Sublimation ink is one of the most important elements in the whole sublimation process. It requires special care as well. Most of the time if you sublimate correctly, the ink will last as long as the original substrate does. But what if you miss any important step of the process?
That can result in less vibrant and less bright color apart from that the print itself will not be printed and transferred properly. That’s why it’s very important to follow the right process and steps. In today’s article, I will explain how long does sublimation ink last on a variety of different substrates because every substrate has different properties and the time limit for each of them also varies. So be with us till the end to know how long does sublimation ink last.
Before diving into the core of the article, let me explain what sublimation printing exactly is and why sublimation ink has so much importance in the process?
Sublimation printing is the process of printing the print on specialty paper called sublimation paper and then using heat via a heat press machine it is then transferred to the substrate such as a shirt or any piece of garment. The process might look similar to any other printing process but the difference lies behind the science of sublimation printing.
When the printed paper heats the ink(sublimation ink) that becomes the gas and changes its state. Once it cools down it gets infused within the fabric and becomes the permanent part of that fabric. That means there won’t be any additional layer on top of the fabric and the design is now the part of the actual fabric.
NOTE: In the complete process of sublimation printing make sure to use the best and high-quality ink. Click here to learn more about the best sublimation ink in 2023.
Now let’s have a look at how long does sublimation ink last on different materials and substrates. These are the top 4 most common substrates that people use and ask about.
- How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last On Shirts
- How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last On Mugs
- How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last On Paper
- How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last On Fabric Like Cotton and Polyester
How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last On Shirts
Most of the time on shirts the sublimation ink lasts as long as the original fabric does. But for that, the shirt must be sublimated with the correct process and method. If not then the print might result in less vibrant, fade, or colors might be dull.
Also, the fabric of the shirt also plays a vital role in the sublimation ink’s life on the shirt. If the fabric is of good quality, usually it lasts around 10+ years at least and in most cases, it lasts as long as the original fabric does.
And many people also think that you can not wash the sublimated shirts in a machine. So let me clear that it’s a myth only. You can wash the shirts with ink on them in the machine.
How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last On Mugs
Sublimation ink on mugs lasts several years. There is no exact time frame because multiple factors are involved in it. Such as the mug quality itself, the process of sublimation of the mug, which ink is being used, and many more. But in general the sublimated mugs last several years easily.
How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last On Paper
Sublimation ink lasts on paper for a few months if it is stored with care. If you keep the sublimated paper away from the light and dust then you can expect it to last at least a few months. But if it is exposed to the light, air, and dust then maybe within a month you will notice the ink will start fading away and the print will get dull.
How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last On Fabric Like Cotton and Polyester
Polyester is the friendliest material for sublimation printing and all sublimation inks. The ink of the polyester lasts as long as the original fabric does. And you also won’t face any issues like fading, dullness, and others with the polyester material. Apart from polyester, if you use fabric like cotton then the life expectancy depends on the process you followed for sublimating the fabric and the quality of the ink you used.
But in general, you can expect 100+ washes for the cotton fabric as well with sublimation ink on it. After 100+ washes the ink might start fading away but if you sublimated it correctly and with the top quality ink then you can expect it to last longer(near to the polyester).
How long does sublimation ink last in the Printer
Every product has some expiry date and shelf life. The product must be used within its shelf life for the best results. The same goes for the sublimation ink as well. Most of the brands selling sublimation ink have a shelf life of 6-12 months depending on the brand.
That means once you have installed the ink in the printer, within 6-12 months you should use it otherwise the ink can harm your printer as well and you will not get the best results from expired sublimation ink.
For the exact period of time, make sure to check the shelf life and expiry date on the sublimation ink box and bottles. You will see the exact time frame specified for that ink which will help you to forecast the usage of the ink.
You might be thinking that how long does sublimation ink last after it’s opened? Well, if you haven’t put the ink into the printer and opened the bottle then you should also expect the same time frame for the ink expiry and shelf life. Better to use the ink as soon as it’s opened or within a few months at max. Closing the tip/cap of the ink bottle perfectly can help you to increase the life expectancy of the ink as well.
Tips To Keep The sublimation Ink On The Fabric and Substrates For Longer Period Of Time
- Try to avoid washing the fabric on a daily basis. 2-3 washes a week are enough and acceptable.
- Exposing the fabric and substrate, especially the part having sublimation ink on it, to too much sunlight, can also damage the ink.
- Always use the high-quality sublimation ink for the best results.
- Try to use the same brand’s ink and printer to achieve the best sublimation results possible.
- Most importantly, follow the InkGuiding.com tips and information, related to sublimation ink and printing to make your sublimation printing journey amazing and eliminate every issue you possibly can face.
Sublimation ink is one of the most important elements in the whole sublimation printing process. Using high-quality and fresh inks can give you much better results and prints that will last longer than any regular print. Also, make sure to use high-quality fabric or any other substrate. It will also help the ink to last longer.