What Percent Isopropyl Alcohol For 3D Printing


Why Isopropyl Alcohol is Essential for 3D Printing

Isopropyl alcohol, also known as IPA, is an essential tool in the world of 3D printing. Whether you are using a resin-based printer or a filament-based printer, cleaning your prints with isopropyl alcohol is crucial for achieving optimal results. Let’s delve into why isopropyl alcohol is considered a necessary component in the 3D printing process.

One of the main reasons isopropyl alcohol is used in 3D printing is to remove excess resin or filament from the print bed or the printed objects themselves. When using a resin-based printer, after the printing process is complete, the printed object is still covered in uncured resin. Submerging the print in isopropyl alcohol helps to dissolve and wash away this excess resin, leaving you with a clean and polished finished product. Similarly, when using a filament-based printer, isopropyl alcohol aids in removing any leftover filament residue or support structures.

Another crucial role isopropyl alcohol plays in 3D printing is as a solvent. It is an effective solvent for both resin and filament materials, making it ideal for cleaning and degreasing 3D prints. The alcohol helps to dissolve any unwanted substances, such as oils, greases, or dirt, that may have accumulated on the surface of the print during the printing process or post-processing. This ensures that the final print is free from any imperfections or contaminants.

Isopropyl alcohol also facilitates the process of removing supports from 3D prints. When you print an object with support structures, removing these supports cleanly can sometimes be a challenge. Isopropyl alcohol can assist in breaking down and loosening the supports, making them easier to detach without damaging the printed object. This makes post-processing and finishing the print much more efficient and convenient.

Furthermore, isopropyl alcohol offers the added benefit of being a quick-drying agent. After rinsing a print with isopropyl alcohol, the alcohol evaporates rapidly, leaving the print surface dry and ready for further post-processing or handling. The quick-drying nature of isopropyl alcohol ensures that no moisture or residue is left behind, preventing any potential issues like watermarks or contamination.

In summary, isopropyl alcohol is an essential component in the 3D printing process, regardless of the type of printer you are using. Its ability to dissolve and remove excess resin or filament, act as a solvent for cleaning and degreasing, aid in support removal, and facilitate quick drying makes it indispensable for achieving high-quality, clean, and finished 3D prints.


What Percent Isopropyl Alcohol Should You Use?

When it comes to selecting the right percent isopropyl alcohol for cleaning your 3D prints, there are a few factors to consider. The most common concentrations available are 70% and 99% isopropyl alcohol. Let’s explore the differences between these two options and determine which one is best suited for your needs.

70% isopropyl alcohol is the most widely used concentration for cleaning 3D prints. It is the recommended choice for general cleaning purposes due to its balanced properties. The 30% water content present in the solution helps to slow down the evaporation rate and increases the contact time between the alcohol and the surface being cleaned. This allows the alcohol to effectively break down and dissolve contaminants, such as resin or filament residue.

On the other hand, 99% isopropyl alcohol is a highly concentrated form of alcohol. It contains a minimal amount of water and evaporates quickly. This concentration is preferred for applications where a rapid drying time is crucial, such as when you need to clean delicate or intricate parts that may be prone to water damage. However, it is important to note that the fast evaporation can sometimes limit the contact time with contaminants, making it less effective for certain cleaning tasks.

So, which percentage should you choose? It depends on the specific requirements of your cleaning task. If you are looking for a general-purpose cleaning solution for removing resin or filament residue, 70% isopropyl alcohol is the recommended option. Its slower evaporation rate ensures sufficient contact time for thorough cleaning. Additionally, it is more readily available and often more cost-effective than the higher concentrations.

On the other hand, if speed and quick drying are important factors for your cleaning process, 99% isopropyl alcohol can be a suitable choice. It is a highly efficient drying agent and can be beneficial for cleaning sensitive or moisture-sensitive components. However, keep in mind that the rapid evaporation may require more careful handling and application to avoid any potential issues.

In summary, the choice between 70% and 99% isopropyl alcohol depends on your specific cleaning needs. For general cleaning purposes and removing resin or filament residue, 70% isopropyl alcohol is recommended. If quick drying is important or you are dealing with delicate components, 99% isopropyl alcohol may be a suitable option. Consider the properties and requirements of your cleaning task to determine the most appropriate concentration for your 3D printing needs.


Isopropyl Alcohol and Resin Printing

Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) plays a crucial role in the post-processing stage of resin 3D printing. After the printing process is complete, resin prints require thorough cleaning to remove excess uncured resin and achieve a smooth and finished appearance. IPA is the go-to solvent for this task due to its effective cleaning properties.

When using resin 3D printers, the printed objects are typically covered in a sticky residue from the uncured resin. This residue needs to be removed to ensure the final print is clean and ready for further processing and curing. Submerging the prints in a bath of isopropyl alcohol helps to dissolve and wash away this excess resin effectively.

The cleaning process involves placing the printed objects in a container filled with isopropyl alcohol and gently agitating them. The alcohol works to break down the resin, loosening and removing it from the surface of the print. By leaving the prints in the alcohol bath for a certain period, the resin is dissolved and suspended, preventing it from reattaching to the surface.

Once the prints have been soaked in isopropyl alcohol, it is important to rinse them thoroughly. This ensures that any remaining resin or alcohol is removed. After rinsing, the prints can be air-dried or cured under a UV light source to complete the post-processing steps.

Isopropyl alcohol also aids in the removal of support structures in resin prints. Support structures are necessary to provide stability during the printing process but need to be removed before the final print is considered complete. Immersing the print in isopropyl alcohol can help soften and loosen the supports, making them easier to remove without damaging the printed object.

It is worth noting that when working with isopropyl alcohol and resin prints, safety precautions are essential. Isopropyl alcohol is flammable, so it is important to handle it carefully and ensure proper ventilation when using it. Additionally, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for working with resin and cleaning with isopropyl alcohol to ensure proper handling and disposal.

In summary, isopropyl alcohol is a vital component in the post-processing of resin 3D prints. Its effective cleaning properties help to dissolve and remove excess uncured resin, resulting in clean and smooth prints. By utilizing isopropyl alcohol, resin print enthusiasts can achieve high-quality, finished products that are ready for curing and further processing.


Isopropyl Alcohol and FDM Printing

Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is not only essential for resin printing but also plays a significant role in the post-processing stage of fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing. FDM prints often require cleaning to remove any residue from the printing process and achieve a clean and polished final product. Isopropyl alcohol is a commonly used solvent for this purpose.

When using FDM printers, the printed objects may have residual filament residue, support material, or other debris that needs to be removed. Isopropyl alcohol is an effective solution for cleaning FDM prints, particularly for removing any excess material that may be stuck to the surface or within crevices of the print.

Cleaning FDM prints with isopropyl alcohol involves using a brush or cloth to apply the alcohol to the surface of the print. By gently scrubbing the print, the alcohol helps to dissolve and remove the unwanted material, leaving a clean and smooth finish. For hard-to-reach areas or intricate designs, dipping the print in isopropyl alcohol and then using a brush or cloth can also be effective.

Furthermore, isopropyl alcohol can aid in the removal of support structures for FDM prints. Support materials, such as soluble or breakaway supports, are often used to provide stability during the printing process but need to be removed post-printing. Isopropyl alcohol can help weaken or dissolve these support structures, making them easier to detach without damaging the printed object.

It is important to note that not all filament materials are compatible with isopropyl alcohol. Certain filaments, such as ABS or PETG, are resistant to alcohol and may not be affected by it. In such cases, a different cleaning method or solvent may be required. It is always best to consult the specific guidelines and recommendations provided by the filament manufacturer when cleaning FDM prints.

Lastly, safety precautions should be taken when working with isopropyl alcohol and FDM prints. Isopropyl alcohol is flammable, so it is essential to handle it with care and in a well-ventilated area. Remember to follow proper safety protocols and dispose of used alcohol properly.

In summary, isopropyl alcohol is commonly used in the post-processing of FDM prints to achieve a clean and polished final product. It helps to remove filament residue, support material, and other debris, resulting in a smooth and professional-looking print. However, it is important to consider the compatibility of the filament material with isopropyl alcohol and follow safety guidelines when using it for cleaning FDM prints.


The Benefits of Using Isopropyl Alcohol for Cleaning 3D Prints

Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is a highly effective cleaning agent for 3D prints, offering a wide range of benefits for the post-processing stage. Let’s explore some of the advantages of using isopropyl alcohol to clean your 3D prints.

1. Efficient Solvent: Isopropyl alcohol is a versatile solvent that can dissolve a variety of substances, including resin or filament residue, support materials, oils, greases, and dirt. This makes it highly effective for cleaning 3D prints and removing unwanted contaminants.

2. Easy Removal of Excess Material: Isopropyl alcohol helps to dissolve and wash away excess resin or filament from the surface of prints, leaving behind a clean and polished finish. It is particularly useful for cleaning hard-to-reach areas or intricate designs where other cleaning methods may be impractical.

3. Quick Drying: Isopropyl alcohol has a rapid evaporation rate, which means it dries quickly on the print surface. This ensures that no moisture or residue is left behind, preventing any potential issues like watermarks or contamination. The quick-drying nature of isopropyl alcohol also allows for faster post-processing and handling of the cleaned prints.

4. Compatibility with Various Printing Technologies: Isopropyl alcohol can be used to clean prints from both resin-based printers, such as SLA or DLP, and filament-based printers, such as FDM. Its effectiveness and versatility make it a go-to cleaning solution for a wide range of 3D printing technologies.

5. Cost-Effective: Isopropyl alcohol is generally an affordable option for cleaning 3D prints. It is readily available in various concentrations, making it accessible to printers of all levels. Moreover, a little amount of isopropyl alcohol can go a long way in cleaning multiple prints, making it a cost-effective choice for post-processing.

6. Versatile Applications: Isopropyl alcohol can be used not only for cleaning prints but also for removing adhesive residues, degreasing components, and general surface cleaning. Its versatility extends beyond 3D printing, making it a useful solvent to have in any maker’s toolkit.

7. Environmentally Friendly: Isopropyl alcohol is a relatively environmentally friendly solvent. It is volatile and does not leave behind harmful residue, making it a safer option for both users and the environment compared to other cleaning agents.

Overall, isopropyl alcohol offers a multitude of benefits when it comes to cleaning 3D prints. Its efficiency, quick drying time, compatibility with different printing technologies, cost-effectiveness, versatility, and eco-friendliness make it a reliable choice for achieving clean and professional-looking prints.


Safety Precautions When Using Isopropyl Alcohol

While isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is an effective cleaning agent for 3D prints, it is important to exercise caution and follow safety precautions when using it. Here are some essential safety measures to consider when working with isopropyl alcohol:

1. Ventilation: Always ensure proper ventilation when working with isopropyl alcohol. Use it in a well-ventilated area or near an open window to minimize exposure to fumes and prevent the buildup of potentially hazardous vapors.

2. Flammability: Isopropyl alcohol is flammable, so it is crucial to handle it with care. Store it away from open flames, sparks, or heat sources. Avoid smoking or using any open flames in the vicinity when working with isopropyl alcohol.

3. Storage: Store isopropyl alcohol in a cool, dry place, preferably in a well-sealed container. Keep it out of reach of children and pets to prevent accidental ingestion or misuse.

4. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves and safety glasses, when handling isopropyl alcohol. This helps to protect the skin, eyes, and respiratory system from potential exposure and irritation.

5. Avoid Direct Skin Contact: Isopropyl alcohol can cause skin dryness and irritation with prolonged exposure. Avoid direct contact with the skin and promptly wash any exposed areas with soap and water if accidental contact occurs.

6. Use in Well-Ventilated Areas: When using isopropyl alcohol for cleaning, ensure that you are working in an area with adequate air circulation. This helps to prevent the buildup of fumes and minimize the risk of inhalation.

7. Disposal: Properly dispose of used isopropyl alcohol. Follow local regulations and guidelines for the safe disposal of chemical waste. Avoid pouring isopropyl alcohol down the sink or drains, as it can be harmful to the environment.

8. Read and Follow Instructions: Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations when working with isopropyl alcohol. Pay attention to any safety warnings and guidelines specific to the product you are using.

Remember that safety should always be a priority when working with any chemical or cleaning agent, including isopropyl alcohol. By following these precautions, you can ensure a safe and efficient cleaning process for your 3D prints.


Tips for Properly Cleaning 3D Prints with Isopropyl Alcohol

When it comes to cleaning 3D prints with isopropyl alcohol (IPA), there are several tips and tricks that can help you achieve the best results. Here are some valuable tips to keep in mind:

1. Use the Right Concentration: The recommended concentration for cleaning 3D prints is typically 70% isopropyl alcohol. This concentration provides a good balance between cleaning power and evaporation rate. However, depending on your specific needs, you may opt for a higher concentration like 99% for faster drying.

2. Choose the Correct Method: The method you choose for cleaning with isopropyl alcohol depends on the type of print and the level of contamination. For prints with light residue, a gentle wipe-down with a cloth soaked in IPA may suffice. For prints with heavier residue, a submersion bath or brushing the print with IPA can be more effective.

3. Allow Adequate Soaking Time: If you choose to submerge your prints in isopropyl alcohol, ensure you leave them in the bath for an adequate amount of time. This allows the alcohol to dissolve and loosen the residue, making it easier to remove. The soaking time may vary depending on the print size and the amount of contamination.

4. Gently Agitate the Prints: When cleaning prints in an isopropyl alcohol bath, gently agitate or swirl the container to help dislodge any stubborn residue. Avoid vigorous agitation, as it may cause damage to delicate prints or increase the risk of splashing IPA.

5. Rinse Thoroughly: After cleaning with isopropyl alcohol, always rinse the prints thoroughly with clean water. This removes any alcohol residue and ensures that no contaminants or IPA are left on the surface. Proper rinsing helps to prevent any negative effects on the print, such as discoloration or weakening of the material.

6. Allow Sufficient Drying Time: Once the prints are rinsed, allow them to air dry or use a clean, lint-free cloth to pat them dry. Depending on the ambient conditions and the size of the print, it may take some time for the prints to dry completely. Ensure they are fully dry before further handling or post-processing steps.

7. Consider Safety Precautions: Always prioritize safety when working with isopropyl alcohol. Ensure proper ventilation, wear appropriate personal protective equipment, and follow safety guidelines. Remember that isopropyl alcohol is flammable, so handle it with care and follow proper storage and disposal procedures.

By following these tips, you can clean your 3D prints effectively and achieve optimal results with isopropyl alcohol. Remember that experimentation and adjusting the cleaning process to suit your specific prints and needs may be required for best outcomes.


Alternative Cleaning Solutions for 3D Prints

While isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is the most commonly used cleaning solution for 3D prints, there are alternative options available that can be equally effective. Here are some alternative cleaning solutions you can consider:

1. Soap and Water: A simple and readily available alternative to isopropyl alcohol is using soap and water. Mild dish soap mixed with warm water can be used to gently clean prints. This method is particularly suitable for prints with light contamination or for removing water-soluble support materials.

2. Window Cleaner: Some window cleaning solutions can also be used to clean 3D prints. Look for ammonia-free formulas as ammonia can damage certain materials. Spray the window cleaner onto a cloth or directly onto the print, then wipe the surface to remove dirt and residue. Be sure to rinse the prints with water afterward to remove any residues from the window cleaner.

3. Acetone: Acetone is a strong solvent and is more commonly used for post-processing ABS prints. It can effectively dissolve and remove excess filament material, including support structures. However, it is essential to use acetone with caution as it can be highly flammable and may cause damage to certain materials or finishes.

4. Ultrasonic Cleaner: An ultrasonic cleaner is a device that uses high-frequency sound waves to generate tiny bubbles in a cleaning solution. These bubbles help to agitate and remove contaminants from the prints. Ultrasonic cleaning can be used with various cleaning solutions, including IPA or soap and water, making it a versatile option for cleaning 3D prints.

5. Biodegradable Cleaning Solutions: There are specific biodegradable cleaning solutions available on the market that are designed for cleaning 3D prints. These solutions are formulated to be effective at removing residue and debris without causing harm to the environment. Biodegradable cleaning solutions can be a more eco-friendly alternative to traditional cleaning agents.

When using alternative cleaning solutions, it is important to consider the compatibility with your specific print material. Some cleaning solutions may work better for specific filament types or resin materials. Always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations to ensure that the chosen cleaning solution is suitable for your prints.

Remember to follow safety precautions when using any cleaning solutions, such as proper ventilation, wearing personal protective equipment if necessary, and handling flammable substances with care.

By exploring alternative cleaning solutions, you can find the one that works best for your specific 3D prints and requirements. Whether it’s soap and water, window cleaner, acetone, an ultrasonic cleaner, or biodegradable cleaning solutions, there are various options available to help you achieve clean and high-quality prints.



Isopropyl alcohol (IPA) is an essential tool for cleaning 3D prints, whether you are using resin-based or filament-based printers. It offers numerous benefits, including effective removal of excess resin or filament, acting as a solvent for cleaning, aiding in support removal, and facilitating quick drying. With its versatility and widespread availability, isopropyl alcohol is a reliable and cost-effective option for achieving clean and professional-looking prints.

When using isopropyl alcohol, it is crucial to prioritize safety and follow proper precautions. Ensure adequate ventilation, handle with care due to its flammability, and use the appropriate personal protective equipment. Additionally, consider the specific cleaning requirements of your prints and adjust the cleaning method and concentration of isopropyl alcohol accordingly.

While isopropyl alcohol is commonly used, there are alternative cleaning solutions available, such as soap and water, window cleaner, acetone, and biodegradable cleaning solutions. These alternatives can be effective depending on the print material and level of contamination. Follow manufacturer guidelines and recommendations to choose the most suitable cleaning method for your 3D prints.

Ultimately, incorporating proper cleaning techniques using isopropyl alcohol or alternative solutions will contribute to achieving high-quality 3D prints. Regular and thorough cleaning helps to remove any residue, support structures, or contaminants, resulting in clean, visually appealing prints ready for post-processing and display.

Experimentation and finding the right cleaning approach for your specific prints may be necessary. By staying informed, considering safety guidelines, and trying different cleaning methods, you can ensure the best results for your 3D prints and enhance your overall printing experience.

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