How to Clean Rubber Stamps

Clean Stamp
Getty Images: Ruth Jenkinson

Keeping your rubber stamps clean is essential if you want to achieve good-quality stamped images every time. If you do not clean your stamps after a stamping session, you may find that the ink gets transferred to your next project, creating muddy colors or that the detail in your stamp design starts to get clogged with dried ink. When this happens, the design starts to become unclear; if you have particularly detailed stamps, you may find the detail disappears.

It is recommended to follow the manufacturer's information for any special cleaning instructions, but if you forget to do that or tossed out the packaging, review these suggestions for how to clean your stamps.

How to Keep Your Stamps Clean

Whether you are a seasoned stamper or just starting out, knowing how to keep your stamps clean is essential. If you can make this into a habit, so much the better. You have invested your hard-earned money into your stamps, so it only makes sense to keep them clean and in good shape so they give you years of service.

To preserve the longevity of your rubber stamps, it is important to keep them clean. Ensuring rubber stamps are clean has many benefits:

  • Clean stamps will not contaminate ink pads with different colored inks.
  • Dried inks can start to clog up parts of a rubber stamp resulting in unclear images.
  • Unclean stamps gather dust and dirt.

There are different ways to clean stamps, and individual stampers will have their preferred method.

Stamp Cleaners

There are special stamp cleaners available and these can be purchased through rubber stamp suppliers and craft stores. Stamp cleaners are typically sold in a bottle. They are either poured into a vessel to clean the stamps, or they are used in an integral cleaning pad built into the bottle.

Baby Wipes

Alcohol-free baby wipes are ideal for cleaning stamps and are a handy way to keep stamps clean during a stamping session. While these may not get into the crevices of the stamp, they are a great way to quickly clean away excess ink before the next color is applied.

Soap and Water

Most standard inks can be washed off using normal soapy water (dishwashing detergent is fine). An old toothbrush is ideal for whisking off any ink that is clinging to the stamps. 

Keep in mind that there is a difference between clean stamps and stained stamps. Some stamps become stained after a time but are perfectly clean. Do not try to scrub stained stamps clean as this might damage the surface of the stamp.


  • Do not soak wooden stamps since this may damage the stamp.
  • Tap the stamp after each use on waste paper to remove any surface ink; this aids the cleaning of the stamp.
  • Avoid any cleaning products that include alcohol, which can cause the rubber to dry out and can damage the stamp.
  • Store wooden rubber stamps only when they are dry.