What do people use to clean plates and rubber rollers?

I know people use all sorts of cleaning materials to clean there rollers and plates, what do you use? Is it safe? Does it have a odor to it? Where do you get it?

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What kind of plates? I don’t use photopolymer, just copper, zinc, magnesium, linoleum or wood. I use mineral spirits to clean them and my rollers. It may be fine for photopolymer too.


Front Room Press
Milford, NJ

ecoloclean by varn is the least odor solvent , kelly paper. the best health wise, this product takes getting used too, doesn t clean as quick and you need a little more effort, but the only shop that i ever walked into without any oder was an ecoloclean shop. its better not to get used to other quicker products and its hard to get people to convert, if your a newbie, start with this one

Crisco oil. It. works. like. a. charm.

Ah, the cleansing of plates, how it is a complicated matter. You don’t want to dry the plate out yet you want to deplete the ink on the surface. I use a five step process.
1. Wipe the plate with a infant soft rag that has been used to clean a previous plate. The rag should have only ink administered onto it with no other impurities.
2. Collect a softer rag and impregnate it with cooking lard. Dissipate the remaining ink by wiping the plate towards yourself thrice times.
3. Now use a softened cheesecloth to gather any extra lard remaining on the plate. Any remaining will interfere with the fourth step and will destroy your plate.
4. Bestow a rag of felted wool with kerosene and dab in a circular motion as to not damage the plate. Be sure to keep any flames such as lanterns, tallow candles, or pipe embers away from the plate at this time.
5. Anoint the plate with ghee only using your fingers. Make certain to work it into all crevices to preserve your plate otherwise will crack and splinter over time.


I first wipe everything off with baby oil on a used rag (to dilute the ink — cuts cleanup time and use of mineral spirits). Then I use mineral spirits on a clean rag to get everything sparkly. That’s what they teach at the MN Center for Book Arts, and that’s good enough for me.

Plus, it makes your printing zone temporarily smell like clean babies. What’s not to like about that? (Unless you don’t like babies, in which case: Get off my lawn!)


Baby oil isn’t vegetable oil; it’s mineral oil. And all it does is dilute the ink so it glides right off the rollers and ink disk with the subsequent use of mineral spirits. So actually, it makes washing up much quicker and easier. I’ve observed this for myself when I’ve run out of baby oil.

For good or ill, I am not as concerned as I maybe should be about how much energy cleanup stuff requires to produce, nor how toxic it is; everything is toxic and wasteful, it seems. I just want to tidy up quickly and get on with my sorry existence, and by golly, a first swipe at the rollers with the baby oil helps.


mmmm. Lavender. Rollers squeaky clean now.



Are you sure baby oil isn’t made from babies? What about the oil of olay…not oil of old ladies? Sounds like a book I read or printed once with the just being “It’s People” or something to that sort. Perhaps it was flong? How many get my drift?

would motor oil be made from motors?


Soylent Green? from Harry Harrison’s 1966 book “Make Room! Make Room!” Later made into the movie “Soylent Green” in 1973 starring Charleton Heston.