It's important to look after your stamps to preserve their longevity. The three biggest things you must consider are how to store them, how to clean them and what ink to use. Rubber and clear stamps generally need to be cared for differently, so we've compiled a little list of pointers to make sure you can take the best care of yours.
- Store on a flat, dry surface, rubber side down.
- It's recommended to use pigment-based ink or dye-based ink.
- Always clean ink off the rubber after use – but please note that there is a difference between the stamp being clean and stain-free.
- Most inks will wash off with soap and water, however try not to soak the stamp or immerse the wood in water as it can start to crack. Using this method, you must be very careful to only rub the rubber surface or else you can loosen the adhesive.
- Alcohol-free wipes are a favourite with stampers due to their ease of use – do not use wipes containing alcohol.
- Generally, the best method is to use a specialised stamp cleaner. As stamp cleaners are specially designed for this purpose, they can clean most types of ink off rubber with a little scrubbing – without damaging the stamp.
- It's important not to use acetone, bleach or any oil-based cleaner.
- Store on a special stamp sheet (they usually come on one!) out of direct light and temperatures too hot or cold.
- Don't use solvent-based or oil-based inks with this type of stamp.
- These stamps are prone to staining so don’t worry too much if you can't get them looking good-as-new. What's important is that they're clean enough for the ink not to ruin another project.
- Before cleaning the stamp, you should stamp off the excess ink onto some scrap paper.
- The quickest method is using mild soap and warm water, however this may not get stubborn ink off. Please bear in mind – it's not recommended to use anti-bacterial soap as your stamps can dry out.
- As with rubber stamps, many stampers prefer alcohol-free wipes.
- Stamp cleaner is also available for clear stamps (and acrylic blocks!). This option may be best if you want as much of the ink removed as possible, however please don't use permanent ink remover as it's prone to wearing down the stamp image.