Cleaning Mugs/Tumblers After Lasering

Sara Thompson is a fabrication/laser specialist at JDS Industries. She has been with JDS for three years in the fabrication department taking on several roles including direct print, graphics coordinator, lasering, and new product testing. She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor of fine arts with an emphasis in graphic design. 

The method used to clean mugs or tumblers after you’ve lasered them depends on the material. Lasering ceramic generally leaves very little residue, so a quick wipe down with a dry cloth is usually all that’s needed. Colored metal (not powder coated) items sometimes have the tint of the color you’ve lasered through left behind, and acetone is effective in removing that without damaging the finish. For leatherette-wrapped and powder-coated drinkware, we have found a product called LA Awesome works well. This all-in-one cleaner is both non-toxic and biodegradable and begins to work on contact.  Simply spray it on and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth.  Microfiber is recommended over paper towels as it’s more absorbent and won’t leave scratches behind. 

There is really no time-saving benefit for cleaning as you take the item off the laser table or waiting until you have several done. When cleaning with the acetone, it can be beneficial to wait until you have several to clean to reduce your contact with the acetone and avoid waste as it evaporates quickly. It’s really more a matter of personal preference and what works best for you in your shop setup.

—Sara Thompson, JDS Industries