How to Clean Rubber Stamps | Best Tips and Tricks [2024]

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How to clean rubber stamps? 

As a stamp owner, that’s probably one of the questions you’ve asked yourself at one point or another. 

Over time, the ink can dry out, or the stamp gets dirty. If you don’t address this immediately, you’re in for a world of hurt. You might have to untimely say goodbye to your beloved stamp.

The good news is that you can clean a rubber stamp fairly easily.  

The bad news is that you also have to care and store them properly—which isn’t really hard to do.

So, how to clean a rubber stamp?  

Keep reading below.

How to Clean Rubber Stamps?

Cleaning a rubber stamp is a simple process, whether you’re cleaning it after regular use or in preparation for storage. Rubber stamps use durable materials that stand up to many years of use and still look as good as new.

However, if you let dirt, ink, and grime build up over time, the design will begin to fade, and your stamp gets damaged. You don’t want that, right?

To prevent this from happening, try these methods to clean rubber stamps. There are different types of rubber stamps, I will discuss the cleaning methods for each type. So, read on.

How to Clean Wood-Mounted Rubber Stamps?

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If you ever tried making your own stamp before or owned one, then you’ll know that some stamps get mounted on a piece of wood as a handle. This makes them much easier to hold and use. If you have one of these, it’s important that you know how to clean them properly so they don’t get damaged.

The most important thing when it comes to cleaning wood handle stamps is to avoid soaking the wooden handle, as this can cause damage to the wood and loosen the adhesive. But if you get the wooden handle wet, you can wipe it off with a cloth or tissue and let it dry before storing.

Here are six methods for cleaning wood-mounted rubber stamps:

Method 1: Soap and Water

Soap and Water image

You can actually wash off most inks with regular soapy water (even dishwashing detergent works). Just grab an old toothbrush and soak it with a soap and water solution. Use the wet brush to gently remove any leftover ink on your stamps.

But here’s the thing: be careful not to confuse stained stamps with dirty stamps. Some stamps might get stained over time, but they are still perfectly clean.

So, avoid vigorously scrubbing stained stamps as it could damage the stamp’s surface.

Method 2: Baby/Hand Wipes

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Alcohol-free baby or hand wipes are perfect for cleaning stamps and great for keeping them clean while you’re stamping. They might not reach every little crevice, but they’re a convenient way to quickly clean your rubber stamp before switching to the next color.

But instead of just one baby wipe, why not use a whole box of them as a big, multi-purpose blotting pad? It’s super easy.

First, make sure you get a box of baby wipes that has a removable lid. This way, it’ll be easier for you to access the wipes when you need them.

When you’re ready to clean your stamps, simply lift off the lid. Then, take your dirty stamp and press it right into the stack of baby wipes. Give it a few good blots, pressing down firmly, and you’ll see the ink transferring from the stamp onto the wipe.

It’s a quick and effective way to clean your stamps, and you can use the whole box of baby wipes as your trusty blotting-pad.

Method 3: Rubber Stamp Cleaner and Pads

If you want to ensure your stamp is squeaky clean, using a cleaning solution is the best way to clean rubber stamps. 

You’ll find them at rubber stamp suppliers and craft stores, and they typically come in convenient bottles. These cleaners can give your stamps a thorough and proper cleaning. 

When it comes to using these rubber stamp cleaners, you have two options.

The first one is to pour some of the cleaner liquid into a bowl or cup. This way, you can quickly dip your stamp into the cleaning solution and give it a good scrubbing.

It’s a straightforward and fuss-free method that’ll leave your stamps looking spotless.

Some stamp cleaners come with a scrubber pad that makes the cleaning process even more convenient. All you have to do is press the stamp on the pad soaked with the stamp cleaner and gently rub it back and forth.  

The pad can remove any lingering ink and build-up, leaving your stamp clean and ready for its subsequent use.

Method 4: Baking Soda and Water

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You can also use water and baking soda for cleaning stamps. Mix baking soda and water to make a thick paste. Apply the paste to the stamp and scrub it with a toothbrush to reach all the nooks and crannies. 

Let it sit for a few moments before rinsing it thoroughly in water. Dry the stamp with paper towels, and it will be clean and ready to use again.

Method 5: Stamp Shammy

Another method I found that can quickly clean rubber stamps is using stamp shammies. It is a special fabric that helps remove ink and residue from the surface of your stamp.

Get yourself an appetizer plate or similar container, and put a small amount of water in it. Next, take your stamp shammy and place it on the container. Let the fabric absorb the water.

Next, take your dirty stamp and gently rub it onto the dampened stamp shammy. Make sure you rub firmly enough to remove any ink or residue from the stamp but not so hard that you damage the stamp design. If you have a large or particularly dirty stamp, you may need to rub your stamp a few times until it is clean.

Finally, pat the stamp dry with a clean cloth or towel, removing excess water. You can now put the stamp away and use it again later. Stamp shammies are typically reusable, and you can use them with or without water.

Method 6: Cornstarch or Talcum Powder

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You can also clean your stamp using cornstarch or talcum powder. However, the powder isn’t really for cleaning, but for absorbing the remaining water and ink in your stamp.

Wipe your stamp off with a wet cloth. Air dry your rubber stamp. Then, apply cornstarch or talcum and brush off the excess powder.  This helps absorb any residual moisture and ensures that there won’t be any water and ink left in your stamp.

How to Clean Self-inking Stamps?

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Self-inking stamps use a different mechanism than wood-mounted stamps. So, there are some extra steps you need to take to clean your self-inking stamps.

So, how to clean self-inking stamps?

Follow these steps:

  • First, you need to remove the ink pad. Most self-inking stamps have their ink pad on the center of the frame. Just slide it out of the frame.
  • Next, get a piece of paper and start stamping to remove the remaining ink on the stamp.
  • After that, push back the moveable part of the stamp to expose the stamp design. Then, lock it in place.
  • Get some soapy water and a toothbrush.
  • Soak your brush with the soapy water and start brushing your stamp. Make sure that the brush is not dripping wet but just slightly damp.
  • Continue brushing until most of the ink on your stamp is removed.
  • Wipe your stamp off with a paper towel. You can brush your stamp again if you think it’s not clean enough.
  • Finally, put back your ink pad into the frame.

Apart from the soapy water, you can also use the cleaning methods I discussed above for wood-mounted stamps.

How to Clean Clear Stamps?

Like self-inking stamps, the cleaning methods for cleaning wood-mounted rubber stamps also apply to clear stamps.  But sometimes, stamp owners use acrylic paint as the ink for their clear stamps. If you are like them, you can use nail polish removers to remove the paint on your clear stamp.

For hard-to-reach areas, you can dampen the cotton buds/pads with the nail polish remover and wipe the paint off clean.

Tips on How to Care for Your Rubber Stamps

Apart from cleaning your rubber stamps, you must also know how to care for them. This will ensure that they last longer and don’t get damaged easily.

Here are some tips:

  • Avoid rough surfaces and storing stamps where they could get wet.
  • Clean stamps after each use to maintain a crisp stamp design and prevent ink build-up.
  • Avoid soaking your stamp in water to avoid damage to the wood handle or case and loosening the adhesive holding the rubber in place. 
  • Do not use rubbing alcohol, acetone, or oil-based products to clean them.
  • Avoid storing stamps pressed against each other or on metal or wood.
  • Use dye-based inks for easy cleaning and wiping.
  • Press down your stamp on paper after use to remove excess ink and assist with future cleaning.
  • Avoid too much pressure when making impressions.
  • Occasionally, clean the case or handle of your rubber stamp.
  • Always check for damage and try to repair it before using it again. Replace the whole stamp if necessary. 

How to Store Rubber Stamps?

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Part of taking care of your rubber stamps is to understand how to store them properly. Storing your stamps well can help them last longer and maintain their quality impression.

Here are some storage tips:

  • Avoid keeping them in any place that could dent the stamps. 
  • It’s best to use flat containers for storage and steer clear of wicker or metal baskets. 
  • Store stamps upside down with the stamp design on the top to avoid dents and ridges on the rubber. This works for both mounted and unmounted rubber stamps.
  • Don’t forget to keep your stamp away from direct sunlight to prevent drying and cracking. 
  • The ideal storage conditions for rubber stamps are a cool, dry spot without direct sunlight, extreme humidity, or heat. 
  • Store rubber stamps only when they are dry.

How Long Do Rubber Stamps Last?

As long as you take care of rubber stamps, they will last many years and even decades. Their lifespan depends on several factors, including the quality of the rubber used to make the stamp and how well you take care of them.

Long exposure to sunlight, heat, and heavy-duty use can make the rubber wear down faster. The wood handle of your stamp can also be infested with mold if it is not cleaned properly.

Proper storage is key to maintaining the integrity of your rubber stamps. Remove the remaining ink from the stamp after use and store it in a dry place.

How Do You Restore Old Rubber Stamps?

Some old or degraded rubber stamps may not be restored to their original condition. But if you want to try, here is a method you can use:

  • Mix 2 tsp glycerin with 1/2 cup of distilled water.
  • Pour the mixture into a shallow dish.
  • Place the rubber stamps into the dish and let them soak overnight.
  • Make sure the mixture only covers the rubber part of the stamps but not the wood mounts and cushioning.
  • In the morning, rinse and clean the stamps thoroughly.
  • If the stamps are still not soft enough, consider extending the soaking time.
  • Use plain glycerin, not a glycerin/alcohol mix.

Does Soaking Damage Stamps?

Soaking your wood handle stamps for a few seconds will not necessarily damage it. As long as you leave the stamp out to dry completely before you use it again, there shouldn’t be any major issues. But keep in mind that water can damage the wood and loosen the adhesive holding the stamp together if you soak it long enough or repeatedly.

However, I do not recommend soaking other types of stamps like self-inking and pre-inked stamps. Self-inking and pre-inked stamps have integrated ink pads or ink reservoirs. If you soak these stamps, the ink may spread out in other parts of the stamp and ruin the stamp.

Soaking will also dilute the ink reservoir or ink pad, so you’ll have to re-ink it before you use the stamp again.

How to Clean Rubber Stamps (FAQs)

What is the Best Way to Clean Rubber Stamps?

The best way to clean rubber stamps is to use a stamp cleaner and pads. The formulation for this cleaning solution is intended specifically for cleaning stamps and inks. Other methods like stamp shammies, soapy water, and hand wipes are also suitable.

Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Rubber Stamps?

 

While rubbing alcohol works excellent on some surfaces, it’s not suitable for rubber stamps. Using rubbing alcohol can dry out the rubber and make it brittle, which could damage the stamp. Stick to cleaning solutions designed specifically for rubber stamps to be safe.

Does Alcohol Remove Old Ink From a Rubber Stamp?

Alcohol may help remove old ink from a rubber stamp. But it might not remove all of it, especially on hard-to-reach crevices. However, I do not recommend using alcohol for cleaning stamps because it can dry out the stamp and cause it to crack. Use a stamp cleaner instead.

 

How Often Should You Clean Rubber Stamps?

 

It’s a good idea to clean your rubber stamps after each use, especially when switching ink colors. Cleaning them regularly prevents color contamination and ensures you get clear impressions every time. If you’re working on a project that requires multiple impressions, you can give the stamp a quick clean during the process to keep it performing well.

Can You Wash Rubber Stamps?

Should you wash a rubber stamp? You can wash rubber stamps to remove excess ink, but you need to wash them properly. The steps involve gently wiping off excess ink, washing the stamp with warm water and mild dish soap, rinsing it under running water, drying it with a clean towel, and avoiding wetting the frame and other parts.

Can You Use Baby Wipes to Clean Rubber Stamps?

Yes, you can use baby wipes to clean rubber stamps, but you’ll want to use alcohol-free ones. Alcohol-based wipes can dry out the rubber and cause it to crack or break. 

Should Rubber Stamps Be Cleaned?

As you continue to use your rubber stamps, you may notice that they start to pick up excess ink or dirt. So, you should clean your stamps regularly to ensure that they work well and last longer. 

Can I Clean Stamps With Water?

You can clean stamps with water, but you’ll want to ensure that the stamp is completely dry before storing or using it again. Try to avoid wetting the other parts of your rubber stamp.

Will Bleach Ruin a Rubber Stamp?

Harsh chemicals like bleach, alcohol, or acetone can cause the rubber to crack and degrade faster.

Conclusion

 

I know cleaning and maintaining rubber stamps can be a bit of a hassle, but it’s worth the effort. The process is not complicated, and the results are well worth it.

 

Keeping your rubber stamp clean ensures that your stamp lasts longer, and you will get the most out of it. You can prevent the build-up of ink and dirt while also keeping the rubber stamp’s design looking crisp and clear.

 

So, why not take a few minutes of your time to clean your rubber stamps?

 

A few minutes won’t hurt!

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