How to Clean Rubber Stamps

Cleaning Rubber Stamps

Clean Stamp
Getty Images: Ruth Jenkinson

Keeping your stamps clean is essential if you want to achieve good quality stamped images every time. If you don't clean your stamps after a stamping session you may find that the ink gets transfered to your next project, creating 'muddy' colors or that the detail in your stamp design starts to get clogged with dried ink. When this happens the design starts to become unclear and if you have particularly detailed stamps, you may find the detail disappears.

How to Keep Your Stamps Clean

Whether you're a seasoned stamper or just starting out, learning how to keep your stamps clean is useful. If you can then translate this into a habit then this is even better! You have invested your hard earned money into your stamps, so it only makes sense to keep them clean and in good shape so they give you years of service.

To preserve the longevity of your rubber stamps it is important to keep them clean. Ensuring rubber stamps are clean has many benefits:

  • Clean stamps will not contaminate ink pads with different colored inks.
  • Dried inks can start to clog up parts of a rubber stamp resulting in unclear images.
  • Unclean stamps gather dust and dirt.

There are different ways of cleaning stamps, and individual stampers will have their own preferred method.

Stamp Cleaner

There are special stamp cleaners available and these can be purchased through rubber stamp suppliers and craft stores.

Stamp cleaners are typically sold in a bottle and are designed either to be poured into a vessel to clean the stamps or have an integral cleaning pad built into the bottle.

Baby Wipes

Alcohol free baby wipes are ideal for cleaning stamps and are a handy way to keep stamps clean during a stamping session.

While these may not get into the crevices of the stamp, they are great way to quickly clean away excess ink before the next color is applied.

Soap and Water

Most standard inks can be washed off using normal soapy water (dish washing detergent is fine). An old tooth brush is ideal for washing off any inks that are clinging to the stamps. 

Tips for successful cleaning of stamps

  • Do not soak wooden stamps, this may damage the stamp
  • Tap the stamp after use on waste paper to remove any surface ink, this aids the cleaning of the stamp
  • Avoid any cleaning products that include alcohol, this can cause the rubber to dry out and damage the stamp
  • Store wooden rubber stamps only when they are dry
  • Check the manufactures information for any special cleaning instructions

Note: There is a difference between clean stamps and stained stamps. Some stamps become stained after a time, however are perfectly clean. Do not try to scrub stained stamps clean as this might damage the surface of the stamp.