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Water-Washable Resin 101: Everything You Need to Know Before Getting One

By Xaveria Livienna | Jun 15,2023

Interested with the water-washable resin? Read this guide to see whether this is the right 3D printing resin for you.

With 3D printing continuously growing in popularity in the past decade, some people are now actively looking for a more environmentally friendly option for their hobbies. While FDM 3D printing is considered more eco-friendly than resin printing, some companies have promoted water-washable resins as more environmentally friendly. But is it really the case?

No, water-washable resins are not the greener solution for 3D printing.

Despite the claims, water-washable resins are still sensitizers. In its liquid form, it might cause mild allergic reactions when exposed to the skin and is toxic to the environment when poorly handled.

What Is Water-Washable Resin?

As the name implies, water-washable resin is a type of 3D printing resin that is soluble in water. While traditional 3D printing resins require isopropyl alcohol (IPA) or a cleaning solution like Phrozen Wash, the water-washable resin can use mere tap water.

Although it is not any more eco-friendly than traditional resins, for many people, the water-washable resins can simplify their post-processing setup and is a cost-saving option as they don’t need to purchase other cleaning solutions.

But now you may be wondering, is it any better than the traditional resins? The answer to this question relies significantly on your end results. What are you printing, and how do you intend to use it. Let’s take a deeper look!

Advantage of Water-Washable Resins:

  • Easy to Clean Up: One of the most significant benefits of the water-washable resin is, of course, that it’s easier to clean up, and you can just use water.
  • Cost Savings: Save up on the cost of isopropyl alcohol or other cleaning solutions.
  • Less Odor: Compared to traditional resins, water-washable resins are less smelly.

Cons of Water-Washable Resins:

  • Water-Soluble: As much as it is a pro since it’s easy to clean, you need to be careful not to accidentally wash away the details of your printed model when cleaning.
  • More Brittle: Although opinion varies, some claim that models printed with water-washable resins tend to be slightly more brittle than traditional resins. So depending on your needs, it might not be something that you would want to go with.

What Can You Print With Water-Washable Resin?

So, what can you print with the water-washable resin? Well, pretty much, anything.

The water-washable resin is suitable for various 3D printing uses, including miniature printing, figurines, and mock-up parts. It might not offer the highest resolutions like Aqua 8K Resins, nor the unique benefits of functional resins. Still, it’s definitely a versatile one that could cater to most of your 3D printing needs.

Phrozen offers two colors for our water-washable resin collection: the Model-Gray and Rapid-Black. Both are formulated with a beautiful color that will showcase the details in your printed models and are super-easy to clean with just water. You can find inspiration for what to print with water-washable resins in our blog.

Cleaning and Post-Curing Water-Washable Resin?

As previously mentioned, cleaning is as easy as rinsing it with water. Using a washing machine like the Washing Station or Ultrasonic Cleaner can help you clean a batch of printed models at once, while if you are printing just a few each time, hand-dipping (wear gloves!) them in water and occasionally using a brush for the nooks and cranny can work just fine.

You can refer to the video below on how to clean your resin printed models:

Post-curing is an important step of 3D printing, and it stays true when printing with water-washable resins. To avoid cracks, remember to thoroughly dry your models before putting them in a Curing Station. You can use a compressed air gun or just put it aside to air dry. 

Water-Washable Resins: Tips and Tricks

Interested in printing with water-washable resins? Make sure you pay attention to these few things:

Remember, Safety First!

Although the resin is water-washable, it’s still crucial to wear the appropriate safety equipment is still crucial. Gloves are a must, and if you are working with resins for an extended period of time, then consider getting a respirator. Never touch the resin with your bare hands, and immediately wash with plenty of water upon contact.

Responsible Disposal

After cleaning and rinsing your printed models in water, never throw the water down the drain immediately. The leftover water will contain uncured resin particles and will be harmful to the environment.

Please be responsible artists and creators, and follow your local guidelines about the disposal of possibly toxic materials.

If there aren’t any specific rules, you can simply expose your leftover water in the daylight for a few days until the resin particles are separated from the water and cured completely. Then filter out the resin particles and dispose of them as general garbage. If your water looks clear and free of any resin particles, you can pour it down the drain or just let it in the sun until it evaporates completely.

Now that you have the proper knowledge about water-washable resins, you can be a responsible 3D printing enthusiast without risking your health and the environment. Still got any questions about water-washable resins? Ask away!

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