A functional heat press is a profitable heat press. As a print professional, it is a possibility that you have your fair share of troubles. You could mistakenly print the transfers upside down. There could also be adhesive residues on the platen. Worst of all, you could have melted a client provided bag by printing on it at extremely high temperatures. The material of the bag gets disfigured, destroying it. All of these are the side effects of using a dirty heat press.
A heat press will inadvertently get dirty over the course of its operational life. There are a number of reasons for this to happen. It could also be wearing of the parts that make up the equipment. Do understand that it is compulsory to clean the machine. If you do not do this, your machine will be faulty.
For your heat press to remain in top condition, do consider the following actions:
Speed is good
There is no substitute for speed. Consider this scenario: you have mistakenly printed the plastisol heat transfer on the top of the press and not on the shirt as it was actually intended. When you realize your mistake, it is important that you quickly remove the transfer. When the ink is exposed to high heat for a period of time, then it will get "cooked". The transfer will then be extremely hard to remove. You will suffer material losses.
The heat should be lowered. Accidents are more common than you think. You could suffer burns if you try to clean the press when the equipment temperature. If you see something printed not what it should be, turn the machine off quickly. Your intention is to clean the machine. There should be no kind of debris or any ink present on the equipment. You can cool the machine when it is warm. In fact a little warm is preferable as it will be easier for you to scrape off the adhesives or inks. You should not even touch a hot press. It will burn you. Protect yourself by wearing heatproof gloves or any comparable hand protection.
Be gentle when cleaning the machine. Use soft cloth. If you do not have a proper cleaning cloth, use an old t-shirt. It should be non-abrasive. Use water and mild soap. A few heat presses could have platens coated with non-stick material. Use of an abrasive may result in the coating to be scratched off.