How To Clean A Heat Press At Home: Step By Step

For those who are in the graphic design business, the heat press machine is the heart of their establishment. It is the most important asset that makes money for you. Therefore you should take proper care of it so that it will not disappoint you one day.

The heat press machine we all know is a solid and reliable designing instrument but it can also break down. If you want it to last longer and always serve at its best, you need to take proper care of it in the following ways:

Lubrication: although a newly purchased heat press machine does not need maintenance, it is important to monitor the exposed parts like the rod at the pivot or the hinge points. You should lubricate your heat press with high temp lithium grease for at least every six months going on one year.

Mind you, if you use much grease for the lubrication, it might bring stain to your materials. Therefore be very careful when you are lubricating your heat press.

Heating Element: this is another important part of the heat press machine that needs maintenance. You should carefully and thoroughly wipe off the ink on the heating element immediately after each print. It is better to clean the heating element when the machine is still hot so that you will bring all the ink out.

Use a flannel or soft material to wipe off the melted ink when the press machine is still hot. Make sure that you do it carefully to avoid being burned.

When you have done this and it did not work out, turn off the heat press machine. Allow the machine to get cold and use a domestic surface cleaner or a solvent that is recommended by the manufacturer.

With the help of a soft flannel material, wipe off any remaining ink that is on the heat press. Please do not use a metal scraper or a rough material to clean the heating element to avoid causing damage to it.

Lower Rubber Pad: this part of the heat press is another area that should be taken care of. It is designed with high temp silicone rubber which causes it to wear after a period of time. The wear create low areas on the edges or in the middle and this can cause inefficient output.

If you want to know if your machine's lower rubber pad has wear, cover strips of paper on the edges of the pads and lock down the heat platen. Then try pulling out the papers.

If the papers comes out easily, it means that the pads have worn and this will cause inappropriate application pressure.

If this occurs, the best thing to do is to purchase a new one and replace the ones that are worn. It’s just a simple task to do and your machine will start operating normally again.

The Pneumatic Press: If your heat press is the type that is air operated, make sure that your airlines are kept moisture free. All you have to do is to build-in a water trap on the airline to catch the water before air goes into the machine.

Please do not allow moisture laden air to enter your machine to avoid internal damages or outright breakdown of your machine.

Things you should always have around:

There are certain parts that you should always keep in store for emergency situations if you have a heat press machine. They are as follows;

  • Circuit Breakers
  • On/Off swithces
  • Gas springs
  • Triac
  • Add a control board

The heat press machine is just like any other machinery you may have. They are subject to wear and tear. This makes it a necessity to have replacement parts around to be prepared for any unforeseen occurrences.

When Is It Proper To Clean Your Heat Press Machine?

1. This is when you look at the upper platen of your heat press and find out that there are remaining numbers or letters that is burnt into it.

2. When a long time has passed and you know that your heat press machine is due for a cleaning.

Things you need for the cleaning exercise.

  • A flannel or a piece of soft cloth
  • A heat proof hand glove.
  • Abrasive/ nonabrasive cleaner
  • A household’s surface cleaner or a solvent

Cleaning Proper:

In case your heat press is the type that is coated with Teflon, do the following: 

  • Unplug the heat press from the electric and allow it to cool down to be on the safe side
  • You can now mix your households cleaner or liquid soap with warm water.
  • Dig the flannel or soft piece of cloth in the warm water and proceed to clean your press platens.

If this method did not do the work, you can follow this procedure:

  • Plug in your press machine and allow it to heat up
  • ​With your heat protection hand glove on, wipe off the remaining stains on the platens with a rag dipped in soapy water
  • ​Switch off your heat press machine and allow it to cool down
  • Use a cool water to rinse the platen and wipe off the platen with a dry soft cloth in case of any remaining soap water
  • ​Also, clean up other parts of the press machine with a dry rag in the case of fingerprints or dust layers
  • Then proceed with the cleaning of the entire heat press machine

If your machine is not coated with Teflon, you should follow these steps: 

Just like the usual procedure,

1. Remove the plug from the electric socket and allow it to cool down.

2. Unlike the other press machines, this one will need a cleaning agent that has teeth. Something like sandpaper that will help to effectively clean the platens.

3. Plug back the press machine in the electric. With your heat-protection gloves on, scrub off the affected areas.

4. Turn off the heat press and allow it to cool down. Then rinse the platens and clean it with a dry rag to remove soap water from the platens.

After the above steps, use a damp cloth to clean up the entire body and parts of your heat press machine.

Final Verdict:

With the above guidelines, you will successfully clean your heat press machine to answer you whenever you call. Please do not forget to turn off the machine before cleaning or to wear heat protection hand gloves if your machine is hot to avoid damages.

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