Rubber stamps are commonly used with ink for scrapbook and card making projects. They are also used with paint and polymer clay. No matter how you use your rubber stamps, keeping them clean is necessary to preserve them and keep them producing top quality images.
Importance of a Clean Rubber Stamp
It is important to remove all traces of ink or other substances from your rubber stamps so you do not cross contaminate your ink pads with whatever is left on the stamp. Keeping your stamps clean will help prolong the stamps' lives.
Cleaning Ink From a Rubber Stamp
The most common medium used with rubber stamps is ink. Popular ink varieties include dye-based waterproof ink, pigment ink and permanent solvent-based ink. The best way to keep your rubber stamps clean is to clean them immediately after use. After stamping your image, stamp off the excess ink on scrap paper. Then, wipe the stamp with a paper towel dampened with water. Or, wipe your stamp across a water-dampened cellulose sponge. Add a drop of dish soap to the paper towel or sponge if needed. Permanent solvent-based inks require a special cleaner.
Alcohol and lint-free baby wipes are also effective for cleaning your rubber stamps. For a more thorough cleaning, use a stamp cleaning product. Apply the stamp cleaner directly to the stamp, scrub the stamp on a sponge and blot with a paper towel.
If you feel you need to scrub the crevices of your stamp, use a soft toothbrush or stamp scrubber. A stamp scrubber is a bristled cleaning pad that comes in a flat case. Add water or stamp cleaner to one half of the cleaning pad. Scrub the stamp on the wet side, then on the dry side.
No matter what cleaning method you use, make sure your rubber stamps are thoroughly dry before storing.
Cleaning Other Substances From a Rubber Stamp
When stamping with paint, clean your rubber stamps the same way you would when using ink. Clean them immediately with water, using dish soap or stamp cleaner if necessary.
Rubber stamps can also be used to stamp images into polymer clay. Prevent the clay from sticking to your rubber stamps by using a release medium on the stamp, such as cornstarch or a light spray of water. If clay does stick to the stamp surface, remove it with alcohol-free baby wipes or stamp cleaner. If you need to remove clay from the crevices in the stamp, use a round-tip toothpick, taking care not to scratch the stamp surface.
Be careful not to damage your rubber stamps during cleaning. This includes preserving both the condition of the rubber and the wood mount. Avoid cleaning the stamp with alcohol or products containing alcohol, as alcohol can dry the rubber, causing it to deteriorate and crack. Do not use tools such as metal styluses or stiff brushes, to avoid scratching the rubber.
Do not submerge the stamps in water, which could cause damage to the wood and loosen the adhesive attaching the rubber stamp.
Keep in mind that some inks may permanently stain your rubber stamps. Being stained will not affect performance.