How to clean a heat press at home: Step by step guide

Angie Renner
Published by 
Angie Renner
Last updated: 
February 11, 2024

Your heat press is undoubtedly the heart of your business. As such, it’s important to perform some simple maintenance procedures on it every new and then- the most important being regular cleaning.

The platens on this moneymaker will often get dirty or bear excess ink or residue on them, creating a gooey mess. Because of this, you’ll need to clean the device to prevent this residue from being transferred to the wrong garment.

Here are the necessary steps you should take to clean your heat press (and increases its lifespan as well as the performance)…

When Should You Clean Your Heat Press?

Look at your heat press upper platen… do you notice any residue of numbers or letters- or any other unnecessary remnants- burnt into it?

If yes, that’s a surefire sign that time is ripe to clean your heat press.

You may want to follow the steps outlined below to clean your machine successfully.

Tools For The Job:

  • Rag or piece of cloth
  • Heatproof hand protection
  • Abrasive/non-abrasive cleaner

For Teflon Coated Heat Press Machines:

If your press comes with a non-stick coating on its upper platen (or its non-Teflon coated), this is your part.

1. The first step involves unplugging your heat press from the electrical outlet for safety reasons. Then give the heat press enough time to cool down.

2. Mix the non-abrasive cleaner with some warm water in a small basin/bucket. Some good examples of non-abrasive cleaners include liquid dish soaps and liquid hand cleaner.

3. Dip a rag or any other soft cloth into the soapy water and use it to wipe down your press platens.

NOTE: NEVER use abrasive cleaners on your Teflon-coated heat press as this can lead to severe damages and scratches to the planes, affecting its overall performance.

Alternatively, (if the above process does not remove all the residue), you can clean your machine by letting it heat up for some time and then cleaning it as explained below:

1. Plug the device into an electric outlet and allow it to heat up.

2. Put on heat proof hand protection and wipe the remaining residue on the planets using a rag dipped in soapy water above. This helps remove any residue that remains after the first cleaning

3. Now turn off the heat press and allow your device to cool.

4. Rinse the platens using cool water and piece of soft cloth to wipe away the soap residue.

5. Wipe down the other parts of the machine to eliminate any dust and fingerprints present.

6. Eventually, dry your heat press with a towel, and it’s ready for the next task!

For Non-Teflon Coated Heat Press:

What if your heat press model does not come with a non-stick upper platen? Well, in that case, you’ll need to follow the steps outlined below:

1. As usual, start by unplugging the heat press from the electric socket and allowing it to cool down.

2. Unlike in the other model of the heat press, here you’ll need to use a cleaning product that has some grit in it- imagine something like a light sandpaper- to help remove all the residue from your device platens effectively.

Some of the products we recommend you to use include Ajax, Comet, or GoJo.

Scrub any of these products onto your heat press vigorously with the help of a cloth dipped in soapy water.

3. Now plug back the machine and allow it to heat up. With heatproof gloves on, scrub all the remaining residue from your heat press. This will help you remove anything that was not removed when the machine was unplugged.

4. Afterward, turn off the machine and let it cool down. Rinse the platens using cool water and a rag to get rid of the soap residue.

5. Remember to wipe down other parts of your machine using a damp cloth to remove all any dust and fingerprints present.

Eventfully, dry your machine with a towel.

Final Verdict

That’s it!

Now you know how to clean your heat press safely and more efficiently. If your press model features a non-Teflon upper platen surface, remember to use cleaning products with some grit such as light sandpaper to clean the machine well.

And if it has Teflon surface, you’ll just need t use a damp rag/soft cloth to remove the entire residue present. All in all, always remember to unplug your machine before cleaning it.

If you must clean it when hot, be sure to wear heatproof gloves.