Looking After Your Photopolymer stamps – including DIY Photopolymer Cleaning Cloth

I love the new style of photopolymer stamps that Stampin’ Up! introduced last year (or was it the year before now?  I lose track!).  The quality is amazing, the price is excellent and they stamp as well as clear or wood rubber.  But … they show the signs of use – particularly the not-so-attractive hot pink hue they take on once you start cleaning them.

Here are a few tips that may help with using photopolymer stamps:

  • Always clean your PP stamps straight after use (see below for a great DIY cleaning cloth)
  • Some stampers swear by first stamping in a light colour (ie, Blushing Bride) for the stamp’s first use to reduce the dark ink the stamp takes up in subsequent uses
  • PP stamps WILL stain if you use dark colours – particularly those with red bases (Blackberry Bliss, Cherry Cobbler), so if you can’t handle the stain, don’t use dark colours!
  • You can use Staz On ink with your PP stamps, but make sure to clean immediately afterwards.  Staz On cleaner can be used but it’s not recommended by Stampin’ Up! If you need to use it, use it straight away and be sure to remove all traces of the cleaner before storing your stamps again.  Other stampers have recommended Hero Arts Ultra Clean as a safe way to clean Staz On ink from photopolymer stamps.
  • PP stamps prefer to be stored away from direct sunlight
  • If your PP stamps lose their ‘sticky’, wash them in warm water & a small amount of gentle dishwashing liquid  & allow to air dry on some clean paper towel.  This will restore them to their usual tacky selves.
  • Mount PP stamps by placing the stamp face down on your work surface and lower the block directly on top.  This will help to keep the intended shape & alignment of your PP stamp before you ink it up.
  • Take PP stamps off your blocks gently and avoid pulling them.  If you’re not careful, you can unwittingly stretch or tear your PP stamps.

I’ve long suspected that the pink staining that is so comment with PP stamps had more to do with cleaning the stamps using the Stampin’ Scrub than the actual ink use itself.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I love my Stampin’ Scrub and will continue to use it religiously for all red rubber stamps (clear & wood sets).  But, for photopolymer, I wanted to share this idea with you from Maggie Mata (Maggie Made Cards).  Maggie uses a PVA car cleaning cloth to clean her PP stamps.  I’ve been trying this for a couple of weeks now and it works a treat.  And I couldn’t wait any longer to share it with you!  Thanks Maggie!

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If you’re in America, you can purchase a cleaning cloth from Maggie’s website.  If you’re in Australia (or the rest of the world), try a car supplies store.  You need to buy a “PVA chamois”.

This is Maggie’s how-to video:

 

You may get the same results from using baby wipes, but as a rule, I’m against single use items wherever possible.  These clothes are great in that you can use them continuously for a long period of time and they can be washed and used again. They need to be kept wet to maintain their quality, so ironically, I’m storing mine in a recycled wipes case!

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I’d love to hear from you if you’re using a similar method for cleaning your stamps or if you’ve got any other PP tips.  Thanks again to Maggie for sharing a tip that has rocked my stamping world.  Kelly x

UPDATE – September 2015

Wow!  This post gained some serious Pinterest momentum this month.  What would we do without Pinterest?  Thanks everyone for stopping by.

When I first wrote this post (in an excited flurry after coming across Maggie’s PVA chamois idea), I stored my cloth in an old baby wipes container that I had on hand.  Which means,  I completely missed the obvious choice of storing it in a Stampin’ Up! clear-mount case {strange for me – it’s my go-to storage option!!!}.

I have now made the change and my photopolymer cleaning cloth is now suitably homed in a clear case.  Thanks to Di Barnes & Randi Henry for the storage suggestion.

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There has been some discussion about the using the PVA cloth for more than just cleaning your photopolymer stamps.  Fellow Aussie stampers Cheryl Algie and Wendy Hodkinson have also been using it for cleaning their brayers and inky embossing folders.  Thanks to Cheryl & Wendy for sharing their clever ideas.

As well as the love for the actual hobby, one of the things I love the most about Stampin’ Up! is the sense of community.  It’s always a good feeling to be among people who are as passionate (? crazy) about something as you are.  Kelly x

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26 thoughts on “Looking After Your Photopolymer stamps – including DIY Photopolymer Cleaning Cloth

    1. I was wondering if using a Genuine Leather Chamois works. Is it the same as the one you are recommending? Hope so!

      1. Hi Denise. I think it needs to be synthetic – but not sure of the science behind that! If you use a genuine leather one I’d love to hear how it goes. Kelly x

  1. Oh my gosh! Kelly, I feel famous. LoL…thank you so much.

    Yes, just add water. Stampin’ Mist also works kellykent, but water works just as good.

    I still do use my Stampin’ Scrub on my red rubber stamps.

    1. Thanks Randi. I’m just about to update the post with a few more good ideas people have shared with me for the cloths. I think I was so excited about Maggie’s life changing tip I put it in the first thing I could find!!!

  2. You shouldn’t use Stazon cleaner on clear stamps. It will cause them to disintegrate. Use Ultra Clean instead. I learned this from either Jennifer McGuire (jennifermcguireink.com) or Kristina Werner, who works for Simon Says Stamp.

  3. I just found out this week, from demo support at SU, that Staz-On cleaner is not recommended for PP stamps. I was told to just wipe off the excess ink then use the Stampin’ Mist and scrub to clean the PP stamps. FYI. 😀

      1. Thanks for the update, Kelly. It’ll be interesting to see what demo support says. Also, thank you for the link. I had not seen that bit of info in quite some time and had forgotten their recommendation regarding StazOn ink. 😀

      2. The update from Australian DS is that Staz On StazOn Cleaner can be used but is not recommended, if it is used the stamp needs to be cleaned immediately or it will damage the stamp.
        Clear as a clean photopolymer stamp? 🙂
        Kelly x

  4. I know lots of people don’t use stays on or archival on photopolymer, bu, if you are like ame, and do….. Can you clean using a chamois? Excellent tip! Thankyou!! Xxx

    1. I’m like you and use archival ink with all my stamps – I buy to use & love, not to collect. Unfortunately, the archival will stain your PP – there’s no getting around it. But by cleaning with the chamois, you don’t also get the horrible pink stain too. You can spray the stamp with a little Ultra Clean (or similar) to make the archival stain lighter. Hope that helps! Kelly x

    1. Hi Anna. Unfortunately nothing will clean your PP stamps once they are stained. It’s a part of using that type of stamp. Using this cloth will help to avoid the hot pink stain that you get when cleaning them with a well used Stampin’ Scrub. Kelly x

  5. Lawn Fawn has just come out with this kind of cloth to clean stamps with too. But it’s less expensive to get one from the auto parts store and cut it to the size you want.

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