Have you ever gotten a new shirt and tried to add your personal touch by using a heat press? The ink removing task seems tedious at the start because a majority of people don’t know the correct method to remove sublimation ink from shirts.
Sublimation inks are difficult to remove because they don’t react well with most solvents or chemicals. That is why I have provided some of the most important methods that are easy to remove sublimation ink from the shirt.
If you follow the below-mentioned steps on how to remove sublimation ink from the t-shirt you will get success in getting rid of the stubborn stains.
Why remove sublimation ink?
There are several reasons when you need to remove ink from fabric and more. Sometimes print can’t transfer properly, sublimation print fade after one wash, etc, For these cases, you want to remove the ink from your shirt, so first you must know what type of ink was used for printing. This is because the sublimation ink comes in a variety of colors and shades. You cannot simply rely on one method to remove the ink from all colors.
For example, if your clothes bear dark blue colored prints then you cannot expect that bleach will work for this purpose. You must know beforehand what kind of ink was used and how it can be removed safely and effectively without harming your clothes in any way.
Sublimation is one of the most preferred types of printing process. It has several advantages to offer, which no other type of screen printing can match so easily. The first thing that one must know about the sublimation process for making prints is that it works through heat transfer. This means that there should be a high amount of heat for the process to work.
Moreover, the sublimation ink is generally used for transfers. And the t-shirts are an excellent product for transfer purposes. But this does not mean that everyone will be benefitted equally from this ink type. Another thing about sublimation ink is that it can go inside the threads of your clothing material. It can penetrate through fabrics like cotton, linen, or silk with ease.
Sublimation ink is composed of tiny particles which are heated beyond boiling point and then fused through heat transfer with your garment. Once this process has been done, the ink particles remain in your clothing if you want a shirt or fabric to retain its color intensity then, you must learn how to clean sublimation ink from a t-shirt. But this is not as easy as it sounds.
Removal of sublimation ink by using general techniques
The ink from a laser printer is made of plastic. It could not be washed away in the washing machine. In order to remove ink from a shirt, you have to scrub hard by using a special solvent only especially for ink stains.
In case your home laundry does not have that kind of solvent, there are other ways of removing ink stains from a shirt. The following guide will help you out:
- Wash off any obvious ink with cold water. It would be better if you use neutral detergents for this purpose because especially formulated solvents can damage fibers & colors in the clothes.
- Soak your printed shirts in one liter of lukewarm water mixed with 3 tbsp. table or dishwasher salt for about 4 hours or overnight.
- Wash your shirts using a liquid dishwashing detergent in warm water.
- If it is possible, do not use chlorine bleach when you are washing colored shirts. Otherwise, the color of the shirt will fade away at the end.
- If you want to be sure that your printed shirts are perfectly cleaned, you can add one cup of ammonia (instead of bleach) in the final cycle of cleaning.
- After all, it is better to let your shirt dry in the open air rather than using an iron on the ink stains. It will make them fade away faster.
- In case you have a lot of ink stains on your shirt. You should better go to the laundry store and ask for the advice of a professional person. This way you will be able to deal with this problem properly and efficiently.
How to Remove Sublimation Ink from a T-Shirt Using Household Chemicals
The procedure is simple, but it does work well so take your time and go slowly to avoid damaging the garment. This method will also work on other items printed with sublimation, including sweatshirts and tank tops.
You can even use this process to restore old photos printed onto fabric if you have access to a large format sublimation printer at home or office.
Here are some steps that will help you to remove sublimation ink from your shirts.
Step 1: Prepare your work area by covering a flat surface with a sheet of aluminum foil. Make sure the area is well ventilated. Place a fan nearby to help speed up the drying process. You will need some polymer crystals, denatured or methyl alcohol, distilled water, paper towels, and an iron.
Step 2: Begin by submerging your shirt in denatured alcohol for 15 minutes. This helps break down the dye on your shirt without damaging it too much. In addition, the solution also acts as a degreaser to remove any leftover residue from the ink printing process during sublimation.
After soaking for fifteen minutes you can take out your garment and gently press it between two clean paper towels to soak up most of the liquid. If you want, you can rinse off the shirt and put it back into the denatured alcohol solution for another 15 minutes.
Step 3: Make sure you keep moving the paper towels around under the iron because this helps avoid burning anything. Be careful not to press too hard with your hot iron (it can burn holes in your shirt). Let everything cool down before touching any part of the fabric.
This last part is important because when things are really hot they’re more likely to stick together. If you touch them accidentally while wearing gloves or handling tools that may be too hot to handle.
Step 4: Once your shirt is dry, place a sheet of aluminum foil on top and iron it for another 5 minutes or so. This helps make the fabric a little stiffer and easier to work within the next step. Don’t skip this part, because it is important for restoring your garment properly.
Step 5: Now it’s time to prepare your mix of polymer crystals and denatured alcohol. Put two tablespoons of crystals into a small cup or jar. Then add just enough alcohol to dissolve them completely into a viscous solution that looks cloudy when you stir it up.
Moisten a clean paper towel with some distilled water and wring it out so that it’s damp but not dripping wet. Then dip it into your polymer solution.
- Can we remove sublimation ink from shirts?
Sublimation ink is hard to remove and for your convenience, I have given some methods in this article to remove ink from your shirts. Moreover, the most convenient method to remove ink is to use rubbing alcohol and rub it on the part of the shirt that is stained until it gets clear.
- Does the removing process cause any damage to the fabric?
In some cases, the removal process damaged the clothes but to prevent it there are various procedures I have provided in this article so that you will get clear fabric without any damage.
- Is sublimation printing a long-term process?
Yes, it is a very long-term process as it will not fade within time. The inks used in sublimation printing are of special quality. Furthermore, the printing goes through several processes to give you the final product. So there is no way to doubt this process.
Now you know how to remove sublimation ink from the shirt. There are a few different ways to remove the ink from your shirt. Do you have some rubbing alcohol on hand? This is one of the most common methods for removing stains and should do wonders in this case! If not, try applying bleach or oxy-clean solution to a cloth and scrubbing it over the stain until it disappears.
Spray hairspray over an area with hair spray before washing if that’s what will help get out stubborn dye marks like these. Whatever method you choose, be sure to wash any clothing item after using chemical cleaners because they can damage fabric fibers over time when used too often!
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