How to Remove Screen-Printed Letters

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With a little effort and a few supplies, you can remove printing from a shirt.
With a little effort and a few supplies, you can remove printing from a shirt. (Image: Amos Morgan/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Screen-printed letters can be added to any fabric and many flat surfaces that can take heat. Screen printing gives the letters an attractive and professional appearance. Removing letters that have been screen printed can be a little tricky depending on how old the screen printing is and what removal techniques are used. Many times, with a little bit of persistence, the letters can be removed cleanly without any residue.

Things You'll Need

  • Clothes dryer
  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton balls
  • Plastisol remover
  • Protective goggles and mask
  • Soft-bristled hairbrush
  • Soft cloth

Nail Polish Remover

Soak the fabric in cold water. Dry the fabric on high heat in a dryer to remove larger areas of the lettering. Carefully peel the loose screen printing lettering from the fabric with your fingernails.

Apply nail polish remover on a cotton ball to small areas on the fabric. Be sure to dab and avoid rubbing as this may damage the fabric. The acetone chemical in the nail polish remover will help break up the screen printing material. If lettering dissolves and loosens up, peel it from the fabric with your fingernails.

Wash the fabric in cold water again. Dry the fabric on high heat in a dryer. Peel off any remaining lettering that seems loose and torn.

Plastisol Remover

Put on the protective goggles and mask. Apply a small amount of plastisol remover to a soft cloth. Dab the soft cloth on the fabric. Be sure to dab gently but firmly and do not rub.

Peel away any lettering that appears to loosen up and tear. Be sure to use your fingernails to carefully peel lettering. Reapply more dabs of plastisol remover from the soft cloth to the edges of peeled lettering.

Gently rub fabric with a soft-bristled brush to help loosen remaining pieces of lettering without damaging the fabric. Peel off loose letters with your fingernails.

Wash fabric with a gentle cleanser on a gentle machine cycle. Dry on a regular heat setting.

Tips & Warnings

  • Work in a well-ventilated area.

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