How to Keep Sublimation from Fading

How to Keep Sublimation from Fading

Sublimation has become a popular form of printing technique especially when it comes to T-shirt printing. Many opt for the technique because it is simple, straightforward, and long-lasting. One of the major reasons why individuals and businesses alike opt for the sublimation printing technique is that sublimation dyes can last for years.

Yes, years! But like all other inks, they have certain limits. When exposed to certain environments, chemicals, and conditions, they might begin to fade over time. Its bright and vivid colors begin to appear dull and blurry. So, the question is why and how one can prevent that from happening?

As a business, you don’t want to hear complaints from your customers. And as an individual, you would definitely wish for your customized prints to stay for as long as possible. So, whether you are a sublimation business owner or a hobbyist, this article will help you understand why sublimation fades and how you can prevent it from happening. So, continue reading to find out more.

4 Reasons for Sublimation Fading

Before we go ahead and learn about ways to stop sublimation dyes from fading, we must understand why the prints fade in the first place. Only then can you take preventive measures to prevent prints from fading. Here are the major reasons which lead to sublimation fading;

1. Washing

One of the major reasons why sublimation prints fade is washing. Unlike other printing methods, during sublimation, the dyes convert into vapors and become a part of the fabric during imprinting. Hence, when washed from time to time, the threads of the fabric begin to loosen up and sublimation dyes begin to mix with the water, which results in fading of the dyes.

So, if you are wondering, how to keep sublimation from fading after washing, then the best solution is to lower the frequency of washing. Also, opt for cold water instead of hot water as it prevents the inks from vaporing and mixing with water.

Read More: Sublimation heat press settings for cotton

2. Sun Ultraviolet Discoloration

Many hobbyists question why does my sublimation looks faded after staying in the sun for long. You need to understand that the sublimation process is based on the conversion of dyes into a vapor state. So, when exposed to UV rays directly, due to the intense heat, the dyes begin to convert to a vapor state again which allows them to re-connect with the threads of the fabric and disperse in the air.

This does not mean that you can’t your sublimation printed shirts during the day. You definitely can, but make sure to prevent direct contact with the sunlight for a prolonged period. Also, avoid drying the printed clothes in the sun to avoid the print from fading.

Read More: Best Sublimation Printers for Heat Transfer

3. Avoid using Polymer Coating

In the case of materials other than fabric, the polymer coating can be the major reason behind faded prints. Users of sublimation, especially beginners, do not realize that most hard surfaces such as wood, ceramics, and others already come with a layer of the polymer coating.

So, when sublimated using another layer of polymer coating, the ink begins to fade much faster due to excessive layering. Also, it often takes longer to sublimate with additional polymer coatings. Thus, before applying a layer for sublimation, make sure to check whether the material already comes with a polymer coating or not.

Read More: 7 Best Beginner Sublimation Printers

4. Low Quality Material

Sometimes, the issue isn’t the environmental conditions, it is the process itself. To keep the cost at the lowest, many beginners will opt for low-quality prints and sublimation paper. Since the dyes aren’t designed to last longer or the paper doesn’t transfer the print right, hence it begins to fade faster than usual. To prevent it from happening, the solution is simple – better printing materials!

How to Keep Sublimation Ink from Fading (Step by Step)

How to Keep Sublimation Ink from Fading

Now that you know the reasons, let us look at the step-by-step guide using with you can prevent sublimation from fading after washing. So, if you are worried, about why my sublimation print faded after the washing, then here is the solution to your problem;

  1. Firstly, ask yourself, is it really necessary to wash the t-shirt?
  2. If yes, then the next step is to turn it inside out.
  3. Once that is done, rinse it for 10-15 minutes only using cold water.
  4. Instead of drying it in the washing machine, place it under a shade and let it air dry.

Note: Never dry your printed fabrics under the sun and never use hot water for washing. The lower the frequency of your washing, the longer the print will last. 

Related: 10 Best Printers for Stickers


How do I stop my sublimation from fading?

Many beginners question, how to keep sublimation ink from fading? So, don’t worry, you aren’t the only one. You can prevent it from happening by understanding the cause behind it and then taking appropriate steps to prevent it. Here are a few ways in which you can stop your sublimation from fading;

Why is my sublimation fading?

Fading of sublimation prints can be caused due to various reasons. So, if you are questioning, why does my sublimation looks faded, then you need to check for the following reasons;

  • Direct contact with UV Rays
  • Frequent Washing
  • Low-Quality Paper or Inks

And you shall have your answer. Once you know the cause, you can always prevent it by taking the appropriate steps and following the guidelines.

Read more: Can You Use Any Printer for Sublimation

Why are my sublimation prints blurry?

Over time, sublimation prints do become blurry. But usually, the process takes years. However, if you expose the print to unfavorable conditions, it might begin to get blurry within days or weeks. Extensive washing and exposure to the sun can be the reasons, but the major reason for blurriness is the use of low-quality inks or sublimation paper.

Due to the low quality of the dyes, they begin to vaporize quicker by detaching themselves from the threads of the fabric. On the hand other, when not transferred properly, the print will definitely be blurry. So, make sure to get both things right to avoid blurriness of prints.


A faded sublimation print is not a splendid sight. The colors that were once bright and vivid are no longer there. Instead, you are left with faded print with missing areas here and there. As the article explains, it can happen due to various factors. But like other outcomes, it can also be prevented by taking preventive measures.

So, understand the cause behind your faded print and then follow the proper set of instructions to avoid it from happening in the future. Remember, sublimation prints are to look their best for years and years. Hence, follow the guidelines and you should be set for life.

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