How to Clean a Heat Press

by Karen Jones

The use of heat press for customization purposes is gaining widespread recognition in different parts of the world. People that established graphic designing businesses as a source of earning income make use of heat press machine. The machine has become the heart of their business. Due to the importance of the heat press machine to business owners, they must know how well they can maintain it. With adequate maintenance, the machine will function effectively to meet the financial target for each business day. When using a heat press machine, you may print a transfer upside down or have an adhesive residue on the platen. You may also melt a bag on the surface by applying a high temperature while printing on it. Hence, it is important to clean up the dirt from the machine periodically. This will help reduce wear and tear and also extend the lifespan of the heat press machine. Nowadays, there are different methods through which you can clean your heat press machine after use. However, these methods are not known to many users of the machine because of the paucity of information in this regard. The importance of cleaning a heat press machine necessitates the need to discuss the simple stepwise processes to effectively clean it for long-lasting services. With that said, today, I will be telling you how you can clean a heat press machine.

How to Take Care of a Heat Press Machine

How to Take Care of a Heat Press Machine
How to Take Care of a Heat Press Machine

The heat press machine is virtuous equipment that must be maintained. If you have the machine in your place of work, you can take care of it in the following ways.

1. Lubrication

Lubrication is an important exercise that must be done on any machine that is consistently used or not. Though, it may not be necessary when you newly purchase your heat press machine. However, you must monitor the parts of the machine that are exposed to unfavorable weather conditions. These parts include the hinge points, pivot rods, and many more. When lubricating your heat press machine, you should use high-temperature lithium grease. The grease must be applied to the sensitive and outer parts of the machine at least twice a year. Also, avoid the use of excess grease on the machine because it will stain the materials you want to customize. Hence, you must take appropriate precautions when lubricating a heat press machine.

2. Heating Element

The heating element is another part that needs proper maintenance provided you want your heat press machine to last longer. When you are carrying out the maintenance, you should ensure you wipe off the ink that spills or is leftover on the heating element after completing a print. It is most appropriate and effective to clean the heating element after you use it, most importantly, when is still hot. When you do this, the ink will be cleaned thoroughly. To clean the melted ink from the surface of the heating element, you can use a soft material or flannel. When cleaning the element, exercise caution to prevent being burnt in the process.

Pampered Chef Nylon Pan Scrapers Set of 3 in Brown
Pampered Chef Nylon Pan Scrapers Set of 3 in Brown

In case you clean the element when it is hot and you discover it's not working out well, you can turn off the machine and allow it to cool down. Then use a solvent recommended by the manufacturer or a domestic surface cleaner to remove the ink on the surface. This method should work out effectively.

Through the use of effective soft flannel material, remove any ink that is left on the heat press machine. While doing this, ensure you don't use a rough material or a metal scrapper because it can damage the surface of the heat press machine.

3. Lower Rubber Pad

The lower rubber pad is an essential part of the heat press machine that needs proper maintenance. The part of the machine is designed with a high-temperature silicone rubber that makes it wear over a specific period of time. The duration with which it can wear depends on the extent of use of the heat press machine. When the lower rubber pad wears out, it creates low areas in the middle of the edges which results in an inefficient output when printing on materials. If you desire to check maybe the lower rubber pad of your machine has worn out, you can cover strips of paper on its edges and lock down its heat platen. Then pull out the paper. If the paper you used comes out easily, then the pad has worn out. If it doesn't come out easily, then it's still in excellent working condition. When it is worn out, it results in inappropriate pressure application. That said, you can replace the worn lower rubber pads with new ones. Then your heat press machine will start working optimally.

4. Pneumatic Press

This maintenance task is important to people that use a heat press machine that is air operated. If you use this type of machine, you need to keep its airline moisture-free. To do this, you can build a water trap on its airline. The water trap will help trap the water and this will avoid the penetration of air into the heat press machine. In case moisture enters into the airline of your machine, it can damage it or cause it to break down. This can shorten the lifespan and efficiency of your heat press machine.

How to Clean Your Heat Press Machine

Before discussing the methods through which you can clean your heat press machine, it is important to list the tools that will be used for the task. The tools needed to do the job effectively are,

  • Heatproof hand protection
  • Piece of cloth
  • Abrasive or non-abrasive cleaner

Clean Procedure for Teflon Coated Heat Press Machine

Some machines are manufactured with non-stick coatings on their upper layer or non-Teflon coated. If this is the type of machine in your possession, this guide is helpful for you. To clean it, you can follow the steps discussed below.

3-Pack Teflon PTFE Heat Press Sheets by FK Essentials - Unleash Your Creativity with Super Thick 0.5mm Iron in Transfer Paper - 1000+ Uses - Non Stick - Best Vinyl Sheets for on Heat Transfer - 16x20
3-Pack Teflon PTFE Heat Press Sheets by FK Essentials - Unleash Your Creativity with Super Thick 0.5mm Iron in Transfer Paper - 1000+ Uses - Non Stick - Best Vinyl Sheets for on Heat Transfer - 16x20
  • To start the cleaning process, unplug the heat press machine from your electric socket for safety purposes. Then allow the heat press machine to cool down.
  • Next, mix your prepared non-abrasive cleaner with warm water. You can use a liquid hand cleaner or liquid dish soap as your non-abrasive cleaner.
  • Then, dip your soft piece of cloth in the soapy water. Now, use it to clean the press platens.
  • When observing the cleaning protocol, ensure you don't use an abrasive cleaner on the Teflon-coated machine because it will result in scratches and eventual damage to the plane. This, in turn, affects the performance of the heat press machine.

If the process described above does not lead to the removal of the ink and other spills on the machine, you can go through the steps discussed below to clean the heat press machine effectively.

EZ Off Hot Iron Cleaner
EZ Off Hot Iron Cleaner
  • Plug your heat press machine into an electric source. Then allow it to warm up for some minutes.
  • Now, wear your heat-proof hand protection. Then wipe the residues on its planets with a piece of rag that is dipped in prepared soapy water. With this, the machine will be cleaned effectively. This procedure tends to be effective when removing stains that seem difficult.
  • Next, turn off your heat press machine from the electric source. Then allow it to cool down.
  • Rinse its platen with a piece of clean cloth dipped in cool water. This step will help remove the soap residue on the platen.
  • You can wipe other parts of the heat press machine to remove fingerprint stains and dust.
  • Once these steps are completed, your heat press is ready to perform the next printing task effectively.

Cleaning Procedure for Non-Teflon Coated Heat Press Machine

If your heat press machine is not manufactured with a non-stick upper platen, you can follow the procedure discussed below to clean it.

  • Unplug the machine from the electric source. Then allow it to cool down.
  • Purchase a cleaning product that is manufactured with grit on its surface. You can use light sandpaper for this purpose. It will help you remove the stain on the platen without any hassle. You can use materials made by Comet, Ajax, or Gojo for the cleaning task.
  • Next, scrub the surface to remove any dirt. This process must be done vigorously with the use of a piece of cloth that is dipped in soapy water.
  • Then plug your heat press machine into the electric source. Then wear your heatproof gloves and scrub the remaining stains till you remove them.
  • Turn off the heat press machine and allow it to cool down. Then rinse the platen with a rag and cold water to remove the soap residue.
  • Wipe down the remaining parts of the machine to remove fingerprints and dirt.


The table below highlights the uses of the materials needed for cleaning the heat press machine.

Materials Function
Heatproof hand protection It is used for the protection of your hand when cleaning the platen.
Piece of cloth It is used for cleaning the platen and other parts of the machine.
Abrasive or non-abrasive cleaner It is used for cleaning either the Teflon or non-Teflon surface of the machine.


A heat press machine is important to graphic designers and other categories of users. Today, I have discussed the procedures to clean the machine. Enjoy reading!

About Karen Jones

For the last decade, Karen Jones has worked as a freelance writer and social media marketing consulant. As an gourmand and avid traveler, she publishes cutting-edge articles about traveling that really attracting readers into her wonderful journeys. If you can't find Ms. Jones around her friends and family, she's definitely busy in her home office refining her writing composition and printing press.

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