NEW Sgreen | Improved With You In Mind
We help busy screen printers get the supplies they need to stay productive & profitable today, while staying healthy long after the printing is done.
This blog will serve as a "How-to, Tutorial, Walkthrough" for each Sgreen chemical, and the sequence of best practices in using them, from beginning to end. We will cover Sgreen Supreme Wash / Ink Degrader / Aqua Wash / Emulsion Stripper / Degreaser / Haze Remover
This blog is to empower each printer with the step by step education and best practices for using the NEW Sgreen chemical line.
ScreenPrinting.com has worked closely with Sgreen for over 6 months, going over ink chemistry and what products are best suited to effectively clean these inks up. We not only looked at the effectiveness of the chemicals, but also its impact on our local ecosystems, on the planet, and especially within our bodies. We did all this before launching the NEW and Improved Sgreen line of ink cleaning and reclamation chemistry. And this is just the beginning of what we are offering! All of this has gone into the Environmentally Friendlier™ Sgreen line.
We have labeled each product with where in the cleaning and reclamation process each product is intended to fall. Either step one, step two, etc in order to clearly illustrate where each product is typically used in the flow of a print shop's production.
Overview:Step (1, 1.1, 1.2) Please note that Step 1 is a bit of a "choose your own adventure", depending upon your preferences as a printer.
- Step 1: Ink Color Changes and ink clean up for Sgreen Supreme Wash.
- Step 1.1: Ink Clean Up for Ink Degrader.
- Step 1.2: Ink Clean Up for Aqua Wash.
- Emulsion Stripper.
- Haze Remover.
Let's Get Started:
Sgreen Supreme Wash (Step 1)
Most screen printers will be drawn to using just one ink cleaning chemical. They will choose a multipurpose cleaner that can be used for color changes, cleaning up old ink left on screens, or for removing ink and cleaning the screen before reclaim. This would be the aptly named Supreme Wash.
To use Supreme wash for a color change, first card off as much ink as possible and simply spray Supreme Wash onto the image area. Using either a blue shop towel, shop rag, old scrap t shirt, anything absorbent, fold it over a couple times, this will allow you to use more of the surface area of the towel for efficient cleaning practices. Now simply scrub in a circular motion. While working on removing the ink, make sure to fold the cleaning towel onto a clean dry side often and reapply Supreme Wash as needed. When the screen is clean of ink, give one final rub down with a dry towel to remove the last of the Supreme Wash. Allow the clean area to dry for up to a minute before either putting down new tape or adding another ink color. We have also included “best practice” cleaning procedures on the bottle if you ever have any questions.
Check out the Sgreen Supreme Wash Video
If you ever have any questions about what is in any of our Sgreen Products, the MSDS sheet is linked at the bottom of each product page.
For those printers who are now done with the screen or print job, it is ready for tape removal and reclaim and you may proceed to Step 2! Emulsion Stripper. For those shops who take a different approach to cleaning screens, Sgreen offers you a second ink cleaner: (See Step 1.1 and Step 1.2)
Sgreen Ink Degrader (Step 1.1)
Sgreen Ink Degrader has been formulated to breakdown and remove ink faster and efficiently compared to Sgreen Supreme. Sounds fantastic! Ahh, but the chemistry needed to do so, leaves an oily residue on the screen… Obviously this is not ideal for cleaning a screen on press so you can keep printing. This is a downside to creating chemistry that is better for you and better for the environment. This reason is why we created the above Sgreen Supreme.
However, the Sgreen Ink Degrader does more to the ink than just clean it up. It actually begins to break down the ink into its base components. This makes the ink “drain safe”. So if you are in a situation where you needed to clean your screen in your washout booth, you can do so. As a best practice process for your eco footprint and to lessen the burden on your local water treatment plant, we strongly to encourage the use of an ink settling and filtration system. While you can find plans online to create one for your shop, we have one ready to go. The Sgreen Filtration System. Check it out and see if this system will work in your dark room.
If you are going to clean your screens the traditional way card off as much ink as possible and simply spray Ink Degradent onto the image area and scrub using either a blue shop towel, shop rag, old scrap t shirt, anything absorbent. While working on removing the ink, make sure to fold the cleaning towel onto a clean dry side often and reapply Ink Degradent as needed. When the screen is clean of ink, give one final rub down with a dry towel to remove the last of the Ink Degrader. Your screen is now ready for reclaim, or to be put on a shelf and cataloged.
Check out the NEW Sgreen Ink Degrader Video
Sgreen Aqua Wash (Step 1.2)
Why have you wasted so much time and effort creating plastisol ink cleaners??? WB ink is the only ECO friendly way to print, Get on board!
Well, you are largely correct! And to ensure you maintain that eco-friendlier™ footprint we have the reformulated Aqua Wash to clean up and cut through the dried up WB inks that are difficult to break down. While you can use water to clean up all water based ink and I have done so myself many times. There are benefits to using Aqua wash to not only clean up the dry bits of ink, but also your image area.
One of the drawbacks to WB inks is the pigment particulate and its size. Because it's of a finer size (smaller than plastisol) it can get lodged in the knuckles of your mesh, creating a pigment stain that is harder to remove than plastisol pigment. This is commonly referred to as an image stain on the mesh. Using Aqua Wash when cleaning up the image area greatly diminishes the amount of pigment that gets left and locked into the knuckle. There are special dispersants used that help to lift the pigment free. Depending on how the screen was used, and the color involved, we can either get most of it and sometimes all of it out in this process.
First, card off as much ink as possible. If the ink has dry chunks, we strongly recommend disposing of it. As we all want to save as much ink as possible, make sure you are only puttin gink that can be reused into your container. If you put back hard or crunchy ink, you can end up contaminating the entire bucket. When ready to clean the screen, simply spray Aqua Wash onto the image area and scrub using either a blue shop towel, shop rag, old scrap t shirt, anything absorbent. While working on removing the ink, make sure to fold the cleaning towel onto a clean dry side often and reapply Aqua Wash as needed. When the screen is clean of ink, give one final rub down with a dry towel to remove any ink remnants from the screen. Your screen is now ready for reclaim, or to be put on a shelf and cataloged.
Check out the NEW Sgreen Aqua Wash Video
Sgreen Emulsion Stripper (Step 2)
So your screen is now clean and you are ready for reclaim! There are 2 ways to remove emulsion from your screen. One, which requires more floor space, is a dip tank. A dip tank is also typically used when you have 10 or more screens a day to reclaim as it's efficiency is best suited to higher volume shops. The method that we are covering here is the spray on method. We first set our screen in our spray out booth (a good nuance here is to put the screen in so the t-shirt side is facing you). Whether that's one screen at a time or several. We now want to spray water on both the front and the back of each screen. Once wet, we take our Sgreen Emulsion Stripper and spray liberally on the t shirt side and use a dedicated blue scrub pad or medium hardness bristle brush to scrub the Emulsion Stripper into the stencil. Use overlapping circles, think Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid. Either Wax On or Wax Off works great! Once you have finished scrubbing the t shirt side of the mesh, you should notice the emulsion starting to disintegrate and drip down the screen. This is exactly what we want. Now flip the screen around and do the same with the squeegee side of the screen. Mr Miyagi says practice makes perfect! Continue doing this to all the screens in your sink, letting them sit for anywhere from 30 seconds to a couple minutes. Thicker stencils, which are typically on lower mesh counts will take longer for the emulsion to soften as there is a greater distance for the active ingredients to travel to break down the bonds. *** DO NOT LET THE SCREEN DRY WITH EMULSION STRIPPER ON IT*** this will lock in the emulsion and you will not be able to get the stencil out again.
Once the screen has had the prescribed amount of time to soften, use a pressure washer and spray the stencil out from the T Shirt side of the screen. The main reason for this is to not put undue pressure on the mesh from the squeegee side as it “can” push the mesh away from the screen, causing premature mesh failure. Take your pressure washer and begin to rinse the screen from the bottom up. Proceed in slow back and forth passes, slightly overlapping as you move your way up the screen. Take care and pay attention to how the emulsion is responding as you pass over it. If you have emulsion not coming free during this step, come back and reapply emulsion remover to it one more time. If the emulsion will not come out after that, try the Sgreen Haze Remover and it's steps below.
Check out the NEW Sgreen Emulsion Stripper Video
Once all of the emulsion is off it's on to step 3! Dehazing your mesh.
Sgreen Haze Remover (Step 3)
Allright. My screens are now emulsion free and have no ink on them! Hmm, wait a minute… Why do i still see my design in my screen? And why is there a fine film that’s the same color as my emulsion? That my friend is a combination of a pigment stain and emulsion haze.
*It should be noted that the Sgreen Haze Remover is a both a haze and pigment remover AND a powerful degreaser in one.
Now not everyone will have emulsion haze left on their screens. It happens from a combination of factors during the emulsion drying and exposure time of your screen. Sometimes the chemical you are using can cause some emulsion to lock in as well. As for the pigment stain, that is a normal occurrence with screens. The pigment particles get lodged in the knuckles of the mesh and do not come out easily. Depending on how you have used the screen, how many times you have cleaned it out, re-inked, let it sit for a week or so before cleaning it up etc, this can lock the pigment in even more. Think of clay or ceramics. As the clay dries out over time it gets harder and harder. It's a good analogy with pigments.
So, to get back to the process of removing the pigment stain and dehazing the screen. While the screen is still wet from removing the emulsion, spray the Haze Remover on the screen and, using a blue scrub pad or medium bristle scrub brush, scrub in a circular fashion, hitting every bit of the screen mesh, making sure to scrub both sides of the mesh. Let the dehazer sit for up to 3 minutes. Sgreen Haze Remover is actually mesh safe. You can leave it on your mesh overnight without any ill effects. The one thing to be very careful of, is getting any haze remover, not just the Sgreen products, on the glue of your screens. Prolonged exposure of the glue to the haze remover can break down the glue and cause the mesh to release from the frame. So to extend your screens life, take extra precautions to make sure your glue is clean during this step.
Once the Haze remover has sat on the mesh doing it's magic, take a pressure washer and rinse the screen from the bottom up. Proceed in slow back and forth passes, slightly overlapping as you move your way up the screen. Take care and pay attention to how the residue is responding as you pass over it. If you find the emulsion haze is still present, or that the pigment stain is still very strong, finish the screen and apply one more time. Letting the haze remover sit for a longer period of time.
After you are happy with the results, use a hose and give the screen a final rinse. We want to see the water cascade down the screen without interference or having any “oil and water” spots show up. Those spots are places where residue of some kind is still present. We will need to use either Sgreen Degreaser or Sgreen Haze Remover to remove these spots.
Check out the New Sgreen Haze Remover Video
Sgreen Degreaser (Step 4)
Speaking of Degreaser! You may ask, why do I need this product when the Haze Remover does the job for me? You are largely correct. However, there are other times in the process that Degreaser comes into play. I primarily use it when I get in a brand new screen and I just need to make sure it's clean and ready for emulsion. Degreaser removes all the oils and dust that can sit on the mesh as it sits in a warehouse, gets handled by multiple people, goes through several shipping containers, etc. It certainly never shows up pristine.
Many shops also like the peace of mind that comes from a final degrease of their screen. It ensures nothing was missed during the dehaze process. The final sheeting action you get after degreasing is also more pronounced with a Degreaser.
Spray the Degreaser on the screen and, using a blue scrub pad or medium bristle scrub brush, scrub in a circular fashion, hitting every bit of the screen mesh, making sure to scrub both sides of the mesh. Let the Degreaser sit for 1-3 minutes. Just like Sgreen Dehazer, Degreaser is mesh safe and can be left on for extended periods of time without any ill effects.
Once the Degreaser has sat on the mesh doing it's magic, take a pressure washer and rinse the screen from the bottom up. Proceed in slow back and forth passes, slightly overlapping as you move your way up the screen. After the spray out of the Degreaser, use a hose and give the screen a final rinse. We want to see the water cascade down the screen without interference or having any “oil and water” spots show up. Those spots are places where residue of some kind is still present. If needed, reapply the Degreaser one more time and follow the same steps.
Check out the NEW Sgreen Degreaser Video
Once you have gone through the process, with your dry degreased screen in hand, you are ready to get coating, burning, inking and printing. If you have a specific question, or are feeling overwhelmed, the team at Ryonet is here for you. Our mission is to help empower busy screen printers with the education and supplies needed to stay productive & profitable today, while staying healthy long after the printing is done. We want you to succeed, and are here to help.
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