Major Reasons for Fading of Sublimation Prints on T-shirts

Major Reasons for Fading of Sublimation Prints on T-shirts

When it comes to t-shirt printing, there are printing methods like DTG, sublimation, heat transfer as some of the famous techniques. Each of these methods has a vital role to play and impact the t-shirt industry. There are multiple factors that you will need to consider while choosing the printing technique as it can affect the printing and t-shirt qualities.

Out of all the different methods one of the famous methods is sublimation printing. Most print owners prefer it because of its bright and vivid colors. However, oftentimes customers complain about getting sublimation prints dull. There are various factors that lead to dull prints.

In this article we are going to discuss everything about sublimation printing and what are the reasons for dull print.

What is Sublimation Printing?

In the current times of the digital era, sublimation printing is among the famous printing methods. It is a simple process of printing using heat and ink. The USP of sublimation printing is that it changes the ink from solid to gaseous substance. This process worked as a game changer in the field of printing industry because of fast and easy process.

Sublimation Process:

Sublimation printing uses heat to bring ink and fabric together. Let’s see how:

Firstly, the design print is done on the special paper, and then the inks used turns into gas when brought under the heat. This combines the fabric and ink permanently on the fabric and there are less chances of ink fading. Because the ink mixes with the fabric rather than forming a layer. In the process, the heat opens the pores of the fabric and applies pressure to cool down the ink and return to the solid form. It results in a permanent, full color image which does not fade, peel, or washes away. Sublimation printing is growing rapidly and is a preferred method for small batch orders.

T-shirt Personalization Tool

Pros and cons of sublimation printing:

Like every printing method, even sublimation printing has its pros and cons. Let’s see it in a brief:

Pros of sublimation printing:

  • It is easy to print on rough surfaces like mugs, photos, clocks, etc.
  • Simple and easy to learn
  • You can use a wide range of colors in sublimation printing via CMYK color base. Additionally, it does not even charge extra for new colors or different screens for each ink color.
  • You can easily personalize your 1 to 1000 unit at the same cost and same designs.
  • The t-shirt print will not fade, scratch, or lose its colors once the printing process is done.
  • The sublimation printing process is easy and can produce multiple prints on the same day.

Cons of Sublimation Printing:

  • The fabric needs to be 100% polyester which makes it difficult to print other materials.
  • The fabric must have white or light-colored print area as dark surfaces can be difficult to sublimate.
  • If you are using non-textile substrates then it needs to have a polyester coating.
  • There are chances of t-shirts losing color over a course of some time.
  • In inkjet printers, the print heads might clog if you are not using them for a longer period of time. Hence, it is better to keep the printer on and it will clean itself automatically on a regular basis.

Going further, let’s see some of the major reasons why sublimation prints dull.

Reasons of Sublimation Print Fading:


If you are wondering how to make my sublimation prints brighter, you need to keep a count of the number of times you wash your clothes. Washing has a huge impact on fading of the ink. When you are using sublimation printing, it mixes with the fabric and so does with the water which eventually results in the fading of the ink. For example, if your customers are washing their favorite t-shirt in hot water every day, it is very likely to fade. So, advice your customers to keep the washing frequency minimum.

Sun Ultraviolet Discoloration:

The UV rays are also a common issue to fade your ink designs. If your customers are drying the clothes every day in the sun, it is likely that the print will start fading. Thus, you can suggest drying them under shade. This might decrease the chances of print fading.

Avoid using Polymer Coating:

When you might be working with hard surfaces people might have recommended you to use polymer ink, and you must, usually, it takes hardly 35 seconds to sublimate polymer based materials. But, in many cases the polymer layers are already present. For example; most of the ceramics coming from Asia have the polymer layer coating. Hence, make sure that you are not applying the excessive layer of polymer on it as it might result in more time to sublimate.

Launch Web to Print Store Now


Sublimation is a go-to solution currently for many print owners due to many reasons. Despite this, many people still face an issue of fading. But, by making sure of the steps we have discussed you can save the t-shirt from fading.

Going one step further, if you are planning to take a leap and provide your customers with a software solution to provide better service, we have an answer for you.

Product designer tool from Brush Your Ideas.

Our tool can let your customers create designs easily directly on your web-to-print store. We have been in the industry for a decade and have helped businesses to start their web to print store from scratch. Not only this, we have even helped them flourish their business, upscale their return on investment, and increase their sales with the right tool like Product Designer Tool. If you are looking for a software solution or want to take your store online, you can reach out to us.

All product and company names are trademarks™, registered® or copyright© trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

Hiral Thaker

Hiral Thaker

Hiral is an Art of Living volunteer, IamRemarkable Facilitator, tech community enthusiast and loves talking about Google. Coming from an engineering background, she took up writing because she wants to contribute to making “Technology an Equalizer”. Hiral likes reading self-help books to know about other people’s stories and this gives her insight into creating stories about tech. You can often find her grooving to Taylor Swift or Kpop music. Her best writing is done on waffle energy! 

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