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removing shop moss from screen-printing surfaces

3 Ways to Remove Lint and Fuzz from Shop Surfaces

Colin Huggins

Colin is the ink product manager at Ryonet. He has been in the screen print industry since 1996, part of shops both big and small, on press, and in the artist's chair. He spent five and a half years at QCM inks as technical sales and technical ink applications manager. His motto: Be the best at being better.

First, you want to identify the source of all this lint and fuzz (also known as shop moss) within the print shop. The culprit is right there in your hand: aerosol spray glue. The mist is fine enough that it billows up and creates a light haze that then drifts around the shop and lands on just about everything. It is, of course, most noticeable on the equipment we use daily. 

So, how do we get rid of this floating aerosol glue? Oh wait, the question was, how do we clean up the fuzz? It's relatively simple but depending on how long the lint has been around and how thick the layer of glue is, you may require many elbows worth of grease. I would start by using a more eco-friendly ink cleaner. We know these products have minimal impact on you but will still cut through the glue that is holding onto the fuzz. Another reason why you don't want to use aggressive chemicals is that it will strip the paint or powder coating from your equipment, causing a dull surface, or it can straight up remove it down to the bare metal.

So, take your cleaning solution of choice and a spray bottle, and—making sure all equipment is off and has cooled down—spray the affected areas and allow it to settle in for a couple of minutes before wiping everything down. You can use old T-shirt scraps, blue shop towels, or anything else that is absorbent and durable. Then dig in with old fashioned elbow grease.

In the case of the side of your platen, you can either scrub it down or, if the platen is aluminum, you may be able to scrape it off with a razor blade. If you are not using platen paper on top of you platen (and you really should, it makes this next step a breeze), then we recommend applying and scrubbing the glue off several times. You can use an aggressive solvent to do this faster, but if you can avoid it, you should.

Ok, now that everything is clean, how do we keep it that way?

No. 1: No more aerosol spray glue

Use water-based tack. It is far friendlier to use and healthier for you. It will also allow you far more impressions before you need to scrub the platen clean of lint and keep printing again. Just make sure to use platen tape. This way, you can peel the paper and start fresh instead of cleaning everything up again.

No. 2: Use WD-40 or silicone spray

If you still need to use an aerosol (sweats are the primary culprit here), you can lightly wipe down all the affected areas with a little WD-40 or silicone spray. Just remember that when you or a garment touches that surface, some will transfer over to your hand or blank.

No. 3: Clean your equipment regularly

It's far easier to wipe your workspace down during downtime. Some classic time slots are Monday mornings, end of the day during those last 5-10 minutes when your shop is standing around, maybe Friday at the end of the day, but that depends on how much overtime you are pulling.