How to Remove Sublimation Ink from Shirt: Quick Remedies [2022]

How To Remove Sublimation Ink From Shirt?

Sublimation ink is a specialized type of ink that is used in a printing process called the sublimation printing method.

Sublimation printing ink is often used for high-quality prints, inkjet printers, and digital printing, such as those used in graphic design or photography.

The ink is transferred to the substrate, or material being printed on, using heat and pressure.

This causes the ink to turn into a gas and then onto the substrate.

One of the benefits of sublimation printing is that it produces very vibrant and durable prints.

However, this also means that if you get sublimation inks on your clothing, it can be very difficult to remove.

In most cases, you will need to use specialized cleaners and solvents to break down the ink so that it can be removed from the fabric.

What Is Sublimation Used For?

Sublimation Printing on Shirts

Sublimation is a printing process that uses heat to transfer dye onto a substrate.

It is often used for decorating clothing, making signs, and creating other printed items.

You might find it as water-resistant textile paint.

Usually, this type of ink is used to print on T-shirts, but it also has other uses.

Sublimation is different from other printing methods because the image is actually dyed into the fabric instead of being printed on top of it.

This makes for a more durable and long-lasting image.

Reasons To Remove Sublimation Ink From Shirts

There are lots of reasons why you need to remove sublimation ink from fabric.

There are times when a design didn’t turn out the way that you wanted it to, a sublimation print fades after one wash, or you mistakenly printed another design and you just want to change it up.

In these cases, you’ll want to remove the ink, so first, you need to know the type of ink used.

It’s because sublimation ink comes in a bunch of colors.

It’s impossible to remove the ink of all colors with one method.

For instance, if you have dark blue prints on your clothes, bleach won’t work for it.

Before you remove ink from clothes, you have to know what kind of ink was used and how to remove it safely and effectively.

How To Remove Sublimation Ink From Shirt?

A Woman Looking For How To Remove Sublimation Ink From Shirt

If you have sublimation ink on your clothing, the first step is to try to remove it as soon as possible.

The longer the ink sits on the fabric, the harder it will be to remove.

You will also want to avoid washing the clothing item until you have been able to remove the ink.

This is because washing can set the stain and make it even more difficult to remove.

There are a few different methods that you can use to remove sublimation ink from a shirt.

  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Hairspray
  • Bleaching Agent
  • Acetone
  • Denatured Alcohol Solution
  • Heat Press
  • Organic Products

We will go over each method in detail so that you can choose the one that is best for your situation.

Rubbing Alcohol

Removing Sublimation Ink Stain With Rubbing Alcohol

One way to remove sublimation inks from a shirt is by rubbing alcohol directly.

Alcohol is a strong solvent that can break down the ink so that it can be removed from the fabric.

It’s best to use 91% Isopropyl alcohol or 70% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol.

To use this method:

  1. You need to soak a cotton ball in an alcohol solution and then apply it to the stain.
  2. Allow the material to absorb the liquid for 25 to 30 minutes only in the area covered in ink.
  3. Take a paper towel and squeeze out the excess liquid. Rub a cloth over the stain until it’s completely gone.
  4. Take the shirt and wash it in cold water. It is hoped that the ink will disappear. Otherwise, repeat the process several times.

You will need to be careful with this method as alcohol can damage some types of fabric.

If you are unsure whether or not your fabric can handle alcohol, test it on a small area first.

Hairspray

Another way of removing sublimation inks from a shirt is by using hairspray.

Hairspray contains alcohol, which will help to break down the ink so that it can be removed.

  1. You have to spray the stained area with hairspray and then blot it with a clean cloth.
  2. You may need to repeat this process a few times before the stain is completely gone.

Bleaching Agent

Removing Sublimation Inks With Bleach

Bleach is a strong cleaning agent that can break down the ink so that it can be removed from the fabric.

However, it should be noted that it’s not suitable for dyed clothes as it can remove the color.

It’s perfect for white shirts.

If you use bleach regularly for your whites, that’s all you need.

  1. Soak a cotton ball in bleach and then apply it to the stain and let it there for 30 minutes.
  2. Once the bleach has had a chance to break down the ink, you should be able to blot it away with a clean cloth.
  3. After bleaching the fabric, rinse it off with normal water.
  4. Get rid of the rest of the ink with your fingers or a sponge.

Keep in mind that bleach can damage some fabrics, so you will want to be careful when using this method.

Read care labels or washing instructions for the shirt or clothes before applying this method to remove sublimation ink.

Make sure that you rinse the bleach off of your clothing as soon as possible. Bleach can damage the fabric if it is left on for too long.

With a little bit of time and effort, you should be able to remove even the most stubborn stains using this method!

Acetone

Removing Sublimation Printing With Acetone

Acetone is a strong solvent that can be used to remove ink stains.

Alcohol-containing acetone is the most effective stain remover.

It works great on stubborn stains, but you have to be careful.

Put aluminum foil on the table or floor where you’re going to remove sublimation ink.

The space needs to be ventilated.

Get a bowl, 100% pure acetone, rubber gloves, and a clean cloth.

To determine whether acetone will be effective in removing ink stains from your shirt, do a small test:

Soak a small cotton ball in acetone and rub it on the inside piece of the fabric.

Avoid using this method if your shirt’s color changes.

If not, you may follow these simple steps.

  1. Pour a small amount of acetone into a washing bowl or tub.
  2. Dab the wettened cloth on your sublimation printing after soaking the cloth in the liquid.
  3. Only apply acetone to the area covered in sublimation ink. Give the garment 10 minutes with acetone.
  4. Put two clean paper towels on the same cloth and wipe off the acetone. The area with the sublimation ink on the shirt needs to be rubbed gently.
  5. If the sublimation print has been removed, wash the garment with cold water.

Repeat the process if necessary.

Denatured Alcohol And Polymer Solution

Removing Sublimation Ink Stains With Denatured Alcohol and Polymer Crystals

You’ll need a few things to remove sublimation ink stains this way.

Prepare distilled water, denatured alcohol solution, aluminum foil, and polymer crystals.

Items Required

  • Bucket
  • Iron
  • Bowl
  • Jar
  • Paper Towels

Procedure

  1. Add the denatured alcohol to the bucket or pail and Dip your shirt or other garments into the bucket.
  2. Be sure to fully soak the stained part of the shirt with the liquid and let it sit there for about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the shirt or garment from the bucket and absorb excess liquid with paper towels.
  4. Then wash it in warm or cold water in the washing machine.
  5. Iron your shirt or garment when it’s still a little damp. Put filtered water in the reservoir, and turn it on. Make sure the iron is set to the right temperature according to the care label instructions for the fabric.
  6. Dry your garment completely with iron and cover it with aluminum foil. But only cover the sublimation ink area and iron over the aluminum foil for another 5 to 7 minutes.
  7. After you’re done ironing, remove the aluminum sheet and put the shirt away.
  8. Combine polymer crystals and denatured alcohol to make a polymer crystal mix.
  9. Put 3 tablespoons of polymer crystals in the jar or bowl. Wait until the crystals dissolve in a cup of denatured alcohol.
  10. Use distilled water to wet some clean paper towels and let them soak in the polymer solution.
  11. Gently blot the inked area with that paper towel.
  12. Use a spoon to put the mixture on the printed clothes and scrub sublimation ink stains with that spoon.
  13. Keep doing this until your shirt is spotless.

Heat press

Removing Sublimation Printing With a Heat Press

Removing sublimation printing with a heat press is a little more time-consuming and demanding.

The process is efficient, and there are no chemicals involved.

Items required

  • iron
  • spoon
  • normal-thick cloth
  • thinner fabric cloth

Procedure

  1. Lay a sublimation-inked shirt or garment on the base where you iron the clothes.
  2. Place a dry normal-thick cloth inside the shirt directly under the inked area.
  3. Position that cloth inside the garment. Flatten your garment and make sure it’s wrinkle-free.
  4. Cover the garment with a wet thin cloth and put it on outside the garment.
  5. After connecting the iron to a power source, turn it on and begin ironing. Start by setting the iron to moderate heat and gradually increasing the temperature. You’ll need to iron the fabric for about 5-10 minutes.
  6. Now turn your iron off and scrub off the sublimation ink.
  7. Use a spoon or another scrubbing object to scrub the ink. Work your way through the center of the ink starting at the edges.
  8. Make sure you get every ink stain out by peeling the sublimation ink off with your fingers.

Organic Products

Removing Sublimation Printing Using Organic Ingredients

Removing sublimation ink stains with organic products is easy, budget-friendly, and fast.

For this process, we don’t use harmful cleaning agents or chemical solutions.

It’s the only way to remove sublimation prints without damaging the fabric or using a heat press.

All you need are household chemicals you probably already have.

Items Required

  • Bowl
  • White Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Dish Soap
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Warm Water
  • Lemon
  • Paper Towels

Procedure

  1. Start by squeezing half a lemon into a bowl. Mix white vinegar, two tablespoons of baking soda, and lemon juice together.
  2. Add half a cup of hydrogen peroxide and half a cup of dish soap and mix it all together.
  3. Put the shirt or other garment with sublimation ink on the flat surface.
  4. Let the homemade cleaner soak in for 40 minutes on the stained area.
  5. Rinse off the shirt or absorb the excess liquid with a clean paper towel.
  6. Use your fingers or a sponge to remove the sublimation printer ink from the garment.
  7. Repeat the process if you need to. Wash the garments normally if the stain is gone.

Important Considerations For Removing Sublimation Ink Stain

  • Be sure to check the care label before applying anything. Check the label to see if anything can hurt the fabric. Choose another method if that’s the case.
  • Steam the fabric before you remove the sublimation ink. It’ll help keep the ink from breaking.
  • Make sure you have everything you need before you start removing sublimation ink.
  • Use a flat and clean surface for the removal of sublimation ink.
  • It is recommended that you turn on a fan while you are removing the sublimation ink from a sublimated shirt. It’ll dry the fabric faster and help with air circulation.
  • No matter which method you choose, make sure that you blot the stain, rather than rub it. Rubbing can cause the ink to spread and make the stain larger. Once you have blotted away as much of the stain as possible, you should wash the clothing item according to the care instructions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you fix a sublimation mistake on a shirt?

If you have made a printing mistake while sublimating a shirt, there are a few ways that you can fix it. One way is to use acetone to remove the ink from the fabric. Another way is to use bleach to break down the ink so that it can be removed.

Will sublimation ink wash out?

Sublimation ink is designed to be permanent. However, it is possible for the color to fade over time if it is exposed to sunlight or washed. To help prevent your shirts from fading, you will want to wash them in cold water and avoid using harsh detergents. You should also avoid drying your shirts in direct sunlight or using a clothes dryer. Hang drying your shirts is the best way to prevent them from fading. With a little bit of care, you can keep your sublimation shirts looking new for years to come.

Does sublimation wash out of cotton shirts?

Yes, sublimation will wash out of cotton shirts if they are not properly treated. To set the design into the fabric so that it does not wash out, you will need to use a heat press. Set your heat press to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and press for 60 seconds. This will help to set the design into the fabric so that it does not wash out. You can also try using a clothes dryer on high heat for 30 minutes to set the design.

How do you get sublimation ink out of 100 polyesters?

You’ll first need to put the cleaning solution on the print. Clean your ink with a solution that works for you. Let the shirt absorb the liquid. Then wash and dry your clothes almost completely. Then iron it. The heat helps break up the ink on the material. Manually remove any remaining ink from the polyester. After you have a stain-free T-shirt, all you have to do is wash it again.

Conclusion

The advantage of sublimated shirts is that they don’t fade, and they’re not heavy like screen printing.

The sublimation process is also prone to mistakes.

It’s because digital printers use heat transfer screens.

You now know how to remove sublimation ink from a shirt fast, easily, and effectively.

These methods will help you remove the sublimation print from shirts or other garments.

Make sure you follow the steps carefully and don’t skip any steps for the best results.

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Tasha Juli Korman
I'm Tasha Korman, a fashion and lifestyle blogger. I have been blogging for over five years now and have found my niche in the world of style! Whether it's taking you on a personal journey through my wardrobe or sharing outfits that match your own personal style, I hope you enjoy following along.