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Spot Cleaning 101

Spot Cleaning 101

Most T-shirts and other imprinted garments contain a blend of heart, soul, creative genius and sweat. You have created, nurtured and massaged it (well, squeeged it). It is yours, your baby, nothing will ever harm or hurt it.

At first you pretend not to notice. There’s nothing there. There can’t be. It couldn’t be. Say it isn’t so. Then reality (and depression) hits; there is an ink smudge on your baby. Your immediate response is of course thoughts of suicide, or even worse throwing it in the garbage, which is no way to treat your baby.
By now any seasoned screen printer who has been around the block, or in fact one who has just turned down the first street, knows about spot cleaning guns. Sometimes called “blow-out”, “knock-out” or simply “spotting guns”, these compact units are the surgeon’s scalpel to screen printers, able to instantly cut away unwanted ink and soils from the fabric. Just like surgeons though, spot cleaning guns do have their limitations. Some times it simply isn’t practical to remove a large design or ink mark, as it would take more cleaning fluid and time than the garment is worth.

Spot cleaning is accomplished by shooting a high-pressure jet of a specialized cleaning fluid through the offending soil. The chemical is forced into the ink, breaking it down and then by the sheer pressure of the fluid stream, it is blown out of the back of the fabric. Because of the way in which these guns work, they are only effective on porous fabrics that have been woven or knitted. Vinyl, plastic or any type of leather or animal skin cannot be cleaned in this way.
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