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Effective Methods for Eliminating Sublimation Ink Stains from Your Shirts

Effective Methods for Eliminating Sublimation Ink Stains from Your Shirts


In recent years, sublimation printing has gained significant popularity. Due to its widespread use, people often employ this method with a sublimation printer and heat press to print on various materials. Despite its convenience, many individuals have faced the challenge of removing sublimation ink stains from T-shirts. Fortunately, there are four effective methods to address this issue.

This article aims to provide helpful answers to questions regarding removing sublimation ink stains.


Table of contents


  1. What is sublimation ink?
  2. How do you fix sublimation mistakes?

2.1.  Using dishwashing soap

2.2.  Using rubbing alcohol

2.3.  Using the lemon juice and vinegar method

2.4.  Using the bleach method (for white shirts only)


  1. Q&A

3.1. How long does sublimation ink last on shirts?

3.2. Will acetone remove sublimation ink from the shirt?

3.3. How do you remove sublimation ink from a heat press?


  1. Summary



Part 1: What is sublimation ink?

Sublimation ink is a dye-based ink specially designed for sublimation printing. This printing process involves transferring the ink from a solid form on transfer paper onto various substrates. Instead of directly applying the ink to the fabric, sublimation ink is used within the printer to create the image, and a heat press facilitates the transfer of the image onto the fabric or other materials. The powdered dye on the transfer paper is transferred to the substrate under the pressure and heat of the heat press, resulting in vivid and durable sublimation prints.


Part 2: How to remove sublimation ink from a shirt?

To effectively remove sublimation ink from a shirt, it is crucial to act promptly. When dealing with a fresh ink stain, immediate action is recommended to prevent it from setting. Begin the removal process by gently blotting the affected area with a clean paper towel or cloth, allowing it to absorb any residual ink. This quick intervention can significantly improve the chances of successfully eliminating the stain from the shirt's fabric.

Sublimation Ink Stains from Your Shirts

If the removal effect is unsatisfactory, you can try the following methods:


2.1.  Using dishwashing soap

A quick and easy solution for removing sublimation ink from fabric involves dish soap and water. The technique is safe for delicate materials and effectively eliminates mild to moderate-intensity stains.

To carry out this procedure correctly:

  • Fill a bowl with warm water and  incorporate a few drops of mild dish soap.
  • Immerse a clean towel in the soapy water, then swap it to delicately scrub the sublimation ink until the stain starts to fade away.
  • Iterate steps 2 and 3 using clean water and the same cloth to ensure complete removal of the stain.
  • After treating the stain, make sure to rinse any residual soap from the fabric with clean water.
  • Allow the garment to air-dry thoroughly.


2.2.  Using denatured spirits

Sublimation ink can be effectively removed using denatured spirits (alcohol) without causing damage to the fabric, as it combines with heat and high pressure to yield favorable results. Below are detailed steps for using rubbing alcohol to eliminate sublimation ink from fabric:


  • Before proceeding, test a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric to ensure that the denatured spirits won't harm or discolor it.
  • Once the test is successful, dampen a clean cloth with denatured spirits.
  • Gently rub the stained area of the fabric with the damp cloth until the ink stain vanishes or until the cloth becomes thoroughly soiled.
  • After removing the stain, eliminate any residual denatured spirits by washing the fabric in cold water.
  • Once the fabric is dry, let it air dry or gently blot the area with a clean cloth.
  • If the stain persists despite following these steps, consider repeating steps 2-3 for further attempts at removal.


2.3.  Using lemon juice and vinegar

For the prompt and easy removal of sublimation ink, lemon juice, and vinegar can be utilized, especially if the ink stain is still fresh. Here are the specific steps on how to use these ingredients:


  • Create a mixture by combining equal parts of lemon juice and white vinegar.
  • Pour the solution into a spray container and shake it well to ensure proper blending.
  • Directly spray the solution onto the sublimation ink stain. Alternatively, you can use a cloth or brush dipped in the solution to scrub larger stains.
  • l Allow the solution to sit on the stain for a minimum of 5 minutes, which helps dissolve the ink effectively.
  • Allow the solution to sit on the stain for a minimum of 5 minutes, as this helps to dissolve the ink effectively.
  • Employ a brush with soft bristles to scrub the stain in a circular motion gently. Take care not to overdo it, as vigorous scrubbing may damage the fabric while trying to remove sublimation ink.
  • Rinse the area with water to remove the vinegar solution and any remaining ink.
  • If necessary, repeat the entire process until the stain is completely gone.


After treating the stain, you can wash the garment as usual, which will not only remove any lingering vinegar solution but also prevent any potential odor.


2.4.  Using the bleach method (for white shirts only)


  • Follow the instructions on the bleach packaging to dilute it appropriately.
  • Directly apply a small quantity of the diluted bleach to the stain.
  • Allow it to sit for a few minutes, but avoid leaving it on for too long to prevent potential fabric damage.
  • Once the stain disappears, thoroughly rinse the shirt with cool water.
  • To eliminate any remaining bleach residue, wash the shirt separately.

Part 3: Q&A


3.1. How long does sublimation ink last on shirts?

The longevity of sublimation ink on shirts is influenced by the sublimation printing process parameters as well as how the shirts are maintained during wearing and washing.


3.2. Will acetone remove sublimation ink from the shirt?

Yes, but the mentioned materials are readily available and commonly found, making it more convenient to purchase the mentioned four items for home use.


3.3. How do you remove sublimation ink from a heat press?

You can effectively clean it using either dishwashing soap or a household iron cleaner.

Click Here to learn How to Sublimate A Shirt?


Part 4: Summary

In conclusion, with these strategies, you can maintain the pristine appearance of your shirts and enjoy stain-free clothing. Say goodbye to sublimation ink stains, and welcome a clean and fresh wardrobe!

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