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Whatever craft you do, it is always fun and rewarding once you have completed a project. However, there is always the not-so-fun cleaning up part when you are done. This process is the same when using resin molds. The great part is that you can clean and reuse the resin molds again and again, as properly cared-for resin molds can last for years. So, to help your resin molds last longer, we are going to discuss the best way to clean them before and after use.
Table of Contents
How to Clean Resin Molds
Before we get into the full explanations of how to clean resin molds, here is a brief overview of things you should know. First, and foremost, clean silicone molds are important before you even begin. You should remove any dust or dirt that can ruin your cast resin item. This can be as easy as using a little soap and water. Other methods must be used to remove tacky or hardened resin in the molds.
To avoid these issues, you can also prepare your silicone molds by spraying a resin release spray onto the mold. This helps the resin item come out much more easily once it has hardened, making it easier to clean the mold.
How to Clean Silicone Molds Before Use
So, you are ready to begin pouring your resin into the mold. However, before this is done, you should make sure that the mold is clean and dry. There are different ways you can clean the silicone molds before use.
Cleaning the Mold With Soap and Water
The best way to clean resin molds before starting a project is to wash the mold with some soap and water. This helps to make sure that all the dust and dirt is cleaned off. Even though silicone molds can withstand high temperatures, try to use hot but not boiling water, because if you wash the mold all the time with water that is too hot, the mold can begin to look dull.
Make sure the mold is dry before using it, as any moisture can cause bubbles.
Cleaning the Mold With a Soft Brush
If you are looking for a faster cleaning method, you could simply use a soft brush to remove dust as well as dried residue. You can use a cosmetic brush or other brush as long as it is soft and non-abrasive to gently wipe the resin mold.
Cleaning the Mold With Tape or Putty
Apply the sticky side of the tape to the surface of the mold. When the tape is removed, it should pull most of the dust and other residue with it. Tape is easy to use, readily available, and does not damage the mold. For any stubborn stains, you might have to use other methods.
Besides tape, you can also try using adhesive putty.
The putty does a similar job to the tape, and all you need is a small amount. Any dust or dirt should stick to the putty, which will then be removed when pulled away from the mold surface. The putty is a good idea as it can mold itself to corners and difficult-to-reach places in the mold.
How to Clean Resin Molds After Use
To clean resin off silicone molds, the primary method is to always use some warm and soapy water. You can fill a deep enough container or bucket with hot water. To this, you can then add about a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Agitate the water a little to get the detergent to disperse in the water. Take the mold, place it into the water, and let it stand for about half an hour. Remove the mold from the water and soap and then take a few drops of the detergent and rub over the mold. Consider using gloves or a non-abrasive sponge for this part.
Be careful not to damage the silicone mold surface, so do not use a rough sponge or anything abrasive.
Gently rub the mold surface, making sure you reach all the corners. Once you are done, rinse the mold in clean water. If you still feel some residue, repeat the process, or allow the mold to dry. Make sure the mold dries properly, which can take a few hours. You can also dry it with a lint-free cloth.
How to Clean Resin Molds That Contain Tacky Resin
What can be done to clean resin molds after use? In some cases, the resin will not cure or harden properly, and you are left with tacky resin that is difficult to remove from the mold. Before you decide to throw out your mold, try one of these methods to clean resin off silicone molds.
Freezing the Mold
If you have tried the primary method of soap and water and you still have a tacky residue remaining, you can try placing the mold in the freezer. Leave the mold in the freezer for about an hour, which will ensure that the residue has solidified. Consider wrapping the mold in a separate plastic bag if there is any food in the freezer. When you take it out of the freezer, the residue should simply peel away from the surface. You can also try using something like a toothpick or flat spatula to gently scrape the resin off.
You can also consider tape or putty to help remove any residue. Once you are happy with the results, rinse and make sure to dry the mold properly.
Mixing More Resin
If you find that the resin has not cured and is still in a liquid form, you can first try removing most of the resin. Make sure to dispose of this resin safely. Your next step is to mix a new batch, making sure you know what went wrong the first time. Pour into the mold, where the old resin should mix with the new. Hopefully, this will then cure properly, and you can simply peel the hardened resin from the mold. This casting will unfortunately not be something you will want to keep. You might need to repeat the process, if necessary.
Using Baby Wipes to Clean the Mold
If you have baby wipes lying around, you can try this easy method. Before you use the baby wipes, you need to try to remove most of the resin first. To achieve this, you can make use of a spatula or any other flat surface tool. Once this is done, simply wipe the mold with the baby wipes, making sure you get into all the corners. You might need to repeat the process until the mold is clean. Finally, use a clean soft cloth to wipe down the mold.
The baby wipes can also be used to wipe any resin off your hands.
Using Acetone to Clean the Mold
You can try applying some acetone to the mold and allow this to sit for a while so that the residue can loosen. Take a soft lint-free cloth and wipe the mold, which should remove and clean the residue from the silicone mold. Since acetone can damage silicone, make sure to rinse the mold as soon as possible. To be safe, only apply the acetone or rubbing alcohol to the affected area, and do not try spraying, as this produces a fine mist that can be inhaled.
Ultimately, good old soap and water is always the best option.
How to Clean Resin Molds With Hardened Resin
Hardened resin is easier to clean than tacky resin, and there are a few ways that you can go about doing this. When using a silicone mold, make sure it is a mold specifically for casting resin, as the baking molds will not last as long. The first idea you can use is to apply some tape. Take some sticky tape or putty and see if you can remove any of the hardened residue. You can consider using packing tape, which is stronger than normal sticky tape.
However, avoid duct tape, which might leave a sticky residue behind. Keep repeating the process, until the resin residue has been lifted off.
Removing Stubborn Resin from Molds
If you find that the cured resin is not coming out of the mold, instead of twisting and damaging the mold, place it in some hot water. After a few minutes, the cast resin should pop out of the mold, and there should not be a lot of residue left behind. Again, you can also try the freezing method, which should also help remove the resin from the mold. Once this has been done, you can then place the mold into some hot soapy water for a final clean.
Leave the molds to soak for a few minutes, wash, rinse off, and allow the molds to dry. You can also follow these steps if you use silicone jugs to pour the resin mixture into the molds.
When washing the molds, always use a soft sponge, and never use steel wool or something that can scratch the mold surface. Also, rather dry the molds naturally instead of wiping them, as even paper towels can cause some damage to the silicone mold surface.
Additional Advice for Cleaning Resin Molds
Maybe you have tried all the above techniques, and it does not seem to be working. Even though silicone molds can be used over again and should last for a few years, eventually, you will need to replace them. The mold can develop tiny holes, or the surface becomes dull, which can affect the smooth surface. This can cause great difficulty when trying to remove the resin once it has hardened. When this happens, the mold cannot be cleaned or repaired and becomes unusable.
It is also best not to use any solvents to clean the molds, and definitely do not even consider putting them in the dishwasher.
Storing Silicone Molds
To help with caring for your mold so that it can last for a long time, there are some things you can do. One of the most crucial things you can do is store your silicone molds properly. When not using the molds, store them in air-tight containers. This will help to keep any dust and dirt from getting onto them, so they will look and be clean when you want to use them again. Before storing them, make sure the molds are completely dry. You can place the molds in plastic containers or bags, which can be kept in a cupboard or drawer that is also away from sunlight. Storing them this way also means that you do not have to clean them so thoroughly when you want to use them again.
When storing the molds, also make sure that the molds are placed on an even and flat surface. If the mold is stored on an uneven surface, and you leave it there for a while, it could lose its shape. Packing the molds on top of one another can also cause problems, as the molds could warp under the pressure.
To prevent this, you can simply place a light piece of plywood or other hard material between the molds. Rather store them in a single layer or hard plastic containers if you wish to stack them. When it comes to long-term storage, you might want to consider an idea that keeps the mold in shape. You can place an old casting into the mold or try pouring in some warm candle wax that will be easy to de-mold when you want to use it again.
Storing the molds in a dry space that is away from any heat is important, as this can not only warp the silicone but can degrade it as well. If the molds are exposed to heat, they can start to warp and lose their shape. So, try to store them away from sunlight or air vents, and do not even consider storage near an oven.
Tips for Caring for Your Resin Molds
When mixing resin and pouring it into the mold, most times, some bubbles can form. To remove these bubbles, many use heat or a heat gun. Even though the silicone can handle high temperatures, exposing it to a direct flame will damage it. Consider mixing the resin and placing it into a separate container where you can then use the heat gun to remove the bubbles. After this has been done, you can then pour the resin into the mold. Below are a few more ideas and tips.
Demolding the Resin
Keeping your mold clean is important, but handling the mold with care can also help to lengthen the lifespan of the mold. A simple way to do this is to have a little patience and to take care when demolding. Do not roughly pull and twist the mold, which can cause damage. Make sure you apply some resin release spray to help with the demolding process.
If the item still does not want to come out of the mold, consider placing it in some warm water or using the freezing method to remove hardened resin.
Do Not Overpour the Resin
When you are pouring the resin into the mold, make sure you do not over-pour. If there is too much, you are also exposing the outer layer of the mold to more resin, which can then be difficult to remove. The resin might not cure properly, or it can even overheat.
More Tips on Caring for Your Molds
The best way to look after your silicone molds is to clean them before and immediately after use. Just remember, the best method to clean silicone molds is to use soapy water and avoid using very hot water. To get rid of bubbles, instead of using heat, you can try spraying alcohol on the silicone mold before pouring in the resin and on top of the resin after it has been poured in.
Always read the epoxy or resin instructions, to make sure that the resin cures properly and to avoid any problems like tacky resin.
Work gently with your molds, and do not over-stretch them. If you twist, turn, and pull a silicone mold too much, it can make the surface dull and can create small tears. This will then shorten the lifespan of the mold. Regular inspection is also necessary, to check for any signs of damage. If there is any damage, it is time to replace the mold.
A resin mold is the key to creating the perfect resin project, and the mold’s condition can directly impact the outcome. To make sure that resin molds last a long time and produce good results, it is necessary to maintain and store them properly. We hope that the ideas we have mentioned on how to clean resin molds will help make sure that your molds last a very long time.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Best Way to Clean Resin Molds?
The easiest and safest way to clean silicone molds is to use some soap and water. You can also use a soft brush to help clean the surface. Cleaning the mold before and after use is also the best way to extend the life of the mold.
Can You Use Another Lubricant Besides Mold Release?
Using a silicone mold release spray is the best option. However, there are also some other products you can try, for example, cooking spray, baby powder, petroleum jelly, or corn starch. These may not be as good as the mold release spray and may also need to be reapplied many times.
Do Silicone Resin Molds Last Long?
Silicone molds are quite strong and should last for at least a few years. Of course, to get the best out of the silicone molds, they should be cleaned and stored properly.
Can You Clean a Resin Silicone Mold With a Toothbrush?
No, anything abrasive like a toothbrush or scouring sponge can scratch the surface and damage the silicone mold. Preferably, only use a soft cloth or sponge if you have to wipe the silicone surface.