How To Remove Sublimation Ink From Mug/Shirt/Tumbler

Sublimation printing is getting more popular day by day because of its efficient results and durability. You can use this technology on anything from fabric to mugs or tumblers. It has the potential to beautify things and ensure deep and attractive colors. However, sometimes a glitch or movement ruins the product. This makes you question how to remove sublimation ink from the substrate. No worries, as in this article, I will share with you the best working solutions. If you want to learn, keep reading.

Table of Contents

What Is Sublimation And Sublimation Printing?

Sublimation is a chemical process to convert a solid into a gas, but the interesting thing is that the solid directly converts into a gas without getting liquid form. In contrast, sublimation printing is about transforming the solid into a gas by using heat and using that gas to create prints over shirts and mugs. This is a popular process because of its long-lasting nature.

How Does Sublimation Printing Work?

This is also a chemical process. While doing this, you have to heat the ink to convert it into gas and molecules. These molecules are then used to paint polymers like mugs or shirts. To perform this process, you have to heat the ink at 400F. After that, the cooling process at room temperature makes the print durable. Sometimes you accidentally ruin a shirt, mug, or tumbler; you can correct your mistake by reversing this process. If you don’t know how? Keep reading.

What Is Sublimation Ink Used For?

Sublimation ink comes in a solid form to do sublimation printing. You cannot use any other ink for this process, as sublimation printing requires a specific type of ink. This ink has a unique formula and elements essential to carry out the chemical process. Due to its nature, it gives more sharp and vibrant colors. you can read more about Best Sublimation Ink

How To Remove Sublimation Ink?

It seems pretty tough when you don’t know how to remove sublimation ink. But this is not true, you will get the desired results by using the correct technique and appropriate type of solvents or sublimation ink remover. However, when you do this without learning it properly, you may ruin your shirt or mug. To keep you on the safer side, here I have a step-by-step guide for you. Follow these steps precisely to get excellent results.

How to remove sublimation ink from mug/shirt/tumbler
How To Remove Sublimation Ink From Mug/Shirt/Tumbler

Removal Of Sublimation Ink From Mugs

The use of sublimation printing over mugs makes them appealing, but a minor mistake can ruin the whole look. At this time, you really want to know how to remove sublimation ink from mugs.

If you keep using the cup, you will see that it will fade with time. However, you cannot get a clean mug even after a wait of months. For this purpose, you have to follow some tips.

Vinegar can be your good-to-go option. This amazing solvent has the potential to clean the floor, shelves, dishes, etc., then why not the sublimation ink? To remove, follow these steps:

  • Pick any available vinegar, i.e., white, apple cider, or cleaning vinegar.
  • Apply it directly on the sublimated part and then dip it into vinegar.
  • Leave it for 2-3 hours.
  • Lastly, clean it properly by using a washing sponge.

This is the most convenient and affordable option to save your mug. Also, this cleaner will not harm your hands as well as mugs because of its safe nature. Try this to make your mug clean like new to get a perfect sublimation print.

Removing Sublimation Ink from Shirts

Are you worried because you accidentally ruined your favorite shirt with sublimation ink and want to know how to remove sublimation ink from shirt? No worries, as I have the best working solutions to remove sublimation ink from the shirt. When you get a stain on your shirt, a quick step can save it. For this, choose any of these ways to get your shirt clean.

Using A Chemical Solvent

Chemical solvents like alcohol or acetone have the power to save your shirt. You can also use them to remove dirt and grease stains. You can use them without worries as these are gentle on hands but hard on ink stains. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Take alcohol and pour it directly on the color.
  • It will start a chemical process with ink and reduce its concentration.
  • After that, use cotton and rub it with gentle hands.
  • Keep repeating the process till you get it clean completely.

Using Washing Detergents

Detergents have specific combinations of ingredients that are meant to clean clothes. Therefore, if you immediately use a detergent, it can save your shirt. Also, many detergents have a formula that can reduce the surface tension of water, which helps remove stains effectively. To do this, follow these steps:

  • Add cool water to a bucket with available detergent.
  • Wash your shirt by rubbing the paint with gentle hands
  • Soak the shirt for a few minutes if it has been a while.
  • Wash with clean water and squeeze out water without using a heat dryer.
  • Lastly, spread it out for air drying and iron it with some moisture.

When you add detergent, avoid using bleach or softener as it will reduce the cleaning process as well as make the fabric yellow. Also, don’t add too much detergent because it is just product waste and leaves residue on the fabric.

Removing Sublimation Ink from Tumbler

Do you want to undo your sublimation printing mistake on your favorite Tumbler? How to remove sublimation ink from tumbler? This is so easy when you follow the proper technique. A heat gun can be a suitable solution to your problem. This is like the reverse version of sublimation printing using similar tools. To use this option. Follow these guidelines:

  • Take a heat gun and heat the sublimed part.
  • It requires 400F to reverse the process.
  • For a fair amount of time, this heat level can fade the sublimation print.

Is Sublimation Ink Works Permanent Or Temporary?

The sublimation process can be permanent or temporary, depending on the time, as the sublimation print gets strong with time. Sublimation printing is a bond between the surface, like a cup or fabric, and the sublimation ink. After appropriate heat application, the bond becomes strong, and the right cooling time almost makes it permanent. If you made a mistake while handling it, the instant solution could save your mug, shirt, or anything you work with.


The sublimation print is a durable product, but it mainly depends on the substrate of its ink. For example, when you deal with polyester, you will get the strongest bond and a durable print. In contrast, cotton products like shirts are not a suitable substrate, and ink will fade with time. So, the durability of sublimation ink varies based on the substrate.


Yes, it is possible to reverse this process. Generally, people use this as an option to undo their mistakes. However, this is not a suitable option for all surfaces. If you mess up your tumbler, you can heat the sublimation print and remove it, called reverse sublimation.

Using soap and hot water, you can clean the sublimation ink from the heat press. If you clean the stain immediately, these two things are enough to clean. However, when you deal with old stains, this method will not give you desired results and require special treatment.

Yes, you can use the stain completely by using bleach. Soak the shirt in a mixture of cold water and bleach. Please keep it in water for half an hour and rub the ink for a while. However, this is not a recommended solution for light colors because using this product can leave you with yellow fabric.

There are multiple solutions to correct the sublimation mistakes. You can use chemical solvents, detergents, or reverse sublimation to clean the destroyed surface. However, not every solution is suitable for all surfaces. Pick the right solution according to the surface you are dealing with.

If you undo the sublimation mistakes by using bleach that leaves a yellow stain or hue on the fabric, you cannot leave it like this. For this, dip the whole fabric or the stained part in peroxide. Use a sublimation heat press and let it heat. The heat evaporates the peroxide and also the yellow stain. 

The Bottom Line

Now you know how to remove sublimation ink according to the surface you are dealing with. You can use solvents, vinegar, a heat gun, or detergent to clean the ink. Shirts, mugs, and tumblers are expensive surfaces for sublimation printing. Ruining single or multiple pieces can cost you a lot. Try my above-shared solutions to undo your sublimation mistakes. Moreover, deal with these mistakes immediately to get desired cleaning results because a delay can make the stain permanent.

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