California Wash in Canada

Hello all,
I was wondering if anyone knew of a supplier or dealer for California wash in Canada. (East Coast-Ontario, Ottawa specifically) Every U.S. dealer I’ve seen is unable to ship outside of the country. Otherwise would anyone have suggestions for a comparable press wash for rollers and photopolymer?

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California Wash can’t even be sold in certain counties of
Southern California anymore. Doesn’t meet VOC standards.

My recommendation: use deodorized mineral spirits (paint thinner) for press wash and Coleman Lantern Fuel (white gas) for type and plate wash. Low tech and they ain’t going to go away anytime soon and are not only effective cleaners, they don’t smell that bad, and are likely not going to cause problems with your press and rollers or your health (wear gloves whenever cleaning). Some of the best printers that exist or have existed, have recommended them. Plus, they don’t cost that much.


I agree, white gas is a useful solvent that evaporates quickly and leaves no residue, is easy to find and cheaper than type wash. But the user should be aware that the fumes are heavier than air and will settle to the floor. When used sparingly, that’s not much of a problem. But if larger quantities are used (say, you try degreasing the press with it), you would not want the vapors to reach a low ignition source like a water heater.


I am in Toronto, ON and got California Wash (one gallon) from Valley Litho Supply.

Thanks for the advice everyone. Just a question for Gerald and p_i. Is there any particular reason to use the Coleman fuel over the mineral spirits for plate wash other than drying time? I ask because I work out of an apartment and I kind of worry about the fumes and finding a space to safely use them.

Thanks again,


Once the printing is over, it doesn’t really matter what you use to clean your type or plates. Mineral spirits might leave a bit of residue, but certainly not like kerosene.

During a pressrun though, it is quite important to have a fast drying solvent if you need to clean the printing surface. And be sure that you keep your rags segregated re solvents. I use lint free tight weave rags for type/plate washes, loose weave absorbent rags for presswash. And any ole leftover thing for applying or cleaning up lubrication. Helps to have different colored rags for such purposes. I use white surgical toweling for the press, colored surgical sheeting for type/plates, and, more and more, non-lint tight-weave cloths (made for laboratory work) for photopolymer plates.

Fumes and safe storage are a concern, and do need to be dealt with carefully and cautiously, but think about what you use to clean the bathroom and kitchen areas. Even Windex and Spring Green are included on the ever growing list of hazardous household products. And you can Google that.


Will the coleman fuel work ok for polymer plate cleanup?
I’ve heard denatured alcohol will crack them over time.

I’ve just got my first press and I’m trying to be as safe as possible with cleanup. I’m just using veggie oil inside to clean up off my inking plate which works well. But that seems unlikely to work with the polymer plates.

I was taught to use kerosene. the roller manufacturer suggests it also. Is this not a good idea? I haven’t noticed any residue left behind, but I guess I haven’t tried anything else, so i have nothing to compare it to.

According to a solvent resistance sheet I have, gasoline, kerosene and light oil are fine for photopolymer plates (at least with the water-washout plates we are talking about here). Isopropyl alcohol is fine too (not rubbing alcohol which is diluted with water) but methyl and ethyl alcohols cause swelling of more than 5%. Acetone can damage the adhesive layer between photopolymer and backing.
On presses with rollers that can be lifted out of contact, you can sheet off the ink first and reduce use of solvent. That is, just print from an uninked plate until you get a blank impression. A wipe with lintless rag or type brush will get rid of the rest.

thanks parallel_imp!

we’ve been using this for a couple of years & love it: