A heat press machine applies pressure and heat to materials like fabrics, foams, paperboard, or film. It does this by sandwiching the material between two heated platens. The heat transfer from the upper platen causes the material to become soft and pliable. When you want to release the pressure, you remove the upper platen, which cools down quickly because of its limited contact with the lower platen.
Heat press machines are often used for t-shirt printing depending on what type of t-shirt is printed. They are also used for applying vinyl graphics to products like laptop cases, car window decals, and more.
The best way to keep your heat press machine in tip-top condition for years to come is by cleaning it thoroughly after every use. This will help to avoid any future problems that arise from neglecting the machine.
When to clean a heat press?
If you notice any old imprints of numbers or letters or any other unnecessary markings on your upper platen, don’t wait for them to dirty up again. It’s time to clean your heat press.
The Complete Guide to How To Clean A Heat Press Machine
Shut off and unplug the machine to clean your heat press machine. Start by shutting it off and unplugging it from the power outlet. You mustn’t touch any part of the machine while it is still on because it can cause electrical shock, potentially fatal.
Depending on how high volume you are printing with your business, cleaning your machine should take about 30 minutes per day or less.
1) Let the heat press cool down
It can be tempting to clean the heat press immediately after pressing, but this is the worst thing you can do. The heat press needs time to cool down before it can be cleaned. Otherwise, you risk damaging the machine as well as harming yourself.
Letting the machine cool down for 5-10 minutes after use will allow any excess moisture to evaporate and prevent rust from forming.
2) Use a soft cloth and a gentle cleanser
To clean your heat press machine, try using a soft cloth, like a thin T-shirt or similar item. Ensure to rinse and dry the fabric well between uses and use a gentle cleanser like a non-abrasive hand cleaner and household iron cleaner. You can also use dish soap and water to clean away any dirt.
Some heat presses have a coating on their platen. Scrubbing the surface with a harsh pad or chemical may cause the Teflon-coated heat press to be scratched off or removed. A scratched coating on a heat press machine is a common cause of pressure- and temperature-related problems, and it may also lead to transfers not sticking to the fabric.
3) Keep the process neat and tidy to avoid mess
Prevent messes during heat press operation by prepping surfaces with a release paper as a cover sheet.
Covering the lower platens of the press can protect it from dirt & debris build-up and reduce wear on the corners. You won’t need to clean the heat press too often if you avoid the mess up. This will also help to extend the service life of your equipment.
How do you remove sticky residue from a heat press?
The best way to remove a sticky residue from a heat press is to use a non-abrasive scrubbing tool and a mild detergent.
Remove the residue by applying a solvent to the press. You can use acetone, alcohol, or paint thinner, for example. Be careful not to apply the solvent near the electrical connections.
Can I use Goo Gone to clean my heat press?
No! Goo Gone will damage the heat press platen and the heat transfer material.
Why does my heat press smell so bad?
If your heat press smells bad, it may be due to the type of shirt being pressed. For instance, the heat press may start smelling bad after a few uses if you are pressing cotton shirts. This is because cotton is a natural fiber.
Other possible reasons include the smell coming from the oil which is used for coating on the heated platen. The oil helps prevent the platen from sticking to the garment.
How do you maintain a heat press machine?
A heat press machine does not need a lot of maintenance. Provided that the machine is not misused, it should be able to last for many years.
The following steps will help to keep the machine in working condition for a long time.
- Always turn off the power to the machine before cleaning.
- Clean the machine before and after each use.
- Make sure there is enough pressure on the device before applying heat.
How do you remove ink from a heat press?
Place a paper towel over the ink on the heat press and iron the paper towel. The ink should be absorbed into the paper towel.
How do you get melted vinyl off the heat press?
It depends on the type of vinyl you are using. If it is waterproof vinyl, then you need to peel it away from the heat press gently. If it is a non-waterproof vinyl, it is best to spray the vinyl with water and soak for an hour or so before peeling the vinyl away from the heat press.