Cleaning a stamp covered in ink is challenging. Crafters often spritz their inked up stamp with a cleaner and wonder why it did not get everything off. Usually this has no affect on how the image stamps in later uses. It just stains your stamp. A nice black stained clear stamp allows the crafter too see the image. Cleaning stamps after use is a good idea depending on the type of ink used.

How to clean a stamp

The only things you need is a stamp shammie, cleaner and water.

Types of Inks

Dye and permanent inks are the most popular inks on the market. However, Distress oxides are quite popular in the craft industry too. Oxides are in a category all their own.

Dye Inks

These tend to be reactive and interact with water. Cleaning them after each use is important because if you skip cleaning them, the next time you use the stamp it will transfer the previous ink on to your new substrate. This can be bad if you cross over color families. Basically, if you stamped the image the first time in green, let it dry and then stamped it again in orange you will get mud.

Permanent Ink

This type of ink does not react with water. Once the image is stamped it won’t move. Smearing can happen depending on if the surface is porous or not, but once it is dry it is not going anywhere. Permanent ink will stain your stamp. However, it does not transfer color like a dye ink. When permanent ink is not cleaned between uses it will pull some of the color off onto your next project, but the colors will not blend. Regardless, it is a good idea to always clean the stamp after using this type of ink.

Distress Oxides

Oxides are hybrid ink. That means that when they are wet they react with water, but once they are dried they become permanent. It is best to wipe off the stamp immediately after using it with distress oxides. Distress oxides do clean up nicely and with little effort. Distress Ink is not the same  thing as distress oxide. Distress ink is water reactive and no matter how many times you heat set it, it will move with water.

Types of Cleaners

There are so many things to clean a stamp with on the market. I am going to share with my my favorites. You do not need everything out there. More surfaces are needed to clean  stamps on than cleaning solutions. Only one cleaner is needed to clean stamps.

Best Cleaner Ever

Scraperfect’s Best Cleaner Ever is my favorite. It literally gets up everything! I use it on my stamps, craft mats and my hands. When doing a lot of stamping and ink getting on hands, spritz it twice on hands and rub it in. After done stamping, rub hands together and wipe them on an apron or towel. Do this for the remainder of the stamp session. When done use a wet wipe or a little water on a paper towel and wipe it off. Make sure yo follow up with a little water after use on surfaces.


This is another great cleaner. I like to use a scrubber in conjunction with water when omitting a cleaner. The Stamp Shammy by Lawn Fawn is my favorite surface to use to clean my stamps. It stays wet without being soppy for a long time and it is to rinse clean and use again.

For detailed deep etched rubber stamps the Stamp Scrubber is awesome. It has just enough texture to get into the deep grooves of a stamp and remove the ink. Another popular alternative is a cleaning pad. I do not like these much because they are hard, whereas the others are softer and can be used by bringing it to the stamp instead of the stamp to the scrubber.

Blending Brushes

I do want to briefly mention blending brushes. These are hot right now in the industry. I have included a tool that works well with cleaning them in the supply link list. This scrubber worn on the hand is great for cleaning makeup brushes, therefore will work in the craft room.

What Cleaner to Use with What Ink

You can use the Best Cleaner Ever on all your stamps with all ink, but you do not need too. I only use it when I need to because it can get expensive to constantly clean with it. I try to get away with water and a shammy as much as possible.

Water Soluble Ink

Water Soluble Cleaner

This combo can be used to clean dye ink.

Since dye ink and distress ink are reactive with water, the only thing you need to clean it with is water. Stamp shammy is not really needed if you are on a tight budget. Rags or paper towels would work too.

Waterproof (Permanent Ink)

A cleaning solution is the best option for permanent ink. The Best Cleaner Ever is my go to, but it is oily. The oil is needed to remove the ink. Try spraying it a few times with water after it is clean to remove the oil residue. I do not advice using cleaners on a shammy or any surface to clean.

What About Baby Wipes?

In a pinch a wet wipe is okay.  As  a rule of thumb try to use plain water. They can start to leave a residue that builds up over time . It can be removed with a little bit of work, but why put yourself through the effort when you can just use water and a shammy?

Suggested Products Link


Do you have any secrets or tips when cleaning stamps? Let me know in the comments!

Until next time ~ Happy Crafting!