How to Clean a Heat Press

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A heat press is a machine designed to transfer or imprint an image onto clothing and accessories, such as shirts and tote bags. Much like an iron uses heat to transfer an iron-on transfer to a shirt, a heat press uses heat to do the same thing, on a much larger scale. It is recommended that you coat the platens, or the plates on a heat press, with a Teflon coating to prevent ink and residue from sticking to the plates. When the platens are dirty or have excess ink or residue on them, they need to be cleaned to prevent the residue from transferring to the wrong item.

Things You'll Need

  • Abrasive or non-abrasive cleaner
  • Rag or cloth
  • Heat proof hand protection

Non-Teflon-Coated Heat Press

  • Unplug the heat press from the electrical outlet. Allow the heat press to cool.

  • Use a cleaning product with a bit of grit in it to remove any residue from the platens. Common cleaning products with a bit of grit include Comet, Ajax and GoJo. Scrub the cleaning product vigorously onto the heat press with a cloth.

  • Plug the heat press back into the electrical outlet. Allow it to heat up. Place heat proof hand protection over your hands, and scrub any remaining residue from the heat press. The heat should help remove anything that remains.

  • Turn off the heat press. Allow it to cool. Rinse the platens with cool water and a rag to remove soap residue. Wipe down the rest of the machine with a damp cloth to remove dust and fingerprints.

  • Dry the heat press with a towel.

Teflon-Coated Heat Press

  • Unplug the heat press from the electrical outlet. Allow the heat press to cool.

  • Mix a non-abrasive cleaner with warm water in a small bucket. Non-abrasive cleaners include liquid hand soap and liquid dish soap. Dip a soft cloth or rag in the soapy water. Wipe down the platens. Never use abrasive cleaners on Teflon-coated heat presses as this can damage or scratch the plates.

  • Plug the heat press back into the electrical outlet. Allow it to heat up. Place heat proof hand protection over your hands and wipe any remaining residue from the heat press. The heat will help remove anything that remains.

  • Turn off the heat press. Allow it to cool. Rinse the platens with cool water and a rag to remove soap residue. Wipe down the rest of the machine with a damp cloth to remove dust and fingerprints.

  • Dry the heat press with a towel.

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