Sublimation shirts are famous for their design longevity. However, this long-lasting ink can be a drawback when you make a printing mistake on a sublimation shirt. Thankfully, you can try several methods on how to remove sublimation print from shirt.
What is Sublimation Print?
When it comes to shirt printing, there are several printing techniques to choose from. One of them is the sublimation print. It is a printing technique that transfers a design into a particular material using water-based ink and heat.
Ink will merge into the pore of the material and transform into a gas. In the case of shirt printing, the ink will fuse into the fiber of the shirt fabric.
A long time ago, people assumed that the dye in sublimation printing transforms from a solid state to a gas state without experiencing the liquid state during the printing process. However, this assumption is not correct because liquefying of the dye happens.
Consequently, the term dye-diffusion is more appropriate and widely used. However, many people still call this technique sublimation printing.
What is it Used For?
Sublimation printing is available on a wide array of materials. Therefore, you can use this printing technique for making various products. Below are examples of sublimation printing uses.
The process of making sublimation shirts requires a particular type of fabric because sublimation printing is not available on all fabric types. Sublimation printing only works with polyester fabric and polyester mix fabric.
Moreover, the fabric color used in this printing is white or light colored. In addition, the printing process takes more time and is more costly than that of other shirt printing techniques. Therefore, people do not apply it in mass production.
They usually order them in small numbers and use them for jerseys. The sublimation print on these shirts will last for a very long time. Therefore, printing artists will get problems on how to remove sublimation print from shirt when making printing mistakes.
You can also use sublimation printing on mugs. The polymer coating on mugs allows the sub-ink to fuse into its pores. This printing technique will make ordinary white mugs look more attractive.
3. Cushion Covers
Many businesses sell custom cushion covers. They allow their customers to bring their designs to custom cushion covers. After receiving the order, they use the sublimation printing technique for applying the design on cushion covers.
The fabric used in creating these products is similar to that used in sublimation shirts. In addition, the printing quality of both products is also similar.
4. Phone Case
Many phone users want to customize their mobile phones using unique phone cases. As a result, some businesses offer custom sublimation phone cases. The appealing design on these phone cases will not easily fade because of the excellent quality of the print.
The Process of Sublimation Print Job on Shirts?
The process of how to do sublimation printing on t-shirts is done using a specific digital printer and other machines. Put simply, the process of printing sublimation print on shirts is as follows.
- The printer’s piezoelectric print head will transfer the sublimation ink to sheets of transfer paper via liquid gel ink.
- Next, a sublimation print artist puts the paper and shirt fabric in a heat press machine. This machine will deliver pressure and heat so the ink on the paper fuses into the fabric. The temperature needed to activate the ink ranges between 175oC and 215oC.
- After that, the print artist will cut and sew the fabric into a shirt.
The Pros of Sublimation Print Shirts
In some aspects, sublimation printing is better than screen printing. Below are the strengths of sublimation print.
Sublimation print is almost permanent. It can last for a very long time because the print fuses deep into the material. In addition, it commonly has a laminate layer at the top.
This laminate layer will protect the print from moisture and UV light. Therefore, the print will not fade easily.
Perfect for Printing Seam to Seam Pattern
Not all print techniques allow you to print seam-to-seam patterns on their shirts. However, sublimation printing will print your seam-to-seam pattern without problems.
Sublimation printing can print patterns with a wide range of colors. Moreover, the result is beautiful and precise.
Compared to other printing techniques, sublimation printing can produce sharp and intricate edges. Therefore, your print patterns will have exceptional details.
The Cons of Sublimation Print Shirts
Sublimation print is not a perfect printing technique. It has some drawbacks.
Sublimation Print is not Available on Natural Fabric
The biggest drawback of the sublimation print is that it is not available on natural fabric, such as 100% cotton. Consequently, those who prefer cotton shirts cannot enjoy the great qualities of sublimation print.
It Cannot Print White Color
The sublimation printing technique cannot print white color. It will let a blank space on the fabric when there is a white color in the pattern. As a result, this limitation will cause a problem when you print your design on black fabric.
It is Only Suitable for White or Light-Colored Fabric
Since sublimation printing cannot print white color, printing artists can only use white fabric or light-colored fabric for printing patterns with white details. This limitation, of course, causes some inconveniences for these artists and sublimation print shirt users.
Can You Remove Sublimation Ink from a Shirt?
Considering the longevity of the sublimation print, it is no surprise that some people wonder whether the sublimation ink can be removed. Well, you can remove sublimation ink from a shirt. However, it may require particular chemicals and techniques how to remove sublimation print from shirt.
The longer the sublimation ink sits in the fibers of the shirt fabric, the more difficult it is to remove it. Therefore, if you make a sublimation printing mistake, you must remove the ink immediately.
How to Remove Sublimation Print from Shirt: Using Cold Water
There are several methods you can do for removing sublimation ink from shirt. One of them is using cold water to freeze the sublimation ink. This technique will work most effectively on freshly-printed sublimation shirts.
- Place the shirt in a bucket.
- Pour cold water into the bucket.
- Let the shirt soak in the water for some time.
- Press the ink area using a spatula to remove the ink.
How to Remove Sublimation Print from Shirt: Homemade cleaner
Some people are worried that removing sublimation ink on a shirt using a particular chemical can damage the shirt. Consequently, they prefer to use homemade cleaners to perform this task.
Ingredients for homemade cleaner:
- ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp of baking soda
- A cup of warm water
- White vinegar
- Half a cup of dish soap
- Half a cup of hydrogen peroxide
- A bowl
Steps for removing sublimation print.
- Squeeze the lemon and mix the lemon water with other ingredients in a bowl.
- Place the sublimation shirt on a flat surface.
- Pour the mix onto the sublimation print of the shirt.
- Wait for 40 minutes.
- Rinse the homemade cleaner off the shirt.
- Scrub off the sublimation print using your fingers or sponge.
- Soak the shirt and scrub off the ink again if necessary.
- Wash the shirt.
How to Remove Sublimation Print from Shirt: Using Acetone
You can also remove the sublimation print from a shirt using acetone. This method is quite effective in removing sublimation ink. However, you must be careful in doing this method because it is not suitable for all shirts.
To perform this method on how to remove sublimation print from shirt, you must prepare pure acetone, paper towels, cloth, aluminum foil, a cotton ball, and a bowl. In addition, you must perform a test first to make sure that this method is suitable for your shirt.
- Pour several drops of acetone into a cotton ball.
- Use the wet cotton ball to rub the inside of the shirt where the sublimation ink is.
Don’t proceed if the color of the shirt changes. If it is not, then do the following instructions.
- Place aluminum foil on your working space or desk.
- Pour acetone into a bowl.
- Soak the cloth you have prepared in acetone.
- Apply the wet cloth on the sublimation ink on your shirt.
- Wait for 10 minutes to let the shirt absorb the acetone.
- Use two paper towels to press the shirt.
- You can reapply the wet cloth on the shirt if needed.
- Wash the shirt using cold water.
How to Remove Sublimation Print from Shirt: Bleaching Agent
The bleaching agent is a great product for removing sublimation ink on a white shirt. How to remove sublimation print from shirt using a bleaching agent? Follow the steps below.
- Apply bleaching agent on the sublimation print of your shirt.
- Soak the shirt for 30 minutes.
- Use paper towels to absorb the bleaching agent.
- Rinse the bleaching agent off the shirt.
- Remove the sublimation print using a sponge or your fingers.
- Wash the shirt.
How to Remove Sublimation Print from Shirt: Heat Press
Using the heat press technique to remove sublimation ink from a shirt takes more time. However, it is safer than some particular techniques because it does not use chemicals, but it is effective.
The steps for removing sublimation ink using the heat press method are as follows.
- Place your sublimation shirt on your ironing board.
- Put a dry cloth under the sublimation ink inside the shirt.
- Wet a thin cloth.
- Place the thin cloth over the sublimation print area.
- Power on your iron and set the heat to a moderate temperature.
- Iron your shirt on the sublimation print area.
- Increase the temperature gradually and keep ironing for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Power off your iron and put it away.
- Use a spoon to scrub the ink. Scrub it off from the edge to the center. If you can peel the ink off with your fingers, don’t hesitate to do it.
How to Remove Sublimation Print from Shirt: Soda Water
Soda water has a strong scrubbing power. Therefore, it can help you remove sublimation ink without spending too much energy scrubbing this ink. Follow these steps if you want to try this method.
- Mix 1 part of water and 6 parts of baking soda in a bucket.
- Soak the shirt in this solution for 30 minutes. Make sure that it is truly soaked in the solution.
- Take out the shirt.
- This method will not remove the ink 100%. Therefore, you must repeat the steps above or scrub off the ink.
Removing sublimation ink from a shirt is not an easy task to do. In most cases, you must repeat the method of how to remove sublimation print from shirt several times before the ink goes away completely.