How to Remove Screen Printing

How to Remove Screen Printing

Screen printing is a well-known method for applying creative designs to fabric and other materials. Yet, there may be times to remove it for various reasons. Whether planning to repurpose a garment or correcting a design mistake, you may wonder how to remove screen printing from fabric. 

At Thrive Screen Printing, we value your interests and satisfaction. Hence, in this article, we will guide you through the steps and tips to help you effectively remove screen printing.

Different Methods on How to Remove Screen Printing From Fabric 

Screen printing is a widely used technique that involves transferring a design onto various materials. Plenty of companies selling T-shirts and other products with design utilize this technique. 

It is versatile and cost-efficient and can produce high-quality, durable, and aesthetically pleasing products. But what happens when you need to remove it from the fabric, and how to remove screen printing from clothes? 

There are several ways of doing so. Which one you will go for depends on the fabric it is printed on and how large the design is. If you are looking for a simple and affordable screen print removal from your fabric without damaging your garments, follow the guidelines below.

How to Remove Screen Printing

Acetone/Nail polish remover

Using acetone is an easy, convenient, and fast way of removing screen prints from a fabric. Acetone (dimethyl ketone) is a powerful solvent, meaning it can effectively break down any old or cracked ink design. 

Before implementing this method, we recommend testing a small, inconspicuous area on the T-shirt or fabric to ensure the acetone won’t damage or discolor the fabric. This method is suitable for garments made from cotton and fabrics like denim. If the design is newly printed, you can wash it with cold water first to loosen the ink.


Here is how to remove a screen printing design with pure acetone or a nail polish remover:

  1. Pour the acetone/nail remover on a pad or a cotton ball.
  2. Apply it on the screen printing and gently dab it onto the screen printing. Avoid rubbing aggressively, as the ink can spread.
  3. Let the acetone sit for a few minutes to break down the ink.
  4. Take a soft cloth and rub gently using constant circular motions for a few minutes.
  5. Depending on the ink, thickness, and fabric, you may need to repeat this process a few times.
  6. Wash the fabric with gentle detergent soap to remove any residue.
  7. Inspect the fabric for any traces of ink. If needed, repeat the process.
  8. Once the design is gone, wash the fabric to remove the nail polish remover. 

Note: You can implement this method to remove a logo from the garment. However, keep in mind that the fabric where the logo has been might not look pristine after removal.

How to remove screen printing from polyester

Speaking of synthetic fabric such as polyester, the best method for removing screen printing from such fabric is using a dish detergent and a stiff brush. This is because polyester doesn’t react well to chemical solvents and spot removers.

Instead, you can wash it using warm water and apply a dot of dish detergent onto the design. Use the brush to scrub the design until the ink is scraped away. You can try another alternative if this method doesn’t work on your fabric.

Iron and paper bag

If you are interested in learning about removing screen printing from clothes made with delicate cotton fabric, we explained everything. We recommend adhering to the following steps to melt the design onto a paper bag:

  1. Set the iron at a low temperature appropriate for cotton fabric.
  2. Lay the bag against the screen-printed design.
  3. Press the iron over a kraft paper and run it back and forth several times.
  4. Keep your garment on the ironing board until the screen print melts.
  5. Remove the paper and the iron and rub the leftover ink using a plastic scraper or a toothpick.

Note: You usually want to avoid applying heat to a design you want to remove as it can make it more challenging to remove the ink. However, this method is an exception. Also, be sure not to use steam when implementing it.

Spot removal fluid

Another way you can remove screen printing from a piece of fabric is by using spot-removing guns. Some work using an air compressor, while others work similarly to toy water guns. This is because the spot-removing fluid can damage the plain fabric.

The principle on which the spot-removing guns work is using pressure and a chemical solvent to dissolve the ink. For this method, you must precisely aim the gun at the design. You need to fill the gun with the liquid and aim it on the design.

We also suggest placing an old towel under the screen-printing surface to soak the escaping ink. After you remove the design, we recommend washing the fabric to remove the chemical solvent.

Plastisol remover

Our design and printing team at Thrive Screen Printing works with companies worldwide. We help them design and distribute high-quality and visually appealing plastisol printed products. This is one of the most popular inks for screen printing designs onto garments.

If you want to remove such ink from clothes, you can use a special plastisol ink remover or other types of specialized ink removers designed for various types of ink. The remover is strong, so you must protect your skin with gloves and work in a well-ventilated area. For this technique, you should follow these steps:

  1. Soak the cloth in the plastisol remover and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
  2. Use a soft brush to remove any flaking bits from the artwork.
  3. Using a soft cloth, wipe away any remaining plastisol.
  4. Finish by washing your garment in the washing machine and use detergent. 

Removing screen printing using sugar scrub

If you are still wondering about the removal of screen printing for fabric, you can try using a sugar scrub. While this method works better on new and fresh designs, you can implement it on older screen-printed designs. Follow these steps to remove screen printing using this method:

  1. Rinse your fabric in cold water. 
  2. Add a tablespoon of sugar scrub to it.
  3. Using a damp cloth, start rubbing with circular motions.

How to remove screen printing from a shirt

All the methods we mentioned above can effectively remove screen printing from clothes. If you are still wondering how to remove screen printing from shirts, there are a few options that you can consider.

If you have a jersey, the nail polish remover may be a suitable method. It often works for the removal of heat-set vinyl lettering. When removing screen printing from a hoodie, you can try the nail polish remover method we described earlier. Before employing any technique, determine the fabric the shirt is made from.

How to remove screen printing from a shirt

Techniques to Employ for Different Types of Fabric

Cotton and polyester

Some have a pure cotton composition, while others contain a blend of cotton and polyester. The iron and paper bag technique may be effective if the shirt is made from cotton. Conversely, if the fabric is more than 50% polyester, you can try the method with dish detergent and a stiff brush.


Nylon is another synthetic material that requires special treatment to avoid damaging the material. To remove unwanted artwork, you can use a WD40. Spray it onto the design and let it sit for a few minutes. Next, rub the design with an old towel. In an ideal situation, the design will dissolve, and the towel will wipe the solution away.


To remove screen printing from denim fabric, you can soak the garment in a cold wash and follow it with a hot dryer cycle. After following these steps, you can try to peel the old design. You can also try other methods that we have described earlier.

Additional Screen Printing Removal Techniques

When it comes to removing screen printing from fabric, many options exist. Aside from the methods mentioned above, there are a few more methods you can try out. Common removal solutions include:

  • Alcohol or isopropyl alcohol – Dampen a cloth or cotton ball with rubbing alcohol. Gently rub the printed area with a circular motion until the ink starts to lift. Afterwards, wash the fabric. 
  • Heat gun or hair dryer – Apply heat aiming at the screen printed area while keeping the fabric taut. Doing so can soften the ink, making scraping the ink with a flat and non-abrasive tool easier.
  • Hairspray – Spray a small amount of hairspray on the design. Let it sit for a few minutes, and blot with a clean cloth before washing the fabric.
  • Lemon juice and salt – Mix the lemon juice with the salt to create a paste. Apply the mixture to the screen-printed area and scrub gently. Rinse and wash the fabric afterward.

Other easy solutions

  • Abrasives – Sandpaper, abrasive sponge, and steel wool can also be used for removing screen printing. However, you must use this method carefully to avoid damaging the underlying material. 
  • Bleach – This method is only for white fabrics. Dilute bleach in water according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply the mixture to the area and wash immediately after the ink fades. 
  • Pressure washing – A high-pressure washer can also remove the ink. Yet, you must be careful not to damage the material underneath.
  • Natural solutions – If none of these methods is an option, you can also try natural solutions such as vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and salt.

Tips to Consider When Removing Screen Printing From a Fabric

As a piece of general advice, safety should be your priority when removing screen printing from fabric. This involves wearing protective equipment, especially if you are working with chemicals. Consider wearing gloves to protect your skin and placing plastic sheeting on your working surface to protect your working surface.

Remember to test any method on an inconspicuous area before applying it to the whole garment. While scrubbing the print residue, ensure the fabric is intact. Keep in mind that some methods may work better on certain types of inks and fabrics.

More on removing screen printing from a fabric

Some removal techniques work better on smaller designs, while others are more suitable for larger artwork. If any ink residue is still there after a specific method, you can try a cold rinse or a final sugar scrub. 

If none of the methods is an option, you may consider placing a new design over the one you would like to replace. At Thrive Screen Printing, we use advanced equipment for the creation and printing of various materials.

We prioritize high-quality printing and aim to create sharp and vibrant designs that will elevate the look of your garments. Our team has extensive screen printing experience, allowing us to handle various projects with precision and skill.

We offer various customization options, timely delivery, and competitive pricing. Also, we are committed to eco-friendly printing practices and providing exceptional service, turning your creative ideas into reality.

More on removing screen printing from a fabric


If you were wondering how to remove screen printing from various fabrics, hopefully, you found what you were looking for in this post. You can achieve removal using different methods, depending on factors such as the fabric type and the design size. Whichever method you opt for, prioritize safety by using appropriate protective gear and working in a well-ventilated area. Approach the process carefully and patiently, especially when working with delicate and valuable garments. If you want to learn more about screen printing services, contact us today!