How to clean a heat press platen

How to Clean Your Heat Press Platen

How to Clean a Heat Press Platen

What’s the best way to clean a heat press platen?

I received this comment on a previous post about heat presses and thought other people might have the same problem, so I thought I would repost the comment here.

Hi Ted!

I didn’t know where to leave this comment, but here goes:

We have a heatpress, and the platens will eventually need a good clean-up (even if we were very careful during 6 years of use!)

Do you have something we could use – I can’t seem to find anything that really does the job… we’re screen printers so we did try the poly thinner and varsol – to no avail… Oh – and the stuff would need to be available to Canada since we are in Quebec! :-)

Thanks Ted!


Here’s my response:

I’m guilty of not using a cover sheet or doing some kind of heat press application that left a goopy mess on the upper heat platen.

Sylvie, you didn’t mention if your press had a non-stick coating or not. If it does, usually you can clean it by letting the platen heat up and then rubbing vigorously with a rag, but you have to rub pretty hard, but it should come off.

Please wear heat proof hand protection when attempting this. If it’s a press without a non-stick coating, you might have to use some light sandpaper or  maybe a cleaner called GoJo. This has a light pumice sand in it, used in industrial situations or by car mechanics for removing nasty stuff from hands.

Alternatively you can use any other heavy degreaser with hot soapy water (of course when the machine is unplugged.)

However, if you use something with grit, such as Comet cleanser or Ajax on a Teflon-coated platen, you can scratch the heater.

If you don’t want to go to all this cleaning trouble, maybe you can try using a reusable cover sheet to protect your garments during application.  Stahls’ offers a QuickSlip Pad protector to protect the bottom platen from stains and also make it easier to get garments on and off the lower platen.

You can also try using an upper platen cover. Stahls’ offers heat press platen covers for both upper and lower platens.

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  1. Dan says:

    I need to know if there is a teflon safe scrub pad I can use on the STX20 heat press? I have tried a mild grit hand cleaner & it is not working, I am still getting build up.

    We pre-treat our color T-shirts before printing using a dupont pre-treat, then place them on the press, with coated craft paper on the T. We then press the T for about 30 sec. check to see if the pre-treat is dry, if notwe press for another 10-15 sec. I was wondering if the craft paper is getting damp & transfering to the top platen?

    When I clean them I feel the surface is a bit rough with a build up. I am about ready to usea fine sandpaper to use the press smooth again. Any ideas would help.

  2. reta says:

    help! I have resin from wonderunder on my heatpress from making t shirt quilts how can i get it off? reta

  3. Ted says:

    Reta, if the above blog entry doesn’t help, please call Stahls’ at 800.478.2457 and someone will be able to help you find a solution that works. I would suggest covering it up with Teflon covers or cover sheets in the meanwhile if you have those available. Good luck.

  4. Debby Armentrout says:

    Last year I purchased another heat press from you.This is my 3rd in the past 20 years,I have residue on the upper platen from silk screen numbers that rubbed off onto cover sheets while doing names on jerseys.Can I heat the press and use an iron cleaner?It doesn’t seem to affect anything,I just hate that my new machine is a little messed up.

    Thanks Debby

  5. Mark Kohlman says:

    Hello Debby. I used to use household iron cleaner all the time on early heatpresses before powder coating. Stahls recommended it about 18 years ago. Got it from them I think. But I’ve seen it at Walmart and online over the years. These days I keep a rag near the machine and clean it every couple of days. You have to rub it hard and hot, so make sure it is heavy cotton. Keep all cotton shirt boo-boos.

  6. Robert Wilmoth says:

    Where can you purchase large protective paper. What do you use on the cloth rag to clean the platen with? Everybody says what to use but not how to use it. Once you clean it, do you heat the platen then wipe off? I’m new at this so I need all the help I can get.


  7. Vincent says:

    At my work place we have the DUAL Air Fusion Heat Press. Is there a way to swing the top platen up to access for cleaning. The press moves sideways from one to the other. Is there a way to park the top in the middle to access the top to clean ink off? Please advise

  8. Ted says:

    Hi Vincent, Thanks for reading. Ben Robinson of Hotronix gives this advice for removing ink on your Dual Air Fusion upper platen:
    Shut the press off manually move it over to the middle between the platens. Scrub with 409 cleaner or hot soapy water with NO GRIT in it! NO COMET! If extra room is needed remove one of the lower platens….Dry with towel turn back on and enjoy your newly cleaned profit center….
    I hope this helps. Thanks again for reading.

  9. Joseph says:

    I bought a used heat press Hotronix STX20 and it works great. But after a while the bottom platen is starting to smell like the person that had it first pressed old sweaty clothes on it or like they pressed fish on it. Is there anyway to get that smell out?

  10. Ted says:

    Congratulations on your new “used” Hotronix. One idea may be using a Teflon cover on the lower platen. This not only will help you slide garments on and off more easily, but perhaps also contain the unpleasant smell? If not, you can contact Hotronix Customer service at 800-727-8520 and see what they recommend. Perhaps you would need to replace the silicone rubber pad on the lower platen. But hopefully the Teflon cover will do the trick. Thanks for reading.

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