How to Remove Silk-Screen Lettering From Clothes

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Silk-screening uses silk screens and ink to create images and lettering.
Silk-screening uses silk screens and ink to create images and lettering. (Image: old printing image by Alexander Ivanov from Fotolia.com)

Clothing is often silk-screened using screen-printing techniques. Screen-printing utilizes masked screens, sometimes made of silk, and ink to create images and letters. These inks are frequently made from plastisol, which is similar to acrylic paint, although water-based inks are also available. Plastisol and water-based silk-screen inks are both made to withstand repeated washing and drying without losing the image or lettering. However, you can remove silk-screen lettering from clothes, if needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum-based extraction system
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Spot cleaner gun
  • Plastisol remover

Place your screen-printed clothing item on the surface of an extraction system. The extraction system pulls screen printing remover and vapors away. Make sure the screen-printed lettering is on the vacuum surface; think of it like placing a shirt on the end of an ironing board.

Put on protective equipment. Plastisol removers may be hazardous to your health.

Turn on the extraction system and fill the bottle of a spot cleaner gun with plastisol remover. Extraction systems, spot cleaning guns and plastisol remover can be found at screen-printing supply stores.

Spray all of the silk-screen lettering you need to remove. You might need to adjust the fabric to keep it over the extraction vacuum and to remove all of the lettering. Keep the extraction system running even if you need to adjust.

Turn the extraction system off when all of the plastisol cleaner has been removed from the fabric.

Wash and dry your fabric per the care instructions for the fabric type.

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