How-to-clean-3D-printer-bed

A dirty printer bed is one of the most common problems 3D printing hobbyists face. I myself have had many issues with this problem. During my research, I discovered ways to clean a glass-printing surface.

This article presents two methods that you can apply when cleaning your 3D printer bed: using acetone and using soap water and vinegar solution.

Using Acetone as a Cleaning Solution

Procedure:  Pour some acetone onto the surface and wait 20 minutes to half an hour before wiping it off with paper towels or cloth.  Acetone is an important chemical for 3D printing because it dissolves ABS and dissolves PLA, but it also melts the bed and damages glass and other materials used as printing surfaces.  Put on some protective gloves and an O2 gas mask before handling acetone, because it is very harmful to your health.

You can buy acetone from pharmacies or hardware stores.

Using Soap Water and Vinegar Solution as a Cleaning Solution

Remove any residue with a spatula or credit card.  Apply the solution to the surface, allow it to rest for 10 minutes, and wipe it off with lint-free paper towels.  Then, wash the printer bed once again as usual with water and dish soap.

Procedure: Pour 3 parts of hot water into a container.  Add 1 part of vinegar, and mix the solution until it is well combined.  Dip a paper towel or cloth in the solution and place it on top of your printer bed.  Leave it for 10 to 20 minutes before removing it carefully.

Soap water solution works better if you are printing PLA instead of ABS because it does not dissolve PLA filament.

Other Methods for Cleaning the Printer Bed

1. Using Alcohol as a Cleaning Solution

Alcohol is another common household solvent.  It is often used to remove residue left on various surfaces including glass, plastic, metal, or paint.  Alcohol can also be used to clean the printer bed.

Procedure: Pour some alcohol into a glass container that is big enough for you to dip your paper towel in it.  Dip your cloth or paper towel in alcohol and place it on top of the printing surface.  Leave it for 10 minutes before removing it carefully with lint-free paper towels.

2. Using Salt or Sugar as a Cleaning Solution

Salt and sugar are known for absorbing moisture easily.  This helps in removing the residue left on your printer bed surface.  Take note that salt can dissolve PLA, but not ABS filament.  Therefore, if you want to use salt, choose sugar as a solvent instead.

Procedure: Wet your bed surface with water.  Sprinkle salt or sugar over the wet surface evenly. Allow it to rest for half an hour before wiping it off with lint-free paper towels.

Salt and sugar can dissolve PLA, so do not use them if you need to print ABS objects.

3. Using a Plasti Dip Spray as a Cleaning Solution

Procedure: For using the plasti dip spray,  you need to set up your printer bed in a way that is similar to when you are printing an object with PLA filament.  Use blue painters tape on top of the glass bed.  Then, spray plasti dip onto the blue painters tape.  Wait for a couple of hours before removing the solution from the surface.

Be careful in handling plasti dip because it can be harmful to your health and also damage your printer bed if applied in a thick coat.

4. Using Vinegar as a Cleaning Solution

Vinegar is a common household product that can be used as a solvent or a cleaning solution.  Even though it cannot dissolve ABS filament, vinegar already has great benefits in cleaning the bed surface after printing.  However, your printer bed should have a glass surface for this to work.

Procedure: Place your glass printer bed in a container.  Pour vinegar into the container until it covers the glass bed completely. Allow the solution to rest for half an hour before removing it carefully with lint-free paper towels.

5. Using Lighter Fluid as a Cleaning Solution

Lighter fluid is another popular solvent that can be used to clean printer beds.  It has the same properties as alcohol, but it is more flammable.  Choose a suitable container for this solvent and follow safety procedures when handling lighter fluid.

Procedure: Dip your paper towel or cloth in the lighter fluid then place it on top of the printing bed surface. Leave it for 5 minutes before removing it carefully with lint-free paper towels.

6. Using Dish Soap as a Cleaning Solution

Dish soap is another household item that can be used to clean the bed surface after printing objects with PLA filament.  However, you need to avoid using dish soap for ABS and other types of filaments because it can dissolve them.

Procedure: Pour some dish soap onto your printer bed surface and wipe it using a wet cloth or paper towel.  Make sure that you do not spill any solution on the glass surface because it will prevent the adhesion of 3D printed objects later.

7. Using Ammonia as a Cleaning Solution

Ammonia is another acidic solution with great cleaning properties.

Procedure: Pour some ammonia into a container then place the printer bed into it until it covers the surface completely. Leave it for 5 minutes before removing it carefully with lint-free paper towels.

8. Using White Vinegar as a Cleaning Solution

Procedure: Pour white vinegar into a container then place the printer bed into it until it covers the surface completely. Leave it for 5 minutes before removing it carefully with lint-free paper towels.

9. Using Alcohol as a Cleaning Solution

Alcohol is a popular solvent that can remove residue on your 3D printing bed.  It also has the same properties as lighter fluid.  Procedure: Dip a paper towel or cloth in alcohol then place it on top of the printing bed surface. Leave it for a couple of minutes before removing it carefully with lint-free paper towels.

10. Using Acetone as a Cleaning Solution

Acetone is a highly flammable solvent that can be used to clean objects printed with PLA filament.

Procedure: Dissolve acetone in lukewarm water then dip a paper towel or cloth in the solution. Place it on top of the printing bed surface for 5 minutes before removing it carefully with lint-free paper towels.

11. Using Soapy Water as a Cleaning Solution

Soap water is another household solution that can be used to clean the bed surface after printing objects with PLA filament.

Procedure: Pour some soap water onto your printer bed surface and wipe it using a wet cloth or paper towel. Make sure that you do not spill any solution on the glass surface because it will prevent the adhesion of 3D printed objects later.

12. Using Windex as a Cleaning Solution

Windex is another household cleaning solution that can effectively clean your printer bed after printing with PLA filament.

Procedure: Pour some Windex onto your printer bed surface and wipe it using a wet cloth or paper towel. Make sure that you do not spill any solution on the glass surface because it will prevent the adhesion of 3D printed objects later.

The Dry Method (As a Last Resort)

The dry method is an alternative to other types of cleaning solutions and it should only be used if you cannot find any cleaning solution in your household.  

Procedure: Place some paper towels on top of the printing bed and heat it with a hairdryer until all residue is gone. Make sure that your 3D printer is turned off while heating the surface to avoid any accidents.

How to Choose a Good Printer Bed Surface

Before we conclude the discussion about how to clean 3D printer bed surfaces, you need to know that using a non-sticky printing surface such as blue painter’s tape or Kapton Tape is highly recommended.

These two alternatives are very popular because they can reduce your cleaning time and also prevent the objects you print from sticking onto the glass surface.

To conclude, it’s important to note that cleaning your printer bed will help you get better and stronger adhesion for 3D printed objects.  It will also prevent the formation of bubbles on the surface of your printouts.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to learn more about 3D printing, feel free to browse through the rest of the site.  You can also get access to more useful information about 3D printers and their filaments through our 3D printing blog section.

How to Clean 3d Printer Bed: Things you should know!

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