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Clean the print out with water

Hello Kudo!

I would like to know whether we can use water (distilled, hot, etc.) to clean the print out instead of using IPA. I know IPA is recommended but for some reasons I can’t get it immediately and my first print out is now ready, and I’m eager to clean it and put it under the UV.


Minimally, you will need to use soapy water, like dawn dish soap mixed with water. The effectiveness will vary depending on the resin. Photocentric3D resin can be rinsed fairly effectively with dish soap and water, but most other resins will not.

There are two mechanisms for cleaning resin of of a surface (or for cleaning in general): surfectant action and emulsion.

Emulsion is the action of a cleaning agent to directly dissolve the material you want to clean, or to help bind that material to water or some other solvent that is carrying the emulsifying agent. Soap has this action on oils, where it helps oils stick to water so it can be washed away.

A surfectant reduces the surface tension between two liquids, which helps the liquid you want to remove to separate from the surface it is sticking to. Soap also has this action.

Since resin is generally inmiscible with water, you will need one or both of these actions to remove resin from the surface of a print. Alcohol is a very effective solvent for resin, and also mixes with water, so a 70% IPA solution is a very effective emulsifying cleaner.

Soap, on other other hand, does not bind to resin, so it has almost no emulsifying action. Any action for cleaning would be only due to the surfectant action of the soap. This action does have some effect, but will seem weak when you actually try it.

I would suggest that if you have no IPA, you can get buy with soap and water, but you will likely need to apply soap, brush, and rinse multiple times into order to reasonably remove surface resin.

Soap, on the other hand, is all you need for cleaning vats, since most of the important parts of the vat will release resin easily.

Thanks! It’s a very detail explanation on the mechanism of the cleaning process! So I’ll try to use soap and water first, and use IPA on others once I got it.

Holding the build plate over my IPA bath container, I pour IPA over the top of the build plate, filling up the container until the part is submerged (and washing away excess resin on the top side of the build plate). I swish it all around to remove any unhardened resin, let any drops of IPA drain away, then rinse with water. Depending on the part, or sometimes my mood, I’ll either remove the part(s) from the platform and soak in quite soapy water or invert the platform and stick it in the cure box. Later, I’ll do the step I didn’t do, but I always soak my parts in soapy water for at least a day after curing to clean the resins that leech from the parts, so they’re not sticky forever.