How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last: The Ultimate Guide 2023

Last Updated on January 26, 2024 by Fredrick Miller

Sublimation ink is a great alternative to traditional dye. It will give your imprint wonderful color saturation and vibrancy on a variety of clothing materials. It can last up to 50 washes! Sublimation is a great way to share your creativity with others if you are an artist.

Using this ink properly will extend its lifespan. The most important thing to remember is that you need to keep it out of direct sunlight. The best place to store the ink is in the original packaging, but you can also keep the ink in a cool, dry place like a cupboard or closet.

In this article, we will discuss how long does sublimation ink last, what is sublimation ink, the types of sublimation ink, and much more.

What is Sublimation Ink?

Sublimation Ink

Sublimation ink is a type of ink that is used to print on transfer paper. With the help of heat, the ink is transferred from the transfer paper to the t-shirt. The image quality of this ink is usually very high.

It goes through a special process called sublimation, where it turns into a gas and then condenses back into its original form.

Sublimation ink is also known as dye sublimation or thermal transfer ink. The main difference between dye sublimation and other types of thermal transfer printing processes is that dye sublimation uses dyes instead of pigments to create images.

Pigment-based inks are not suitable for use with dye sublimation because they will not adhere to the surface of certain substrates, such as polyester fabrics.

Check our Latest Blog Post as We have Reviewed Top 9 Best Sublimation Inks For you with Detailed Guide.

Types of Sublimation Ink

There are several different types of sublimation ink available on the market today:

Direct to Garment (DTG) Sublimation Inks:

DTG sublimation inks are specially formulated inks designed for direct-to-garment printing. They contain a combination of dyes and pigments that allow them to bond with polyester fabrics such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, and polos.

Thermochromic Inks:

Thermochromic inks change color when heated by sunlight or other sources of heat, such as human body temperature or hot water. You can use these inks for creating custom designs on t-shirts and hoodies that change color based on your mood or environment.

Mixed Media Sublimation Inks:

These can be used for printing on a variety of substrates, including leather, wood, glass, metal, and plastic. The ink is applied using an inkjet printer and then cured under.

How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last?

It is a permanent ink that is known to last on most materials. The only thing that can damage the ink is exposure to sunlight, which will fade it over time. Other than that, it should last for many years without fading or deteriorating.

How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last on Shirts?

If you’re printing on 100% cotton T-shirts, expect your prints to last 2-5 years. It depends on the quality of the ink and printer, as well as the technique used. If you’re printing on 100% polyester T-shirts, expect your prints to last 3-6 months.

Sublimation ink will last on the shirt as long as it is not exposed to sunlight. If you place your sublimation printed shirt in direct sunlight, it will fade. However, leaving your shirts in a dark area with low light exposure should not fade or come off over time.

How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last on Paper?

Sublimation Paper

You’ll be able to determine how long does your sublimation ink lasts on paper depending on the type of paper you’re printing on. As well as the type of paper and ink used will also affect the durability.

If you are using high-quality paper such as glossy photo paper or glossy canvas paper with a good-quality printer, you can expect up to 3 years of shelf life from your ink.

However, if you use low-quality paper with an old printer, then there is no doubt that your prints will fade away in a few months because they won’t have any protection from UV rays. We have reviewed Top 5 Best Sublimation Paper Check this as well.

How Long Does 100ml of Sublimation Ink Last?

The amount of time it takes for your ink to run out depends on how often you use your printer and the type of paper you print on. On average, 100ml of sublimation ink can last between 1 to 3 years when used daily. Ink will need to be used more frequently for printing complex images with sublimation.

For example, if you’re printing out 8×10 photos every day instead of just basic text documents, then there’s a good chance that your 100ml bottle won’t last as long because more colors are involved in each photo than there are in basic text documents.

How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last in Printer?

Sublimation Printer

The amount of time that the sublimation ink will last in your printer depends on how often you use it. The more often you print, the faster your ink will run out. If you only print once or twice a month, then 100ml can last for several years before it needs to be replaced.

However, if you print several times a week or daily, it will probably only last for a few months. This is because it is more expensive than regular ink, so manufacturers use it sparingly.

Advantages of Sublimation Printing

Sublimation printing has many advantages compared to screen printing, lithography, and other printing methods. There are several advantages to this method, including the following:

  • It does not require plates or screens for making prints, which means that there is no need for printing plates or screens. All you need to do is put your design on a computer screen and send it to the printer to convert it into vector graphics.
  • You can use any type of paper for sublimation printing because there are no limitations in terms of color or texture as compared to other printing methods like lithography or screen printing, where you cannot use certain types of paper because they might not be suitable for these methods of printing.
  • A wide range of colors can be used in sublimation printing because the process allows mixing different colors without any problem whatsoever. This means that you don’t have to worry about getting only one particular shade of color for your sublimation printing.

Disadvantages of Sublimation Printing

It is important to be aware of the following disadvantages of sublimation printing before deciding whether it is the right type of printing technique for you:

Sublimation Ink Fades Over Time:

While this ink lasts longer than traditional screen printing options, it still fades over time. This means that if you put your shirt through the wash often, the design may start to fade after a few weeks or months of use.

Sublimation Ink Can Be Expensive:

The special inks and machines needed for sublimation printing are expensive compared to other types of equipment and materials. Choosing this option may not be the best if you are just starting out and only have the budget for a small setup.

Sublimation Ink Can Be Difficult to Use:

This ink is not as easy to work with as other types of printing inks because it takes a long time to dry and requires special equipment. This means that this isn’t the best option if you want your design done quickly or don’t have access to the right tools.

FAQs Section:

How long can sublimation prints last?

There are many factors that affect the longevity of a print, but generally speaking, it is expected to last for up to 3 years.
Sublimation ink lasts for quite a long time when stored properly. If you want to store this ink, you should place it in an airtight container in a cool, dry environment.

How many times can I use a sublimation print?

Sublimation prints last for many uses depending on how well they are cared for and how often they are used.
It also depends on the item being printed. For example, t-shirts are usually printed once and then discarded, whereas bags or mugs can be used multiple times.

Does sublimation ink expire?

Yes, sublimation ink expires after a certain amount of time. The best way to tell if your ink has expired is by looking at the expiration date on the bottle.

How do I clean my printed T-shirts?

Wash them like any other garment. We recommend using cold water for washing and drying, mild detergent (no bleach or fabric softener), and Tumble dry on low heat or line dry.

Final Words

In general, most sublimation ink will last three to four years, with one to two years more likely. You’ll likely experience fading, discoloration, and streaking any longer than that. The great thing about general sublimation is that it’s a relatively permanent process.

Just remember to handle your garments carefully once they’ve been printed, and make sure you don’t machine wash them until you’re sure they won’t fade or run.

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