How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last? The True Answer!

Today, we’re most likely to speak about the finest techniques when it concerns pre-printing transfers and also why it’s a definitely remarkable concept! Firstly, allows addressing the burning question. How much time does sublimation ink last?

Truthfully, we believe as long as you publish on high-quality sublimation paper and also shop them intelligently, there is no factor to believe they would not last also much longer.

We’ve listened to individuals getting prints at estate sales that were years old and pressed simply great.

How does sublimation printing work?

Now that you know what sublimation is and what sublimation garments are, it’s time to learn how sublimation actually happens, not just in theory.

To make a sublimation print you will need

  • The design you want to print
  • A sublimation printer
  • Paper for the sublimation process
  • A heat press for calendaring
  • Textiles suitable for sublimation

1. Sublimation printer

A sublimation printer is a special printer that can be configured with paper rolls of up to 45 kg and is suitable for mass production. However, the same can be done with ink-jet printers.

What is the difference?
The difference between an ink-jet printer and a sublimation printer is that the solid sublimation ink is heated and sublimated onto the paper instead of spraying ink droplets onto the paper.

This means that the initial ink sublimation process takes place inside the printer. The best part about sublimation inks is that they are water-based, making them 100% environmentally friendly.

2. Dye-sensitized paper

Special paper is required for the use of special inks. The dye-sensitized paper has a coating that prevents the ink from becoming liquid so that the sublimation process can take place.

Sublimation paper has a coating that prevents the ink from becoming liquid so that the sublimation process can take place.

On normal paper, it is not possible to switch directly between solids and gases. This results in blurred images and altered designs.

3. Calendar Hot Press

To transfer ink from paper to fabric, you need a lot of heat, right?

To do that, you need a machine that rolls up both the paper and the fabric and exposes them to a temperature of 175-230 °C.

A calendar press is a machine that can do that. Roll-to-roll sublimation is also possible. This means that a roll of fabric is produced with a design already on it.

Now all that is left is to cut the fabric and sew it. The picture below shows a typical case of sublimation, where a pre-cut fabric is sublimated.

The calendar used is from Italian manufacturer Monciantonio, considered the best in the industry.

4. Fabrics for sublimation garments

The most suitable fabrics for sublimation are polyester fabrics, both recycled and new. When heat is applied, the pores of the fibers open, and the ink is completely absorbed.

Once the ink is removed from the heat press, it is integrated into the fibers and cannot be washed out.

This is not the case with natural fibers such as cotton or synthetic fibers such as polyamide. Natural fibers, such as cotton, and synthetic fibers, such as polyamide, do not hold ink very well and fade over time.

Don’t Miss these Golden Rules:

  • Maintain the Temperature Normal-– Keep these in a regular space. Attic rooms, cellars, garages, and so on, can be also warm, as well moist, or as well chilly.
  • Maintain it Covered— Lint is the adversary of sublimation and also we do not desire dust and also dirt dropping onto our prints. As for our tube mailers, we maintain the end caps safely secured.
  • Make it Dark— Our 13 × 19 prints remain inside mailing tubes as well as we have an accordion data box for smaller-sized prints. We maintain these 2 print owners inside of a storage room.
  • Quality Paper— We mainly make use of A-Sub, yet as long as it’s a sublimation paper you ought to be excellent. Basically: Do NOT anticipate prints to last if you publish them onto normal duplicate paper.
  • Maintain it Dry— We maintain whatever is off the flooring as well as far from mishaps.

What is a sublimation garment?

A sublimation garment is a garment made of a fabric that can fully absorb a special paper design when the fabric and paper are passed through a heat press at 175-230°C.

The word sublimation is so named because it describes a direct change of state from a solid to a gaseous state without passing through a liquid.

In the case of sublimation garments, it is the sublimation ink that changes state. On the paper it is solid, when it passes from the paper to the fabric it becomes a gas, and when it passes through the fibers of the fabric it becomes solid.

So how and where does the change occur?

How long does sublimation ink last on fabrics?

Sublimation makes the colors last longer. That’s good news!

If you are just starting out and only use your printer once or twice a week, it is better to save your money and hire someone to do the transfers for you. Sublimation transfers are difficult to do professionally.

If you leave the printing to someone with more experience, you can focus on selling and marketing your products.

It is not possible to print t-shirts in dark colors. The ink must be darker than the shirt.

How long does sublimation ink last on mugs?

One of the largest benefits of sublimation printing on ceramic cups is the resilience of the print. With sublimation printing, you can sublimate ceramic mugs & create amazing high-quality mugs that last a lifetime!

The disadvantages of sublimation printing

Of course, not all is well in the world of sublimation printing, there are limitations.

  • It is only compatible with polyester materials
  • For large orders, it is not as cost-effective as other printing methods.
  • If the base material is not bright, the bright colors will be destroyed.
  • Fade faster under direct sunlight

Polyester party

We’ve already explained why only polyester benefits from this printing process, but let’s briefly review. Polyester is actually a man-made fabric.

Greatness has its price

Sublimation printing is the most expensive printing process. So if the benefits of this process don’t work for your branding goals, you may want to turn to digital or screen printing for large orders.

Light-colored fabrics are essential

Since the ink is transferred, the fabric needs to be light in color for the ink to transfer. If you try to write with a pink felt-tip pen on black paper, you won’t be able to see the text clearly.

Ultraviolet light is the key to sublimation

Sublimation technology is capable of many things, but it cannot withstand direct sunlight. Instead, it takes a long time for the print to become visibly clearer, even after continuous exposure to UV light. This is more of a theoretical problem than a practical one.

Frequently asked questions(FAQS):

Q. Does sublimation ink fade?

A. if the sublimation print comes in direct exposure to sunlight due to ultraviolet radiations it may fade faster.

Q. How long can sublimation ink be stored?

A. Sublimation inks in printers are able to last for a certain period of time. the most effective guideline is to make sure you use these cartridges within 6 months after installing them. many users can print beyond a use-by date without any issues.

Q. How many times you can use a sublimation print?

A. It’s true Sublimation ink that is expensive has an expiration date printed on the cartridge. it’s the case that as time passes the ink’s quality will decrease, the dye that is sublimated will separate out.


Sublimation is now the most popular solution for a variety of print shop operators due to many reasons. Sublimation inks are durable and have a duration. If you leave these in the print too long could cause issues like shade movement as well as head obstructions. There is as well as banding. But, if you adhere to the instructions in the article above, then you will be in good shape.

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