Cleaning resin 3D prints seems like a simple task, but there are more details to it than I realized at first. I decided to look into how to clean resin prints with and without alcohol, then share it with you guys.
You can clean 3D prints without isopropyl alcohol by using alternatives like Mean Green, Acetone, Mr. Clean, and ResinAway. There are water washable resin out there which work really well. Using an ultrasonic cleaner or an all-in-one solution like the Anycubic Wash & Cure are popular choice.
Keep on reading for some of the key details, as well as some tips and tricks that you can implement with your resin printing process.
Can I Clean My Resin Prints Without Isopropyl Alcohol? (Alternatives)
You can clean your resin prints without isopropyl alcohol using many alternatives. People use products such as Mean Green, Simple Green, Acetone, Ethanol, Denatured Alcohol, Rubbing Alcohol (70% Isopropyl Alcohol), Mineral Spirits, Mr. Clean, Evergreen, and more.
The most popular cleaner that people use is isopropyl alcohol (IPA), but a lot of people complain about the harsh smells, and another complaint is how they make transparent resin prints cloudy, even before any curing has happened.
These are some reasons why people look towards IPA alternatives, so this article will go through a few of them with more depth to help you figure out which one you should go for to clean those resin prints.
Prices of IPA can fluctuate according to demand, especially if people are buying it because of the pandemic. In due time these prices should start to balance out, but the alternatives work just fine.
You can opt-in to using a water-washable resin to clean your resin prints so you can instead just use water. A good one is the Elegoo Water Washable Rapid Resin from Amazon.
The odor is a lot less harsh than normal resins, and even though it’s a little more expensive than normal resins, you do save on the cleaning liquid.
If you wash normal resin with water, it can result in those white marks over your model, though it usually happens when you cure prints that are wet.
If you use this method then make sure that water is well treated and soft.
You may need to scrub or agitate the print as well, with many people using a soft toothbrush to clean out the resin and get into those crevices.
How to Clean Resin Prints Without Isopropyl Alcohol
For cleaning purposes, you can use an All-In-One machine, an ultrasonic cleaner, or just containers with the cleaning liquid of your choice.
For a really good All-In-One cleaner and curing machine, you have to go with the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine from Amazon. There is a beauty in having a professional-looking and efficient device that improves your resin printing experience.
I definitely plan on investing into an all-in-one solution soon, so I can fine-tune the resin printing process.
In terms of an ultrasonic cleaner, which comes in much cheaper than the Anycubic Wash & Cure, one of the most popular ones has to be the Magnasonic Professional Ultrasonic Cleaner from Amazon.
Not only does it do wonders for cleaning all the resin from around and inside your 3D prints, but it is multi-purpose, being used for jewelry, eyeglasses, watches, utensils, and much more.
I’d really recommend getting one of these ultrasonic cleaners!
In terms of safety, people say to avoid using alcohol or any other flammable liquid in your ultrasonic cleaner.
There is said to be a low risk of an ultrasonic cleaner causing a small spark, and that would be enough to cause a sort of micro-explosion, and could cause a fire.
If you have an ultrasonic transducer that fails, the energy from it can transfer into the cleaning fluid, which if flammable, can result in a ball of fire.
Some people decide to use IPA in their cleaners regardless, but I’d try to avoid it to be safe.
Fumes or spilled solvents can actually be ignited by electrical equipment or an improperly used ultrasonic cleaner, especially if it isn’t explosion proof.
The recommended technique is to fill the ultrasonic cleaner with water, and have a separate bag or container filled with your liquid that you put inside the machine to work its magic.
There are larger containers out there with a similar sieve container where you put your resin print in, then dip it around the cleaning liquid manually. This is what I currently do with my resin prints.
You can get the Lock & Lock 1.4L Pickle Container from Amazon for a good price.
Before using any of the materials, wear safety gloves and safety glasses of some soft. It is recommended to wear nitrile gloves while using materials such as acetone or denatured alcohol.
These are water-like substances that can easily splash all over the place, and the last place you’d want them is in your eyes.
As there are plenty of alternatives to IPA we will discuss the best of all in all their aspects for cleaning the resin 3D prints.
Can You Clean Resin Prints with Mean Green?
Mean Green is a great alternative to IPA which many people use to clean their resin prints successfully. It is a lot less harsh smelling and it does a pretty good job cleaning out resin. You can use this in an ultrasonic cleaner without issues.
You can get yourself the Mean Green Super Strength All-Purpose Cleaner from Amazon for a pretty good price.
It is pretty inexpensive and less smelly as compared to IPA and other alternatives, but it could take a little more time to clean the prints.
Just remove your prints from the build plate and put your prints in a container of mean green for a few minutes. Swirl the print in the mean green to get most of the resin off.
If you want a really deep clean, put the prints in an ultrasonic cleaner for about 5 minutes and then wash the prints with warm water. You can either use paper towels or a fan to dry your print.
You want to make sure your prints are completely dry before curing them because when they are wet, it can lead to those white marks.
The potential downside of using Mean Green is that it may leave resin prints a bit tacky to touch.
Can You Clean Resin Prints with Simple Green?
Simple green is easy to use as it does not have a stinky smell and is not very flammable as well. It cleans the prints well and most of the time there shouldn’t be any residuals left behind on the print.
Simple Green Industrial Cleaner & Degreaser is a really popular product and quite inexpensive, you can get yourself a gallon for around $10 from Amazon.
Can You Clean Resin Prints with Acetone?
Acetone can be used to clean resin 3D prints, though the odor is really harsh, and it is highly flammable. Ensure that you use acetone in a well-ventilated area. Resin prints cleaned with acetone usually come out very clean and rarely leave any residuals behind.
You can get a bottle of Pure Acetone from Amazon that should do the trick.
Unlike other alternatives to IPA, your resin prints shouldn’t feel tacky and should dry up pretty quickly. Similar to other liquids, simply wash your prints in a container of this liquid, swirl it around and dip it thoroughly until it is cleaned of resin.
Miniature prints don’t need as much time as your larger models, sometimes requiring only 30-45 seconds of cleaning.
If the prints are left in the acetone for a bit longer, then you may find some white spots left behind on the prints. If there are any, just wash them again with warm water and brush them off.
Can You Clean Resin Prints with Denatured Alcohol?
This method is one of the most favorite and some people claim that it is far better than isopropyl as well. It is basically ethanol but mixed with a percentage of methanol.
It is highly flammable, similar to IPA, but it brings amazing results when it comes to cleaning the resin prints. You can also clean your prints with simple ethanol because it is not much different from this.
Cleaned prints will dry up quickly and will not have any white specs on them as can be seen after washing with acetone. It brings smooth, clean, and non-tacky prints and can be found easily in any hardware store.
Using Mineral Spirits to Clean Resin Prints
Mineral spirits can be used to clean the resin prints but not an extremely great material for this purpose.
Washing resin 3D prints with mineral spirits should clean most of the resin from the prints. But some amount of resin may still stick to the prints and the residuals of the mineral spirits as well.
They are definitely flammable but not as much as compared to acetone or IPA. This could be quite inexpensive and the cleaned prints may dry out quickly. Do follow the precautionary measures as mineral spirits may cause rashes or irritation to the skin.