How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last on Shirts?

Sublimation ink is a great way to create vibrant and long-lasting designs on fabric, but how long will the ink last on a shirt? This is an important question to consider when deciding if sublimation is the right printing method for your project. Sublimation ink is a special type of ink that is printed onto a transfer paper using a heat press.

The ink is then transferred onto the fabric and permanently embedded into the fibers. This makes the design much more durable than a regular ink transfer, and with the proper care, it can last for years. In this article, we will discuss how long sublimation ink lasts on shirts, the types of fabric that are best suited for this type of printing, and how to properly care for your shirt so it lasts as long as possible.

What is Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation printing is a process used to print full-color graphics onto a variety of materials. It uses heat to transfer dye directly onto the material, which allows the design to be printed with vibrant color and clarity. Sublimation printing is often used on fabrics, such as T-shirts, and on hard surfaces, such as mugs, mousepads, and other promotional items.

Reasons of Fade Away of Sublimation Ink From the Shirts

Poor Quality Sublimation Inks

Poor quality sublimation inks are the most common reason for fading of sublimation ink from the shirts. Poor quality inks are not formulated to last long and they can easily fade away after a few washes.

Improper Washing

Improper washing is another major reason for the fading of sublimation ink from the shirts. If the shirts are washed in hot water or with harsh detergents, the ink can easily fade away. Therefore, it is important to follow the washing instructions properly and use cold water and mild detergents to wash the shirts.

Low-Quality Fabrics

Low-quality fabrics can also cause fading of sublimation ink from the shirts. Low-quality fabrics are not designed to withstand the high temperatures used in the sublimation process and can easily fade away.

Insufficient Dye Migration

Dye migration is a process in which the sublimation ink is absorbed into the fabric of the shirt. If the dye migration process is not done properly, the sublimation ink will not be absorbed into the fabric and will easily fade away.

Exactly How Much Time Sublimation Ink Last on Shirts

Sublimation ink typically lasts for the life of the shirt. The ink is actually infused into the fabric, so it does not fade or wash away.


Sublimation ink on shirts, when properly cared for, will last a long time. With proper washing instructions and no exposure to direct sunlight, your shirt will retain its vibrancy and colour for years. The best way to keep the ink looking great for the long term is to follow the instructions found on the garment tag and avoid unnecessary exposure to heat and water. With a little extra care and attention, your sublimation ink shirts can look great for a long time.


How long does sublimation ink last on shirts?

Sublimation ink typically lasts around 50-75 wash cycles. The life of the ink will vary depending on the quality of the ink, the type of shirt, and the care instructions followed.

What type of shirts work best with sublimation ink?

Polyester or polyester blend shirts are ideal for sublimation printing. Cotton shirts are not suitable for sublimation printing.

How can I extend the life of sublimation ink on shirts?

To extend the life of sublimation ink, it is important to follow the care instructions for the shirt (such as washing on a gentle cycle with cold water). Additionally, be sure to use high quality sublimation ink and printing materials.

Do sublimation shirts fade?

Even the highest quality screen printed or sublimation T-shirts will ultimately fade, just like regular apparel. But compared to HTV decorations, sublimation graphics will persist a lot longer because the dye soaks into the fibres.

Will sublimation stay on 100% cotton?

Their Inkjet Printable HTV accommodates normal dye and pigment ink (from regular size inkjet printers) as well as sublimation ink. Using your existing equipment, you may sublimate on 100% cotton and dark-colored clothes with this HTV.