How do they sleep at night?
Cleaning stamps requires--for us freakish neatniks--two levels of cleaning. The first level, what we might call ThreatCon Alpha, utilizes the amazing cleaning powers of water and friction. I use one of these travel cases for Huggies, left over from the days long past when I carried a diaper bag.
Of course, I don't put Huggies or any sort of baby wipe in here because some wipes contain chemicals that can hurt your stamps over time. (I read that on the internet so it must be true.) Instead, I use old washcloths that are dampened with tap water and wrung out. Washcloths are cheaper anyway.
Important Safety Tip: Do not close the wipe container completely with a wet washcloth in it. The washcloth will grow microscopic bacteria, start to stink, and--if left long enough--will grow visible mold, mildew or bacterial mats to rival what you see in the thermal pools of Yellowstone National Park.
Come to think of it, this particular wipe container is, technically, not the one I used in the diaper bag lo those many years ago. The current case replaced one that grew enough stinky life to walk away on its own.
Just don't close the lid all the way. Leaving it cracked lets evaporation outpace spontaneous generation of mutant life forms.
I keep a supply of old washcloths in a drawer in my craft area and generally change them out every other day or so.
ThreatCon-Alpha cleaning works great on pigment ink (Brilliance, Impress, etc.) and non-staining dye inks (like Memento). These wipe off and don't generally leave a residue behind. For inks that stain stamps or leave residue, however, we need to step up the threat condition a bit.
For Hero Arts, Memories, Ancient Page, chalk, hybrid, or other staining inks, simple water and friction won't suffice. We need chemical warfare to get those stamps properly clean.
Have you ever stamped an image in light ink and thought the color was off? You probably hadn't cleaned the stamp properly after previous use. Leaving a dark staining ink on a stamp means running the risk of contamination when using a lighter ink.
Don't take this risk! Two simple, long-lasting supplies will remove the threat and get your stamps sparkling clean in no time.
|This scrubber has lasted about ten years and is still going strong, and the bottle of|
Ultra Clean is my second--just opened--in the same span of time.
A stamp scrubber and Ultra Clean stamp cleaner work to remove pesky stains and contamination from rubber or photopolymer stamps.
Spray the cleaner on the lower pad (which is thicker and removable for washing), rub your stamp on it, then rub the stamp on the dry top pad (which is thinner and glued to the the plastic container), and your stamp is dandy clean!
The cleaner, which has magical anti-grossness properties, won't grow bacteria if the container is closed, so no worries there.
Important Safety Tip: DO NOT, under any circumstances, leave a photopolymer stamp resting on the cleaning pad for any length of time. The cleaner on the bristles of the pad WILL damage the stamp by leaving impressions of the bristles. Wiping the stamp dry after cleaning will prevent any damage.
Note #1: Staz-On Ink requires its own cleaner...according to the internet. I have that cleaner also, with its sponge applicator built in, but rarely use Staz-On.
Note #2: I love the stamp scrubber thingie but you could just spray the cleaner on a washcloth, too...although some cleaner might be wasted if it gets absorbed into the washcloth.
Note #3: Some inks will permanently stain photopolymer, regardless of cleaners used. This staining in no way affects the performance of the stamps and doesn't bother me at all.
Note #4: How patient you are with notes to have made it this far. Thank you!
Feel free to share your tips and techniques for cleaning stamps in the comments. Perhaps I can pick up some new neat freakishness!