How to Clean Rubber Stamps

Four Methods:Removing fresh ink off rubber stampsRemoving dried ink off rubber stampsRemoving lint or dust from a rubber stampUsing a commercial stamp cleaner

With just a few uses, the ink begins to build up on rubber stamps. If you want to change colors or keep the stamp cleaner, cleaning the stamp is an important part of keeping them in good condition.

Method 1
Removing fresh ink off rubber stamps

Choose one of the following methods for removing fresh ink.

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    Use soapy water. Be aware that washing this way can loosen the adhesive of the rubber portion from a wooden block stamp. If that is a concern, use the wipes method instead; alternatively, only wipe, do not dip (and definitely do not soak) the rubber stamps.
    • Fill a bowl with warm, soap water. Use a mild soap.
    • Dip the stamp into the bowl to dampen the rubber portion. Alternatively, dip the cleaning implement in the soapy water, to spare the stamp holding portion from getting wet.
    • Use a cleaning cloth to wipe the ink off or scrub with an old toothbrush.
    • Repeat until the ink has come off.
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    Use wipes. Simply wipe the ink off using any suitable wipe, such as a baby wipe, a cleaning wipe or a travel wipe. The wipes are safest when they do not contain alcohol or aloe. To dry, press into a thick layer of paper towel.
    • This is a good method for using while stamping, in between color changes.
    • Wipes only work on water/archival based ink; not permanent ink.

Method 2
Removing dried ink off rubber stamps

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    Check the condition of your stamp. If it has a lot of dried ink in between the characters or lines, it is harder to read the printed image. If you are unsure just by looking at the stamp, do a test stamp on a piece of scrap paper, then check the document imprint.
    • Dried ink that is flat and clean on the stamp is a color stain, not a dirty stamp. It is only if the ink has built up and interferes with your stamping that it's a real problem.
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    Find a basin with hot, running water.
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    Let the water run until it gets hot. Hold the stamp by the handle. Run the rubber image under the water until the water runs clear. It's okay to see black, red, or another color of ink while rinsing the stamp.
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    Shake the stamp until it's dry enough for you. Use a paper towel to dry it completely.
    • Clean the sink after this, to remove any ink stains.

Method 3
Removing lint or dust from a rubber stamp

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    Lay a piece of tape on a table. Lay it sticky side up.
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    Press the stamp onto the sticky side of the tape. The dust, hairs or lint will come off the stamp and be left on the tape.

Method 4
Using a commercial stamp cleaner

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    Purchase a purpose-made commercial stamp cleaner. These are available from craft stores and online craft supplies stores. Check the packaging to confirm that the cleaner is appropriate for rubber stamps.
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    Follow the instructions provided on the packaging.


  • If you are particular about reading the sticker label on the stamp, you may want to do this at an angle so the ink-colored water doesn't splatter onto the sticker.
  • Do not soak wooden stamps if you decide to soak the stamp. Only acrylic or plastic backings can withstand soaking.
  • After cleaning, only store stamps when they are dry.


  • Cleaners to avoid include oil-based, acetone or bleach. Each of these will cause rubber to dry out, crack and potentially fall off.
  • If you run the rubber stamp under hot water for a long period of time, it may warp or melt your stamp. Hot water can also cause the rubber to crack.
  • If you are wearing long sleeves, push them up, or roll them up while removing ink; this will avoid any chance of removing ink.

Things You'll Need

  • Soapy water
  • Wipes
  • Hot, running water
  • Tape

Article Info

Categories: Stamping and Stencils