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Unread 02-13-2013, 04:17 PM   #1
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Smile How to Gently clean/treat Vintage Rubber Stamps

Hi Stampers! This is Crafty Julia. I was the lucky recipient of some 1961 cartoon stamps for my birthday- wood stamps with rubber that need some gentle cleaning and conditioning of the rubber. Any suggestions of products? They are not crumbly and are pretty much intact and adhered to their wood bases. I have some SU cleaner on hand but want some advice.

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Unread 02-13-2013, 05:36 PM   #2
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Hi Julia! I have some 1960ish Rocky and Bullwinkle stamps that were in the condition yours are.
I used a small amount of Ultra Clean on a cloth and then cleaned them. There is still some staining but the majority of the gunk came off w/o difficulty. It didn't harm the stamps at all. HTH
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Unread 02-13-2013, 06:06 PM   #3
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Thanks, Julie! Will give it a try.
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Unread 02-14-2013, 01:02 AM   #4
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It sounds weird but Versamark is generally very good at shifting stains and gunk. Ink the stamp up with Versamark and let it sit for a while and then clean off with regular stamp cleaner or a little mild soap and an old toothbrush.

Have fun with your stamps!
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Unread 02-14-2013, 05:03 AM   #5
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You can condition an old rubber stamp by applying glycerin, it will help with dryness and prevent cracking.
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Unread 02-14-2013, 10:33 AM   #6
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You can condition an old rubber stamp by applying glycerin, it will help with dryness and prevent cracking.
Contrary to what people think, glycerin over the long term really won't help. In fact, it will harm your stamps. Chemically, glycerin attracts water molecules, so it actually pulls moisture outs of things like rubber (your skin from glycerin soaps). The glycerin sits on the surface, along with the water molecules, and makes it feel like it is moisturized, but then the water evaporates and dries out your stamp (or skin).
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Unread 02-15-2013, 12:13 PM   #7
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I recieved a set a cartoon stamps (Hanna Babbera) as a kid, mom eventually packed them away in the attic. When I found them eons later after she passed away most had broken into pieces. I did some asking around at stamp conventions and was told by a serious collector who had that same set and many other antique stamps that a lot of the commercial stamps from that era were a mixture of rubber and believe it or not clay. That is why most of mine fell apart, so be extra gentle how you treat those stamps if you want to have them around for a while. I'd be extra picky what products I used on them also.

The few I have remaining I do not use. I wrapped them up and stored in a closet away from light. They are sadly now a keep sake only, not for actual use.
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Unread 02-15-2013, 06:45 PM   #8
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so if glycerin is not that good, what than is suggested? Any ideas? I was given some and some are getting real dry.
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Unread 02-16-2013, 05:50 AM   #9
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I've always heard that a mixture of distilled water and glycerin is what you are supposed to use to recondition stamps. A lot of my friends have done that and were pleased and amazed with the results.

If I can find the exact "recipe" for the above I'll come back and post it if anyone wants.
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Unread 02-16-2013, 02:45 PM   #10
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Hate to argue but I used and had good results with glycerin on very old (20+ years) stamps myself.
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Unread 02-17-2013, 03:30 PM   #11
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It may work in the short term, but if there is moisture (water molecules) in the rubber, it will draw it out and make matters worse. It may work to some degree because glycerin is oily. You would probably be just as well off, if not better, just using some olive oil or vegetable oil on your rubber to soften it up.
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Unread 02-18-2013, 04:54 AM   #12
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This formula was recommended by Stamp Francisco and Stampland Chicago just to name a couple of stamp company owners I've talked with:

Quote:
2 tea spoons glycerin
1/2 cup of distilled water

mixed together & use to soak dried out rubber stamps. Place dry stamps, image down on a plate or other shallow tray/pan. Add enough mix to cover the rubber, but you don't need to soak the foam & you don't want to soak the wood block if mounted that way. Let soak for at least an hour, overnight is good too. Then rinse until the slickery feeling goes away on the rubber. Air dry & put away.

If rubber dries out too much it can crack & ruin the design plus the dry rubber may not pick up ink as well as it should, affecting stamped image.
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Unread 02-20-2013, 02:47 AM   #13
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Stamp Francisco and Stampland were owned by the same person.
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Unread 02-20-2013, 07:18 AM   #14
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I use EZ Does It or Removes It that I get from The Goose Barn in IL. They will send it to you and you can get it in pints or quarts and put it in smaller bottles. I sometimes leave an old, really stained stamp sit in some over night. It has cleaned and rejuvenated many of my badly stained and hardened stamps beautifully. Can't tell you what's in it, but everyone that uses it raves about it.
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Unread 02-20-2013, 10:19 AM   #15
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I use SIMPLE GREEN! You can get it at the hardware! Just make sure you DON'T get the Automotive type! (I hear it stinks!) Use 2 1/2 c. Distilled Water & 1 1/4 c. Simple Green & then pour this into a squirt bottle! You can use it to clean AND condition your stamps! It IS made for rubber! I've found it to be a GREAT product AND a money saver!
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Unread 02-20-2013, 10:30 AM   #16
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Default Simply Green would be an easy fix, it's easy to find.

I will like it if Simply Green works but was wondering how long you have used this on your stamps? S.G. has been around for a while and would like to know if it has been time tested on stamps? I grabbed my bottle and read it can be used on rubber, I know I've used it everywhere else, so it's worth a try.
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Unread 02-20-2013, 10:57 AM   #17
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Default Rubber Stamp Cleaner "Rubber Renue" by MG chemicals

Folks for stamps that I get that are very inked up or real dirty I use RUBBER RENUE by MG Chemicals (mgchemicals.com) It "rejuvenates and conditions rubber" used by folks in the printing business for their rollers, belts and platens. CAUTION you must use in a well ventilated area as it is highly flammable and does smell, but works wonderfully!! Happy Stamping.....
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Unread 02-20-2013, 11:27 AM   #18
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I've used Simple Green for several years now! I had a friend who gave me ALOT of stamps at one time. They were PRETTY YUKY with stains....I used Simple Green on them & they're like NEW! Only a FEW were so bad that I used Staz-on cleaner on & then I used Simple Green afterward to condition them! Simple Green is THE BEST I've found for cleaning my stamps! I only have a few bottles of the cleaner for TOUGH stains but, I ALWAYS use Simple Green afterwards! There ARE lots of people out there that use Simple Green on their stamps! AND I believe there IS a thread on this SOMEWHERE HERE on SCS! Rubber is Rubber! Guys use it on their tires....! If your stamps get really nasty with ink, I also use a Tim Holtz scrub pad too! The Simple Green foams up then! If you like bubbly clean!
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Unread 02-20-2013, 04:11 PM   #19
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My custom 'back of the card' stamp sat too long in a sunny spot and is dry. With I knew which way was correct!
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Unread 02-21-2013, 01:47 PM   #20
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Yes Picasso Gaglione once owned Stamp Francisco but sold it when he moved to Chicago. Once in Chicago he and his wife then opened another stamp company called Stampland of Chicago. He is even a major collector of rubber stamps, enough to have opened a mini museum. This means he has been in the biz a long time, probably longer that almost anyone here at SCS. If he thinks the glyceryn bath is okay then it's good enough for me but....

Another idea: I went back and pulled an old RSM mag issue and it suggested soaking your rubber stamps in mineral oil for a bit and then washing them very well to get the residual oil off. In fact thay said you might have to wash and rinse several times and to be sure and use a soft brush or old toothbrush to get the oil out from between the lines of the image.

BTW, Simple Green is a wonderful cleaner (I use it and have for years) that will help keep stamps from drying out but will not restore ones that are already dry.

HTH!
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Unread 02-25-2013, 04:01 AM   #21
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I use homemade stamp cleaner that is dilute baby wash to clean them. I started out intending to make SU! Cleaner but didn't have glycerine and didn't care about rose water and all that was left was baby wash and water. I've used it for years and no residue or hardening so I'm happy. Just this one stamp that I left out which dried. I was stupid to leave it out. Not thinking, I i stored it in a location of convenience over intelligence. I'll have to try the oil. Thanks. I wonder if another stable oil like the baby almond massage oil I've had for 12 years since my son was a baby might work. (Someone told me not to use it in case he might be allergic to nuts. I was avoiding nuts til he was two bc of allergies in the family) I hate buying a huge bottle of mineral oil I'll never use up. I also have many stable oils I use for handmade cosmetics. Hmm...
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Unread 02-25-2013, 06:40 AM   #22
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I hate those "what was I thinking moments".

I've never soaked my stamps in any kind of oil so don't know what to tell you but if you do try it I for one would love to hear your results.
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Unread 02-25-2013, 12:12 PM   #23
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All the above answers seem to be what to do with dried out stamps. What about one that feels slightly tacky and sticky - any suggestions?
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Unread 02-26-2013, 06:05 AM   #24
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Rubber not clear I assume?!

Wonder if the oil bath would help that too, kinda like using baby oil to get rid of the last of the stickyness from something after you've remove a price tag from.
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Unread 02-26-2013, 10:44 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stampin stacy View Post
I recieved a set a cartoon stamps (Hanna Babbera) as a kid, mom eventually packed them away in the attic. When I found them eons later after she passed away most had broken into pieces. I did some asking around at stamp conventions and was told by a serious collector who had that same set and many other antique stamps that a lot of the commercial stamps from that era were a mixture of rubber and believe it or not clay. That is why most of mine fell apart, so be extra gentle how you treat those stamps if you want to have them around for a while. I'd be extra picky what products I used on them also.

The few I have remaining I do not use. I wrapped them up and stored in a closet away from light. They are sadly now a keep sake only, not for actual use.
I'm just wondering about your old rubber stamps,..... could you make a good imprint of them or use the image and ask the stamp makers in your town to make a new rubber for them.... possibly if you wanted to use the image for some projects?
I know rubber is a natural item and some stuff doesn't hold up after a few decades... did you try the reconditioning treatment?
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Unread 02-26-2013, 11:32 AM   #26
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I know of some women who "ink" their stamps up with VERSA MARK as it too is a Stamp Conditioner & then just place them back into their cases, VERSA MARK & ALL!
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Unread 02-27-2013, 05:36 AM   #27
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Lol when I found them most were already in tiny crispy toast pieces - many many pieces and the others looked like they would disintegrate if you even looked at them so no I did not try the reconditioning treatment. Its okay I'd rather have them as a childhood memento. They were stamps of my fav cartoons which makes them a double treasure.

It they really are part clay it probably wouldn't work anyway, baked clay can't be unbaked. Attics in Texas can get really hot in the summer and they were up there for a really long time.
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Unread 02-27-2013, 11:30 AM   #28
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Quote:
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Lol when I found them most were already in tiny crispy toast pieces - many many pieces and the others looked like they would disintegrate if you even looked at them so no I did not try the reconditioning treatment. Its okay I'd rather have them as a childhood memento. They were stamps of my fav cartoons which makes them a double treasure.

It they really are part clay it probably wouldn't work anyway, baked clay can't be unbaked. Attics in Texas can get really hot in the summer and they were up there for a really long time.
I you are just keeping them as a memento, perhaps you can permanently seal them with something that will preserve them, but not make them more usable. That way you could display them in your craft room somehow---on a shelf or in a shadow box.
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Unread 02-27-2013, 01:50 PM   #29
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I have tried mineral oil and Simple Green...both work well. I am always amazed (shocked) at the condition of some of the used stamps I get...how in the world did they use them at all? Or, did they ink them up, thinking they would clean them sometime in the future, then sell them as is?? I guess because stamps are expensive, I think everyone takes care of them like I do. Restoring them is a challenge I enjoy, though.
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Unread 02-28-2013, 06:12 AM   #30
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Now that DS is at college I might have to do that Jeannie, thanks for nudge. Originally it was better for them to be tucked away where he couldn't get them, then they just stayed there. LOL
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Unread 03-04-2013, 10:02 AM   #31
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Quote:
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All the above answers seem to be what to do with dried out stamps. What about one that feels slightly tacky and sticky - any suggestions?
Mine feel like that if I don't get all the versamark or pigment ink off them so my suggestion is that they are dirty even if you can't see it. Soak them on a paper towel soaked in a dilute solution of simple green, baby wash or glycerine for 1/2 hour then go back with a toothbrush. I bet the tackiness is gone! Unles you are talking about clear stamps. They can just gett hat way over time if they aren't good quality. Sad.
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Unread 03-04-2013, 11:20 AM   #32
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Quote:
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Mine feel like that if I don't get all the versamark or pigment ink off them so my suggestion is that they are dirty even if you can't see it. Soak them on a paper towel soaked in a dilute solution of simple green, baby wash or glycerine for 1/2 hour then go back with a toothbrush. I bet the tackiness is gone! Unles you are talking about clear stamps. They can just gett hat way over time if they aren't good quality. Sad.
Rubber it is. I'll try to pick up some glycerine in town and give that a try.Thanks for all the suggestions.
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Unread 07-24-2015, 07:55 AM   #33
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If you look at the ingredients in Simple Green, it is water, 2 kinds of alcohol, and TSP. Nothing that would remotely condition rubber. Sorry.
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Unread 07-27-2015, 01:59 PM   #34
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Quote:
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If you look at the ingredients in Simple Green, it is water, 2 kinds of alcohol, and TSP. Nothing that would remotely condition rubber. Sorry.
That suggestion was for cleaning tacky stamps that way presumably because they are dirty. The conversation took a little side trip!
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Unread 07-28-2015, 03:29 AM   #35
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The only thing I'd like to add here, is that I work in manufacturing, producing bolts for aircraft. Our processes use a lot of oil, and I have seen first hand what oil does to rubber, and it's not pretty! I'd suggest being very careful with oils- quite possibly something like olive oil won't cause a problem, or the oils used for making your own soaps/cosmetics, but would not like to guarantee it.
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Unread 07-28-2015, 09:59 AM   #36
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Quote:
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I know of some women who "ink" their stamps up with VERSA MARK as it too is a Stamp Conditioner & then just place them back into their cases, VERSA MARK & ALL!
I hate Versamark on my stamps and it's difficult to get off.

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Unread 07-28-2015, 10:18 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TLady View Post
I know of some women who "ink" their stamps up with VERSA MARK as it too is a Stamp Conditioner & then just place them back into their cases, VERSA MARK & ALL!
I hate Versamark on my stamps and it's difficult to get off.

Lesley
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Unread 07-27-2016, 04:26 AM   #38
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Default how to treat Vintage Rubber Stamps

Hi,
I would like to thank you all for your help and suggestions.
I NOW have somewhere to try.
JOGRY/BALI
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Unread 07-31-2016, 07:43 AM   #39
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Quote:
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It may work in the short term, but if there is moisture (water molecules) in the rubber, it will draw it out and make matters worse. It may work to some degree because glycerin is oily. You would probably be just as well off, if not better, just using some olive oil or vegetable oil on your rubber to soften it up.
Glycerine may have an oily feel, but it is not an oil. Actual oil will degrade real rubber over time, as @shazsilverwolf said above.

Glycerine will not dry out your skin either - I found an actual medical study - double-blind and placebo-controlled (can't get much better than that) - it's at ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18025807 (I'm too new to link) if you're interested. It was a 4 week study with 24 patients - the conclusion was that glycerol-based cream was an effective moisturizer for dry, inflamed skin (both hydration and thickness improved).

I'm new to stamping, but the arguments against glycerine don't really hold up. I'm using the water-glycerine-baby wash cleanser (partly because I already have a gallon jug of glycerine and no Simple Green).

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Unread 08-02-2016, 01:35 PM   #40
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I sometimes buy used stamps that apparently the previous stamper never cleaned ever. I find I can get the rubber almost pristine with some patience, a little bit of Palmolive free & clear dish soap and water, an old toothbrush, and (if necessary) Avon Skin So Soft. I wash thoroughly after cleaning with the Skin So Soft, so there's not an oily residue. I've never had a stamp suffer any damage from this treatment. Now, if there was only a method for taking the stains off the wood (other than remounting!)
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