Screen Printing Solvent

Your Stop for Name Brand Screen Printing Solvents

There are many useful screen printing solvents you can use in the screen printing process. A solvent is a solution that helps break down essential properties of many different products like paint, varnish, lacquer, grease, oil and even adhesive residues. Each type of solvent or thinner will have its own unique purpose and should be used accordingly. Solvent can be dangerous if mishandled, always use precaution, with care and dispose of them properly.

Shop Our Solvent Brands By Clicking Below:

Why Choose Garston for Your Solvent?

affordable pricing

Affordable Prices

All of our screen printing solvents are presented to you at an affordable, low price. Here at Garston we always aim to accommodate any size printing shop.

customer service

Customer Satisfaction

Trying to find the correct screen printing solvent for your project? Just ask the experts at Garston! We love providing the best products for the best prices with the best customer service behind us.

screen printing supplies

Name Brand Products

Choosing products can be a hard decision, that’s why we stock the most familiar brands in the industry. Giving you a place to grab your favorite items while staying in your budget.

Shop Our Selection of Solvents:

Types of Screen Printing Solvents

Gel Retarder: This is a thick additive that slows the drying process down.  

Lacquer thinner: Use this product in conjunction with cleaning sprays, equipment and lacquer to help dissolve or dilute the products. You should be cautious of where you use lacquer thinner, seeing that it is a very strong solvent that can deteriorate certain fabrics or surfaces.

MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone): This product is used for thinning polyester, exposies, vinyls and adhesives. When handling MEK always use protective hand and eyewear.

Retarder thinner: This thinner can be used to reduce the viscosity of screen printing inks.

Screen Wash: Screen wash can be used for cleaning and removing plastisol screen printing inks. You can use it for on press cleaning.

Slow Evaporating Solvent: Also known as Xylol, this solvent can help with the slow evaporation of paints, inks, varnishes

Using Different Screen Printing Solvents & Thinners

Gel Retarders

By using a gel retarder in conjunction with other screen printing cleaning chemicals, you’ll extend the drying time, allowing you to clean your screens more effectively. This means, that you’ll extend the amount of time you have to work with.

Lacquer Thinner

If you’re having a hard time with cleaning your screens before they completely dry, and getting ink stuck in the mesh, you can turn to using lacquer thinner or paint thinner. It’s best to use a special wash chemical, keep the screen back flooded and work quickly, seeing that they too will dry quick.


MEK (Methyl Ethyl Ketone):

The main objective of the liquid solvent, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), is to for surface coating and it’s very similar to acetone. You can use it with adhesives, printing inks, chemical intermediates, and magnetic tapes. This is a highly efficient and versatile solvent, especially for high solids coating as well as reducing emissions from your coating. You can also use MEK to remove vinyl that has been heat pressed onto a garment.
By using MEK, you’ll have a slower evaporation rate for making better choices in cleaning and degreasing your screens.

Retarder Thinner

Another good solvent to use to slow down the process of drying is a retarder thinner. This will improve the screen stability in hot conditions.

Screen Wash

Screen wash is another helpful cleaning agent you can add to your artillery for screen printing. It’s a quick dry cleaner formulated for removing and dissolving ink on not only screen printing mesh but squeegees, flood bars, presses, pad printing tools, and much more. By using this product, you’re trying to remove visible ink while minimizing the chance of stains.

Slow Evaporating Solvents (XYLOL)

Similar to the theme of solvents, slow evaporating solvents and thinners can be used with paints, varnishes and certain kinds of synthetic coating. This is a strong solvent that evaporates slower than most other solvents.

Screen Printing Solvent FAQ

Are Solvents Hazardous?

As a matter of fact, some of them can be. Solvents like lacquer thinner have the greatest hazard of exposure through inhalation which can cause dizziness, headaches or simply light-headnesses. In this situation, it’s always best to read your products, understand how to use them and properly set up your shop. You will absolutely need the proper ventilation (as is custom with chemicals), the proper gear (mask, gloves) and be extremely careful handling solvents.

Who Mostly Uses MEK?

MEK is a product of choice for professional paint shops and painters who use acrylic paint and lacquers. This is because it’s a volatile solvent that will evaporate quickly. You can also use MEK for dissolving resins, adhesives and removing old finishes.

What are the Steps to Keeping Ink from Drying Out?

Before you start printing, first spray your screen with water. Then, spread this entirely around the frame and into the mesh with your squeegee. Starting off with this technique will help keep your screen from absorbing all of the moisture of the ink, and help to try and keep the ink from drying out. This technique will also keep the ink from drying to the squeegee side of your screen.

Garston, Sign Screen & Digital

Honest, Fair Prices on All Solvents

Garston is your leading supplier with a variety of different screen printing solvents in our inventory. For over 60 years, we’ve been helping screen printers choose their products wisely. If you ever have any questions or need assistance, give us a call at 860-289-3040.