method

The Toothpaste + Milk Method

This is a popular household remedy for removing ink stains, and it can also be used for unwanted screen printed designs. Mix together equal parts of toothpaste and milk.

Apply the mixture to the stained area using a soft cloth. Scrub the area thoroughly and then wash it in the washing machine on a regular cycle. 

The Cornstarch + Water Method

Corn starch is a common household ingredient that can be used to clean up spills and stains.  It is also pretty effective at removing unwanted screen printed designs.

Simply mix equal parts of cornstarch and water. Spread the mixture evenly over the affected area. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.

Gently scrub the area with an old towel or a firm brush to remove the unwanted screen printed design. 

The Borax + Hot Water Method

Borax is a mineral commonly found in laundry detergents. It works by breaking down ink stains into smaller particles.  Because of this, you can also use it for removing unwanted screen printed designs.

Combine equal parts of borax and warm water. Pour the solution over the stain and let it sit for 5-15 minutes.

Next, scrub the affected area with an old towel or a firm brush until the unwanted design is removed.

The Lemon Juice + Water Method 

Lemon juice is also known to break down ink stains.  Because of this, it can be used for removing unwanted ink screen print designs from clothing.

Combine equal parts of lemon juice and water. Dip a cotton ball in the solution and rub it over the design. Repeat until the design is removed.

The Tea Tree Oil + Alcohol Method

Tea tree oil is effective against a variety of bacteria and fungi. Combined with alcohol, it makes a pretty good solution for removing screen printed designs.

To make a tea tree oil solution, add a few drops to a cup of rubbing alcohol. Transfer the clear liquid to a spray bottle. Shake the bottle vigorously to blend.

Spray the solution on the affected area and allow it to soak in for a while. Then, scrub the design away with a cloth or a firm brush.

The Apple Cider Vinegar + White Vinegar Method

Apple cider vinegar and white vinegar are often combined to fight off odor.  They can also be used for removing ink stains or unwanted screen printed designs.

To use this method, pour half a cup of apple cider vinegar into a bowl. Add four teaspoons of white vinegar to the apple cider vinegar. Blend well.

Apply the solution generously to the piece of clothing, and then rub the design away with an old towel or cloth. 

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The Lemon Juice + Borax Method

Lemon juice is rich in citric acid. This ingredient is a strong cleaner, and it’s great for removing ink stains from fabric.  It’s also effective at removing screen printed designs from shirts.

Borax is a compound found in laundry detergents. Together, they’re even more effective. Combine equal parts lemon juice and borax.

Make sure there are no lumps. Spread the mixture over the affected area, then rub the design away using an old towel or a brush. 

The Laundry Detergent + White Vinegar Method

White vinegar is a popular home remedy for removing ink stains from clothing.  It is also effective at removing unwanted screen printed designs, particularly when combined with laundry detergents.

Mix the ingredients together and soak a clean cloth in the mix. Then, rub the solution onto the affected area with an old towel until the design is removed. 

The Olive Oil + Vinegar Method

Olive oil is another household staple used to remove ink stains from clothes. To make the mixture, combine equal parts olive oil and vinegar. Rub the mixture onto the affected area to remove any unwanted ink designs. 

The Milk + Borax Method

Milk is full of enzymes that help to break down stains. If you have trouble getting rid of ink stains or screen prints, use milk instead of water when soaking your clothes. 

Soak your clothes in a mixture of milk and Borax for a half hour, then remove and try scrubbing away the design with a firm brush. 

The Apple Cider Vinegar + Borax Method

The Apple Cider Vinegar + Borax Method

Apple cider vinegar is a great cleaning agent. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar breaks down stains.  This also makes it great for removing unwanted screen printed designs.

Combine equal parts apple cider vinegar and Borax. Apply the mixture directly on the stain. Scrub the affected area with an old towel until the design is removed completely. 

Tips And Tricks

There are several ways to remove screen printing from shirts, but here are some additional tips to consider as well:

To start, check the manufacturer’s labels inside the shirts to see which fabric they’re made of. Many shirts feature a blend of cotton/polyester, while some are made entirely from cotton.

If your shirt contains any polyester, you may want to try a more gentle detergent such as simple dish soap. 

To avoid having the front seep ink to the back of the shirt, make sure there’s a buffer between them. You can use a thick piece of cardboard or an old towel to separate the layers.

Ink won’t soak through to the back of your shirt if you use this method.

Removing A Screen Print From A Jersey

If you’re trying to remove a screen print from a jersey, first check the label inside the jersey to determine what type of material it’s made out of.

Most jerseys contain a blend of cotton and polyester, while others are 100% cotton. If your jersey contains any polyester, then you’ll need to use the dish soap method.

Otherwise, you can try using the other methods listed above.

Usually, using the nail polish remover to remove old lettering from jerseys works quite well.

Soak a cotton ball in nail polish remover and gently rub it across the design. Use a soft brush or towel to gently rub off the flaky remnants of the design.

You can also use nail polish remover to clean the ink off the inside of the fabric instead of directly on the print. Let it sit for just a moment before gently peeling off the old lettering

This method works for any type of vinyl lettering, including heat-set vinyl lettering.

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Removing A Screen Print From Denim

To remove a screen print design from jeans, first wash them in cold water, then immediately place them in a hot dryer. After this treatment, try to peel off the previous design.

You may also find success with any of the methods described earlier.

If your goal is just to hide the old design, you might find it easier to sew a patch over it. You could also try a heat-set vinyl design to cover up the old prints.

Removing A Screen Print From A Hoodie

You can usually remove screen printing designs from a hoodie by using the nail polish removal method described earlier. Here are some additional tips for working with hoodies:

Ensure that you use a buffer as we described earlier. If you don’t want to ruin your hoodie by soaking the ink through, use a thick piece of cardboard between the front and the back of the hoodie.

Next, soak a piece of cotton in nail polish remover, and then gently rub it over the printed design.

Use a soft towel or a brush to gently remove the wet design from the surface.

Wash the hoodie in a normal cycle with detergent to get rid of the nail polish remover residue.

Synthetic fibers are often found in hoodies today. As a result, nail polish remover could damage the material. You should test the remover on an inconspicuous part of the hoodie first.

Removing A Screen Printing From Polyester

Dish detergent and a brush are good tools for removing designs from polyester. Polyester is one of the most popular fabrics for clothes today because it’s so inexpensive.

This synthetic material is plastic and requires special cleaning methods to remove printed designs. It probably won’t respond well to chemical solutions like spot removers.

Don’t use the “iron-and-peel” method on a polyester shirt, as polyester and other synthetics can melt in high heat, so be careful.

If you’re able to remove a design on a polyester item by washing it in hot water and squirting a small amount of dish soap on the design while it’s wet, then you can probably get rid of the design.

Use a stiff brush or toothbrush to scrub away the design.

If it starts to come off, then it’s doing its job! Keep on scrubbing until all of the ink has been removed.

If you try using the detergent and nothing seems to happen after several minutes, then you may want to use a different method. However, be careful not to damage the material with chemicals or high temperatures.

Removing A Screen Print From Nylon

Removing A Screen Print From Nylon

WD40 can be used to remove screen printing from nylon fabric. Nylon is another type of synthetic fabric that needs special care to remove prints without damaging the material.

The good news is there’s an easy way to solve this problem.

To remove an unwanted design from nylon, spray some WD 40 on it. Apply this liberally to the design and let it soak for a moment.

Next, rub the whole design vigorously with an old cloth. Ideally, the design shouldn’t stick around for too long, and the towel should remove it easily.

WD40 is mainly used as a solvent and can be used to remove most types of ink.

You can also use a steam iron and a peeling technique on nylon fabrics. Be careful not to allow the steam iron to rest directly on nylon, as it can melt at high heat.

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Removing A Logo From A Piece Of Clothing

You can remove logos from clothes quite easily by rubbing a cloth soaked in nail polish remo­ver on the printed logo. You will then need to remove the remaining ink using your fingers or a plastic scraper.

Remember, though, when you remove the logo from the clothing, it might not look pristine. The fabric where the logo used to be might seem brighter and newer than the other parts of the shirt.

The nail polish remover might also warp the fabric.

Cleaning Screen Printing Residue

If you tried one particular method for removing ink from fabrics, but some ink residue remained, you might want to try using either a cold rinse or a final sugar scrub before giving up on it.

On a fresh screen printed piece of clothing, a cold rinse is usually sufficient to remove the print. 

If that doesn’t remove the residue, or if the design is old, use the sugar scrub suggested earlier to clean it off.

If you want to remove the remaining ink from the fabric, you can use a spoonful or two of water to soften the ink and then rub it off with a soft cloth or your hands.

Follow this technique with a regular wash cycle to rinse away the sugary residue.

Final Thoughts 

If all of the methods described above seem like too much work for you, here’s another idea to consider.

Small errors are easier to fix than big mistakes. It will take a lot of time to remove a design off the entire front of a shirt or sweatshirt. Do you really want to spend so much time removing the design?

You might want to save your efforts for small spots that you can easily dab away with a cotton swab and nail polish remover.

Next, how much time is worth it? If you’re not happy with the results, you may want to toss out the ruined item and start again.

If you don’t want to waste clothes, save them for times when you’re home and want to wear them around the house, and then make a new one to wear in public.

If you don’t want to throw away the clothes, you could donate them or give them to your children to wear for pajama parties.

If replacing the design takes too long, you could consider placing an entirely new one over the old one. You may be able to use heat-transfer vinyl to cover up an older screen print design on a t-shirt.

If you’re a pro screen printer, it’s usually cheaper for you to buy a new shirt or sweatshirt and reprint it rather than remove all the damaged prints from a previously printed bulk batch.

Seriously, think about how long it will take to remove the damaged print from ten, twenty, or one hundred shirts!

There are several effective methods for removing screen printing from clothing. Rubbing nail polish remover onto your design with a clean cotton ball is one of your best options for removing stubborn designs.

Sugar can be used for abrasive purposes, but it’s not necessarily required.

You can also buy tools like a spot removal tool to apply pressure and chemical solutions to remove designs from fabrics.

Have you ever tried any one of these methods on a screen printed design? Which one did you prefer? We hope this article helps you remove the screen printed designs from your clothes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Difference Between Screen Printing And Digital Printing?

Screen printing uses a stencil to transfer ink onto fabric. Digital printing uses computer software to print directly onto fabric.

There are many different kinds of screen printing, including letterpress, flexography, gravure, silkscreen, and rotary screen printing. Each method produces unique results.

For example, letterpress creates raised dots on the fabric, while flexo transfers ink in a smooth line. Silkscreen prints images in reverse, whereas rotary screens print in positive.

The main difference between these methods is the way they apply ink to the fabric. Digital printing is generally cheaper than screen printing.

However, if you enjoy creating custom designs, then screen printing is still the best option.

What’s The Difference Between Silk Screen Printing And Heat Transfer?

Silk-screening is a form of screen printing where ink is applied to paper first. The paper is then pressed against the fabric. Silk screen printing is used for high quality graphics.

It requires more skill and experience than heat transfer. Heat transfer applies the design directly to the fabric. The ink is transferred through a heated plate.

Heat transfer is great for quick projects because it doesn’t require much time or effort. However, it cannot produce as detailed or intricate designs as silk-screening.

Which One Should I Choose?

It depends on what kind of design you’re looking for. Silk-screening is ideal for fine details and delicate materials. Heat transfer works well for large areas and bold colors.

Will Screen Printing Ink Wash Out?

Yes, but only after repeated washing. Even though screen printing ink is water-based, it may fade over time. This is especially true when exposed to sunlight. To avoid fading, keep your clothes inside during hot weather.

Amanda Brown
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