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Last Updated 10/14/09
I use alcohol-free baby wipes to clean my stamps. Yes, if you leave black ink on your stamp it will show through the next time you use that stamp with a lighter ink. To get ink out of the grooves I turn my stamps upside down and scrub it with the wipe. If this doesn't work and you've got some really stubborn ink you can use a brush of some kind to get the ink out, but be careful--the ink may splatter when you do this (that's why I quit using a scrub pad--my stamping area became covered with multicolored flecks of ink!
Sometimes the black ink doesn't totally come off. My Stampin' Up black is an example of that. It doesn't shorten the life on the stamps. Just make sure enough is off the stamp that it doesn't leave a shadow in another inkpad! Some stampers use a cleaning pad and water; some put a cleaning solution on the pad. Cleaning pads are available at stamp stores and through home parties. Some stampers use baby wipes to clean their stamps. I often use a product called Joy of Stamping cleaner. It's pink liquid, available in stamp stores. It smells a little like window cleaner, but probably has conditioners in it for the rubber. It gets black ink off better than anything else I've tried.
What I do to clean my stamps is one of two things:
Either I get out my rubber scrubber, which is one of those painting pads you can get at the hardware store. It is about 5 wide and about 8 long. Sort of like a paint roller but flat. I spray a solution of Simple Green and water on it. When I am done with my stamp, I spray it lightly with the same solution and then scrub it on the pad. Then I wipe it with a wet towel (just water) and let it air dry.
If I am doing a lot of stamping, I just have a wet towel on the table (on a plate), and I set my stamps on it while I continue to stamp (rubber side down) to keep them moist. When I am done, I take all the stamps to the sink, spray them with the Simple Green solution, scrub them on the rubber scrubber and lightly rinse them and place them rubber side down on a dry towel.
Either way works.
Some inks will stain your rubber, but if you clean them off when you use them, they are just a stain and don't cause any problems when you use another color inkpad.
One thing to get out of the way RIGHT now is that if you don't get your stamps dirty, you won't be able to use them to their full potential. I was one who would collect stamps and NEVER put them to an inkpad for fear of getting them dirty and them no longer being pretty!!! I know I was a retard. The cleaner you bought is designed to be rubbed directly on the stamp and then you stamp off onto like a damp paper towel or a sponge or something to get the cleaner off the stamp. What I use is a stamp scrubber found in Michaels or from various stamp companies. I also use one of the flat sponges from the dollar store and put it into a travel baby wipe container that I put plain water on. Try to clean your stamp with plain water whenever possible. This will save on wear and tear and keep your stamps soft and supple. Anytime you use permanent ink, you will have to use the stamp cleaner. Dye pads can usually be cleaned with just water. Pigment can go either way. From what I understand, this is the same rubber that tires are made out of. They are tough! You can even iron them onto velvet!!!
I use water and an old white sock, or an old washcloth to clean most of my inks off stamps. Then I do a final scrub with a scrubber pad. You can find these in the paint aisle of home building stores, or you can order them from different stamp companies. Some people put water on half of the scrubber pad, and use the dry end to finish. Whatever, it works. I then put my dirty sock/washcloth into a load of whites with bleach, and it works fine. Can't use it for anything else though! The stamp cleaner bottle is fine to dab on to your stamps. Then use a washcloth to get the excess off. Then use a scrubbie to get in the fine cracks. Also, try not to press down too much when you are inking your stamps. You're stamps may be stained with the black inks, depending on what brand you use. It is a StazOn pad; I have heard you have to buy their cleaner. Otherwise, if you follow the directions above, you will not have ink left on your stamp, just a gray stain. If in doubt, stamp on white scratch paper after cleaning. If it leaves a gray shadow, clean it some more.
I spray or lightly rub with your type of cleaner on the stamp and then go to Wal-Mart or where ever and go the paint section, they usually are hanging up, they are squares, white fuzzy things called paint pads, they are cheap, 2 for $2 about, don't get the really long hair type, just the regular little squares, about 4 across and 6 long? And they are washable, dish soap and water, and use them to scrub the cleaner off your stamps. Now, you can also use diaper wipes, unscented, less is better but the stamps will get sticky after a while so use cleaner once in a while also. You can also wet a sponge, lay on a clean meat tray, like hamburger comes in and just use the wet sponge but don't get your stamp soaked. And you still need cleaner once in a while to condition the rubber. The little fuzzy part on the bottle will come off if you rub it really hard on the stamp.
I have always used the bottled stamp cleaner with the felt pad on top, what I do is I rub the felt pad onto the stamp with a little excess on it to let it absorb the ink then I take an old wash cloth and I blot away the excess cleaner and then continue to clean my stamp that way. Another way, that is even much easier is to buy a stamp scrub clean up pad, you can get these through most craft stores and stamping outlets. Even Wal-Mart has them. Just spritz your scrub pad with cleaner and then rub the stamp side of the stamp on to the pad to clean it. To get inside those narrow grooves and old toothbrush works great
You might want to try diaper wipes...those without any scent do a swell job of cleaning your stamps and are disposable. The black ink is usually permanent so it will stain the rubber but will not affect any future stamping. It will be dry within minutes of using so will not contaminate the next color.
You can use baby wipes to clean stamps. With a cleaner, you need a scrubber to put the cleaner on, after you soak it with water (make sure you drain it, too!). Make sure part of the scrubber is dry. Then you clean the stamp with one side and then dry it off with the other side!
Stampin'Up carries a great scrubber, with two huge sides to it.
I use baby wipes most often. I have used the stamp cleaners for the permanent inks like memories or Stayzon. I just rub the cleaner on and then use an old wet washcloth to clean it totally off
I use alcohol free baby wipes to clean by blotting my stamp, you don’t even have to pick up the diaper wipe, just leave it flat in the container and use it over and over. Toss when really inked...or dry it out and use as background paper to stamp on later...then I use (I’m not how to explain this) a flat paintbrush pad type thing to dry the stamp off and get any residue off.
I stamp the excess ink off on scrap paper, and then apply the bottled stamp cleaner with that little scrubby end. Then I clean the ink off on a baby wipe (I use those thin portable boxes; keep one in my stamp supplies). Then I dry the stamp, using an old washcloth will do. I have a scrubbing pad just for that glued to top of baby wipe carrier. Permanent inks have a tendency to stain your rubber. It will not hurt your stamp. They have permanent ink cleaners that are better at getting permanent ink (like Memories) off, than others. When using the baby wipe. I do not take it out of the container. I just blot the stamp on it. When that one is dirty, I pull off and throw away, leaving clean baby wipe ready to use. Keep the ink off the fingers that way. I would strongly suggest your taking the first couple of basic stamping lessons if you are anywhere near a store that has classes. It will lay a good foundation for you to build your stamping skills on. You will learn stamp storage, stamp cleaning and care, basic techniques
My favorite way to clean a stamp is with a stamp scrubber, a bristly pad that fits in a plastic box. You soak it with water and the bristles will work into the grooves in your stamp. Keep the box closed and it will stay damp. Just rinse it out once in a white. I don't sell them but your local stamp store should. One word of caution! Be careful when you run your dirty stamp over a scrubber! The bristles will spray dirty water everywhere (just like running your thumb across a toothbrush!).
If you don't have a scrubber, the next best thing is an old washcloth. Just keep it damp, next to your worktable, and rub your stamp clean with it.
I prefer not to run my stamps under water. That much water is hard on the wood/adhesive connection. Eventually your cushion can shrink in leaving the edge of your stamp hanging over the cushion and it won't stamp well around the edges. I do run them under water once in a while if they are really gummed up, but I wouldn't recommend it as a regular way to clean them.
Baby wipes work great to clean stamps when you're on the road.
As for ink stains on your stamps - don't worry about them! It just shows that you are getting lots of good use out of those stamps.
You probably have already gotten a bunch of responses to this, in addition to the one I sent about using a paint pad as a scrubber, but I just wanted to let you know that instead of just water on my scrubber, I use the cleaning solution. I dampen the pad first, and then rub on some of the cleaning solution. It works great for most inks (nothing is very good with alcohol based permanent inks).
Someone said that it doesn't really matter if you have some ink left on your stamp, but you do need to be a little careful since some kinds of ink when applied to your stamp can loosen some of that ink and give you a muddy looking image, and worse, can stain the ink pad... It is best to try to clean the stamp pretty thoroughly unless you are sure you are only going to use one kind of ink in one color with a particular stamp (unlikely, huh?).
Hope you will continue to ask questions as they come up... we were all newbies once upon a time!
You can use anything from Glass Plus to baby wipes to clean your stamps. I even sometimes run them under the tap to clean them off. I find one of my favorites is to use baby wipes. I keep a box of Huggies next to me on my stamping table and find I most often use them. I also have a scrubbie pad. I have the one from Stampin' Up but one of those cheap white scrubbie things that people use to paint with works just as well. I simple spray Glass Plus (no ammonia) on one end and clean with the wet and use the dry to finish up. I hope this answers your questions.