How To Remove Screen Printing? Complete Guide

screen printing

Screen printing is a popular method for applying a design to a t-shirt, but occasionally you’ll want to get rid of the specific design that’s there. But how to remove screen printing?

By rubbing the design with a cotton ball dipped in nail polish remover, screen printing from clothing can most commonly be removed.

This article will show you how to effortlessly remove screen printing at home. You will also learn how to handle unique fabrics like polyester and how to deal with print residue.

What Is Screen Printing?

T-shirts, bags, and other commonplace items can be stenciled with designs using screen printing, which uses thick ink that doesn’t soak through the fabric. This method is employed by numerous for-profit businesses that sell t-shirts with designs. With the proper equipment and inks, screen printing can also be done quite easily at home.

Screen printing is also referred to as silk screening because the original method involved stenciling the design’s negative onto a tightly stretched piece of silk mesh. The mesh screen is then placed onto the shirt after the printer rolls the thick ink onto the screen. The stencil stops the t-shirt’s negative space from being inked, producing a design!

Because of how straightforward the process is, screen printing usually only uses one or two colors of ink. Heat pressing is probably a good option if you want a t-shirt with a multicolored pattern.

These days, heat pressing is another extremely well-liked method of mass-decorating t-shirts. This entails applying heat to adhere a transfer, most frequently made of vinyl, to fabric. More colors can be used in these designs than in screen-printed ones. However, both techniques employ heat to permanently imprint the fabric with plastic-like patterns.

Both a screen-printed and a heat-transferred design can frequently be removed using the same methods, depending on the type of fabric involved.

Read More: How to Clean Screen Printing Screen?

7 Ways To Remove Screen Printing

As beneficial as screen printing is for transmitting designs (such as brand logos) onto fabric for commercial products. You might want to eventually remove your designs from items like t-shirts and bags. Fortunately, the thick ink used for this technique doesn’t completely absorb into the fabric fibers, making it possible to achieve this. Here are seven efficient methods for getting rid of dated or unattractive screen printing designs from clothing and other items.

1. Nail Polish Remover Or Acetone

Acetone, a chemical in nail polish remover, is extremely helpful in erasing worn-out and cracked screen-printed artwork. Your designs can be removed using either nail polish remover or a bottle of pure acetone. This chemical is a strong solvent, so use caution when handling it.

2. Plastisol Remover

One of the most common kinds of ink used for screen printing is plastisol. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or other particles of a related polymer make up this ink. Plastisol is powerful, much like acetone, so you should always use it in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves when handling it. Start this technique by covering your design with a soft cloth that has been plastisol-soaked.

Spend about 30 minutes letting it sit. Then use a soft brush to gently remove any bits that are flaking, and a soft cloth to remove any plastisol that is still present. Finish by running your product through a typical cycle of the washing machine while using detergent.

3. Spot Removal Fluid

For erasing screen printing designs, spot removal fluid can be very effective. While some spot cleaning tools use air compressors, others simply function like toy water guns. A great way to get rid of small stains in a design is with this kind of cleaning product. Just be careful not to spray your item’s plain fabric, which is easily damaged, and only the design. Finish by washing your product to get rid of all chemicals, just like with plastisol.

4. Cold-water Rinse

To effectively remove screen printing designs, try a good, ol’ fashioned cold-water rinse in the washing machine (or by hand). It’s strongly advised, though, that you use this method only for completely original designs.

5. Iron & Peel

In this method, iron is used to melt the design onto a paper bag, making it simple to peel off any remaining ink.

Generally speaking, you should avoid applying heat to any design you wish to remove because doing so may make it more difficult to remove the ink. This approach, however, is an exception to the rule.

Locate a sizable paper bag, such as those sold at supermarkets. When you look at the bag, you’ll see that one side has a little more sheen. Place the bag’s glossier side against the screen print pattern you want to get rid of.

After that, switch your iron to the lowest setting without steam. After that, repeatedly go back and forth over the paper bag with the iron. We can only hope that the heat will encourage the design to adhere to the paper bag and peel off the fabric!

You can use a plastic scraper or your fingernails to scrape off the remaining ink if any of the designs is still visible on the fabric.

6. Sugar Scrub

Sugar, it’s true, can aid in the delicate removal of freshly printed screen-printed designs. If some of your design is still visible after rinsing it with cold water, try adding a tablespoon of regular sugar. Use a soft cloth or the palm of your hand to gently rub your design.


7. Fade With Washing

All printed designs eventually deteriorate, especially after numerous washings. Therefore, by simply washing your product on a regular basis, you can also remove the design from it. Just make sure to keep your clothing right side out so the design can be removed more quickly. Additionally, keep in mind that your clothing’s color may also fade a little over time.

The removal of screen printing designs is very easy with any of these techniques. Nevertheless, bear in mind that specific solutions might be more effective than others, depending on elements like the size of your designs, the type of garment (e.g., hoodie, etc.) and the type of fabric they are printed on (e.g., cotton, wool, polyester, nylon, denim, etc.). Always keep in mind how much time and effort you’re willing to put into getting rid of your designs.

Read More: How to Burn Screens for Screen Printing?

How To Remove Screen Printing From A Hoodie?

Using the nail polish remover technique previously mentioned, you can typically remove a screen print design from a hoodie. Here are a few more ideas for using hoodies in your work.

Prior to beginning, be sure to place a buffer inside the hoodie. Cardboard that is substantial works well. (In any other case, the hoodie’s back will simply be covered in the ink.

Next, apply gentle pressure to the printed design while rubbing a cotton ball dipped in nail polish remover.

Peel away the wet design with a soft cloth or brush.

Finally, use detergent in a standard wash cycle to wash the hoodie and get rid of the nail polish remover.

Synthetic fibers are widely used in the fabric of hoodies today. Nail polish remover may thus harm the substance. It’s a good idea to test the remover on a tiny, inconspicuous corner of the hoodie before you start.

How To Remove Screen Printing From Polyester?

Speaking of synthetic fabric, dish detergent and a stiff brush work best for removing designs from polyester. You are probably aware that a lot of everyday items, like t-shirts, hoodies, and shoulder bags, these days contain a lot of polyester because the material is so reasonably priced.

The removal of printed designs from this synthetic fabric, which is made of plastic, calls for special handling. Chemical solvents, such as spot removers, are likely to have a negative impact on polyester. Don’t try the iron-and-peel method on a polyester shirt because it can also melt at high temperatures!

Washing a polyester item in warm water and then applying dish detergent to the design while it is still damp will give you the best chance of removing the design. Scrub at the design with a hard brush.

If it starts to flake off, the technique is working. Continue scraping until all of the ink has been removed.

If using dish detergent doesn’t work, you might want to try using acetone or one of the other methods mentioned earlier. Be mindful, though, that these substances may harm polyester fabric.

How To Remove Screen Printing From A Jersey?

Old lettering on a jersey can typically be removed using the nail polish removal technique quite successfully.

Nail polish remover should be applied to a cotton ball before applying it to the design. Rub the flaking letters off with a soft brush or cloth.

Instead of putting the nail polish remover directly on the design, you could also try applying it to the interior of the material. After giving it a moment to sit, carefully remove the old lettering.

On heat-set vinyl lettering, too, this technique frequently works!

How To Remove Screen Printing From Denim?

Denim can be shocked in a cold wash followed by a hot dryer cycle in order to get rid of screen printing. Try to remove the previous design after this procedure.

Any of the seven techniques mentioned earlier may be effective as well.

However, if all you want to do is cover up the outdated design, it might be simpler to sew an embroidered patch over it. A fresh vinyl design could be heat-set over the outdated print as an alternative.

How To Clean Screen Printing Residue?

You might want to give a cold rinse or a final sugar scrub a try before giving up if you tried one of the methods described here but some ink residue is still visible on the fabric.

Try a quick cold wash if you’re working with a new print and haven’t yet set the design to see if the unwanted ink will peel off.

Try the sugar scrub previously mentioned if that doesn’t get rid of the residue or if the design is outdated.

The remaining ink can be removed with a soft cloth or your hand by gently rubbing it over the design with a spoonful or two of sugar. This will loosen the ink from the fabric’s fibers.

Utilizing a standard washing cycle should be done after this method to remove the sugar.

Tips For Removing Screen Print From T-shirts

If you are still having some trouble removing the screen printing from your t-shirt, here are a few tips that you can use that may help:

  • Never use a steam iron when using the iron method as this will cause the ink to dry out further and make it harder to remove.
  • The print will fade more quickly if the t-shirt is washed by hand rather than in a washing machine because you can concentrate the wash better.
  • You can have the screen print on your shirt removed by a professional t-shirt printer by bringing it to them.
  • Never wash a t-shirt in a warm wash before trying to remove screen printing from it because the ink will harden and become more challenging to remove.

Read More: How to Fix Cracked Print On Shirt?


Depending on the type of fabric, removing screen printing from your t-shirt can be challenging.

There are several efficient ways to remove screen printing from clothing. With a cotton ball and nail polish remover, you can apply designs. A printed design can also be successfully erased using a small amount of sugar.

Additionally, you can buy specialized tools like a spot-removal gun that uses pressure to remove designs from fabrics and chemicals that dissolve designs from fabric.

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