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Thread: How to Clean a Silk Screen Print

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Midwest, USA
    Oh, Albert, thanks for the info and kind words! I'm on the fence with my photos....I think I could sell some, but I worry that if I tried to make money off of them, they'd no longer be quite so enjoyable to take.......
    It would indeed be interesting to learn how make silkscreens at home, though!

    Here's one that I would love to put in my kitchen....
    Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless. ~Mother Teresa

    and, most especially, my photography at

  2. Hi Foxy

    Just tried to find an appropriate answer to your problem with this link I used when I cleaned the painted silk kimono I offered to someone dear to me years ago...

    here it is :

    Tell me if it will be clear if not I'll try to do myself a translation from french to english


    ...Life is a rainbow born from both rain and sun in order to show us its bright colors... Life is like that too from rain to sunshine... and at the end a bright colorful path you've walked on...

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Hi there,

    Apologies for bringing back an old thread, but having tried searching for the answer this was the only one that popped up.

    After clearing out my grandparents’ old house we found some artwork that my mum had made back in the 70s – a screenprint on silk, which sadly was not kept in a good condition (we found it in the attic covered by quite a lot of stuff).

    I note Pedro’s suggestion above on cleaning using pure alcohol. A local framer suggested using diluted bleach. Does anyone have any experience of having cleaned successfully with either, and would you recommend one over the other? Any advice greatly appreciated!



    Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Sorry but I have not. However, I would be very very careful with bleach because you know what it does out of the bottle if you've ever splashed some onto a towel in the wash. With this silk screen you could ruin it because you have no experience with it, nor do you know what your neighbor has done, how vulnerable the inks were, the fabric etc. If you want to sell it, I would try to find out who did it and if their works is valuable or not. If it's just a fun project, knock yourself out and try stuff.

    Looking at the photo, it looks like it's splotchy already and I don't know if it's discoloration or grime.

    Also down at Home Depot where you can rent a carpet cleaning machine, they have an advisory notice that you're using it at your own risk and they're not responsible for the chemicals you use which can ruin a carpet if done wrong. So imprinted fabric cleaning is a known risk.

    If there is a spot hidden by the frame, you could try a very little spot as a test. But it's risky no matter what you do -- my humble inexperienced guess. That's how they clean paintings at a museum.

    I think there's probably a reason people don't talk about it on the internet which talks about everything. It may simply be a bad idea. The other thing is that if you want to keep it, you could reframe it under plexiglass (probably would cost a fair bit) and treat it like an antique photo would be from the civil war where discoloration is part of it at this point in time. But this is so modern in style that it may not match the era. I suppose how much you want to spend on it depends if your intention is to sell like on those TV shows or keep it.

    If it's important to you I would ask at a museum or ask your question on sites that are focused on silk screen printing. Who knows. There may be a safe and easy way.

    Or if you can find a signature you might look up the original artist and try contacting them directly with that question.

    BTW, isn't that supposed to be hung vertically?
    Last edited by D Akey; 12-10-2018 at 07:14 AM.
    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Thanks for that. By the sounds of it I should (carefully) try my luck on a very small area and see what happens then before attempting anything on a bigger area. It was done by my mother, so definitely not keen to get rid (or to ruin!). Not quite sure why the photo rotated the image on upload, but what’s done is done there (and at least gives an idea of the discolouration).

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Then it's definitely worth the effort. Okay, here it is vertical just to see how nice it is. Very talented lady.
    Cheers, mate.

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    "Not a bit is wasted and the best is yet to come. . ." -- remembered from a dream

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