cleaning wood(linoleum) block

What’s the best way to clean wood and linoleum block after printing? If you let me know the proper way for each ink below, I’d appreciate it.

-Water based ink.
-Oil based ink.
-Rubber based ink.

Thank you!

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Thank you so much for your help. I was asking both blocks.

I’m using ‘California wash’ , naptha, for cleaning my roller and photopolymer plate. I guess I can use that for wood and lino blocks.

I have further question though. The smell of California wash is so strong and while I’m looking for other solvents, I found orderless mineral sprits.
I wonder it works well like other solvent or not.
If you know about this product please let me know.

Thank you again.



Thank you so much for the great information.
I’m almost out of the california wash and I definitely change to Kerosene or mineral sprits and naptha as you recommended.

Yun Chung

One final thing, always wear gloves to keep contact with skin to a minimum, so we too can live as long as Paul. had to get that in. Dick G.


When using linoleum and oil based ink, I do not completely clean the block. Instead, I print two or three ghost impressions, then store the block with ink on the surface. Printmakers call this seasoning the block. I do not treat my wood letters this way.

When I used water based ink, I found myself washing the block every 3 or four impressions. As a result, I stopped using water based inks.


Devils Tail
I respect your years of experience. I thought it strange too when I first heard of it. I discuss printmaking on the Printmaking forum, and ran across the idea there.

I have been printing this way for 7 years now, and my blocks have lasted longer than they did when I was cleaning with mineral spirits. The solvents tend to dry out and harden the block more than the ink.

When seasoned, the blocks also tend to ink up faster than when clean. This is convenient for an artist, like myself, who prints images on demand.