How To Remove Sublimation Ink From Mugs (Expert Tips 2023)

How to remove sublimation ink from mugs? The term “sublimation” comes from the Latin verb sublimare, meaning “to elevate” or “to raise to a higher rank.” And that’s exactly what sublimation does to the products. The sublimation process is based on going from a solid to a gas state without ever becoming a liquid. This is done at a constant temperature.

Sublimation ink is the art of taking a design, image, or text and imprinting it onto a surface. The surface is then heated up, causing the ink to “melt” onto the surface and form an image. This is a process that can be used on many different surfaces, including t-shirts, glass, and even paper.

While this is a great way to have custom-printed items, it can get costly because it requires a heat press machine that can reach temperatures of 300 degrees Fahrenheit and more. But did you know there is a way to remove sublimation ink from mugs?

Have you ever tried to remove sublimation ink from mugs? If so, you know how hard it is. This ink is sticky and has a strong adhesive quality. It doesn’t just easily come off. There’s no one-size-fits-all method for removing sublimation ink from mugs. That’s why you must learn more about the ink itself and how to remove sublimation ink from mugs.

How to Remove Sublimation Ink From Mugs?

sublimation Printed Mugs

Before jumping to how to remove sublimation ink from mugs, let’s know the causes of stains on mugs.

Causes the Stains on mugs

Several things can cause stains on mugs. Some possible reasons for stains are

Use of low-quality ink:

low-quality ink can also cause stains on mugs because if the ink quality is not good enough for sublimation printing, it starts to fade, and ink may be transferred to other surfaces.

No use of enough heat:

Another reason for stains is that the mug doesn’t get enough heat. When there is not enough heat, the ink will not be permanently bonded and may fade with time.

Use of too much heat:

If you use too much heat, the mug gets too hot, the heating process might reverse, and paint may come off the mug,

Use of wrong cleaners:

Using the wrong cleaner is also why ink may fade quickly and leave stains. For example use of alcohol or ink may cause discoloration and damage to the mug.

Remove Sublimation Ink from Mugs

Removing Sublimation Ink from Mugs

After knowing the causes of stains on mugs, let’s move to the ways of removing those stains. Different methods are used to remove stains which are as follows.

Dishwasher Method

The dishwasher method is the most popular method to remove stains. This method can be used on a variety of surfaces. It’s simple and easy to follow.

Below is the process of removing stains from a mug, but you will need a few things before starting the process.

  • An old toothbrush
  • Detergent
  • Mug

After gathering the above-mentioned items, let’s start the process

  • Run the dishwasher at a high temperature and add regular detergent to it. Run it for a few cycles to ensure the logo is thoroughly washed out.
  • After removing the mug from the dishwasher, scrub it with a toothbrush to remove any ink stains.
  • After scrubbing it with a toothbrush, rinse it with hot water and let it dry in the air.

The Oven Method

This method is a bit more complicated than the previous method, but it’s not that difficult to follow.

  • Clean the coffee mug thoroughly with soap and water before using the oven. Make sure that the ink on the mug is completely clean.
  • Now, set the oven on high settings without burning anything.
  • Next, place the ceramic mug upside down on the lower rack in a convection oven. Leave it for about an hour,
  • After an hour, remove the mug from the oven and let it cool.
  • The last step is to clean the mug thoroughly with lemon juice and water to clear any residuals.
  • Let it dry before reusing.

Removing A Sublimation Coating From A Mug

Removing sublimation coating from a mug is complicated as compared to removing ink.

Before starting the process, you will need a few supplies that are

  • Ammonia
  • Vinegar
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Cold water
  • Toothbrush

Now, let’s start the process

  • Mix one part of ammonia with two parts of water in a bowl.
  • Soak the toothbrush in the mixture and scrub the coating off the mug.
  • After scrubbing, rinse the mug with vinegar and then hydrogen peroxide. Finally, rinse with water,
  • Let it dry before using. 

Those are the few steps to remove sublimation inks and coating from coffee mugs. If you have mugs with stains, use the above steps and clean them.

Note: use polymer coatings on mugs to protect the sublimation coating and ink.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Sublimate a Mug Twice?

Yes, you can sublimate the mug multiple times, but the print quality will not be good each time. Also, the print will fade with time if it’s not protected with polymer coating.

Does Sublimation Paper Expire?

Sublimation paper doesn’t expire, but it can fade away if it’s kept in sunlight for too long; therefore, keep the sublimation paper in a cool and dark place to protect it.

Why are Sublimations Coming Out Dull?

The reason for sublimation coming out dull is the low temperature. Printing on coffee mugs requires a high temperature to permanently bond the print, and if the temperature is low, the ink will not adhere correctly and become dull with time. That’s why to use high heat on mugs to print appropriately.


Sublimation is a fun process, but it can go wrong if the procedure is not followed correctly. It is suggested to try a small area before printing on mugs or any new surface and proceed further after ensuring that the ink completely adheres to the surface.

Removing sublimation ink from mugs can be tricky, but the desired results can be achieved after properly following the above-mentioned methods

The dishwasher method is the most popular and easy method, but if the mug is polymer-coated, then the oven method will work best.

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