Guest Author - Carol Taller
Your rubber stamp image can only be as perfect as your rubber stamp. If your stamp is cracked or damaged the stamp will show marks. Rubber stamps will remain in good condition for many years if you take good care of them, so be prepared to clean your stamp each time you finish using it.
Stamp Cleaners and Conditioners are available at your local crafts store, as are Stamp Cleaning Pads. The cleaner usually comes in a spray bottle or with a rub on applicator. The Stamp Cleaning Pad looks like a large ink pad, but when you open it there are two different surfaces for cleaning. One surface is used to spray the cleaner on, and the other surface helps scrub the cleaner and ink off without harming your rubber. If your cleaner has a rub on applicator you may just rub it directly onto the stamp and then scrub it back and forth on the Cleaning Pad surface to clean and dry your stamp.
The sooner you clean your stamp after you use it, the easier it will be go get it properly cleaned. Many people find that simple stamping the stamp on scrap paper is enough to clean their stamp. Reds, yellows, and oranges can often be tapped away without any further cleaning. But be sure it is cleaned thoroughly, or these colors will show up in your next stamping project. Or, when you try to re-ink your stamp, you may contaminate the color of your ink pad.
You can run your stamp over a cellulose sponge that is slightly damp, and that may be enough to clean your stamp. A drop or two of dish soap can be on the sponge to assist with ink removal. Some people also like to use baby wipes to clean their sponges, but be sure the wipes are alcohol and lint free. Some people also like to use an old toothbrush to assist getting dirt out of corners and hard to reach places.
Some types of ink will stain the rubber die. Be careful that you are not trying to remove a stain. Clean the stamp as carefully as possible and donít worry about stains. They will not contaminate the quality of your stamped image and they will not come off when you are stamping another image.
Be sure not to immerse your stamps in warm water in an attempt to clean them. You will loosen the adhesive to the block and eventually have to re glue the rubber back on.
Remember to store your cleaned stamps away from extreme temperatures and dust. They should be away from direct sunlight and in a covered container.