How to dissolve PVA

Prints using PVA as support material will require post-processing to remove the PVA. This can be achieved by dissolving the PVA in water, as described on this page, and takes several hours, leaving no trace afterwards.

Print with PVA support
Print with PVA support
Print after removing PVA support
Print after removing PVA support

Submerge the print in water

When the print is placed in water the PVA will slowly dissolve. This process can be quickened by using the following techniques:

  • Warm water. Warm water will decrease the dissolving time. When using PLA for the build material, ensure that the water is no hotter than 35 °C, otherwise the PLA may be adversely effected. Never use water above 50 °C, as this increases risk of burning.
  • Stirring. Use stirring/running water to decrease the dissolving time. Moving water enables the PVA to dissolve more quickly (in some cases under three hours, depending on the amount of support material used).
  • Pliers. You can also speed up PVA dissolution by placing the print in water for approximately 10 minutes, then removing most of the support with pliers. When the print is placed back in the water, only the remaining parts of PVA will need to be dissolved. After the PVA supports are totally dissolved, rinse the print with water to remove any excess.

Submerge the print in water

Rinse with water

After PVA supports are totally dissolved, rinse the print with water to remove any excess PVA.

Rinse with water

Let the print dry

Let the print dry completely and apply additional post-processing to the build material if necessary.

Let the print dry

Disposal of waste water

PVA is a biodegradable material, and in most cases disposing the water afterwards is easy. However, we recommend that you check local regulations for more concise guidance. The water can be disposed down the drain, providing the waste water distribution network is connected to a wastewater treatment plant. After disposal, run hot water from the tap for approximately 30 seconds to remove any excess saturated PVA water and to avoid longer-term clogging issues.

It is possible to use the water for more than one print, however, this might extend the dissolving time. Through repeated use, the water becomes saturated by previously dissolved PVA, so for the quickest result, fresh water is recommended.

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