Will Sublimation Wash Out Of Cotton? Sublimation of Cotton Fabric

Sublimation is a printing method in which the ink is converted to heat and applied on the desired surfaces to leave a print permanently. The sublimation ink for cotton fabric changes to gas and becomes part of the fabric, thus complementing the term sublimation.

Sublimation printing is quite a reliable and economical process. The sublimation ink first absorbs the cotton fabric treated with a polyester coating. This is because the resin coating provides an absorbent base on which the sublimation ink for cotton fabric adheres firmly.

The sublimation ink can be printed on cotton fabric through different methods like heat printing directly on the fabric or using a printer to follow the design engraved on the fabric.

The choice of sublimation ink for cotton fabric depends on your preference. Some customers demand expensive and high-quality sublimation inks, while others might need budget-friendly inks that suit their pockets.

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Names of Best Sublimation Inks

You can find a variety of sublimation inks for cotton on many websites that have bright and long-lasting colors and are budget-friendly. Some of these sublimation inks come under the names such as

  • Topcolor Sublimation Ink
  • Cosmos Ink
  • Forever Subli Light,
  • Tbteek Sublimation Inks
  • INKXPRO Sublimation Inks.

Can You Use Sublimation Ink On Cotton?

Using sublimation inks for printing intricate patterns on desired surfaces is a widely used process. Sublimation inks can be transferred to all kinds of fabrics and surfaces if they are coated with a polyester resin before. If you are wondering, can you use Sublimation Ink on Cotton? Then we can help you for sure.

The sublimation of cotton fabric is the same as any other fabric. Cotton is a great fabric for sublimation, provided a polyester coating is applied to the fabric to permanently adhere the paint for a smooth and lasting paint texture.

Not only this, but with the advancing techniques, new sublimation inks are being introduced that do not need a polyester base to transfer sublimation ink for cotton.

Does sublimation wash out of cotton
Will Sublimation Wash Out Of Cotton? Sublimation Of Cotton Fabric

Sublimation Ink On Cotton vs. Polyester

Sublimation printing can be done on various surfaces. The color and quality of the sublimation ink will differ greatly according to the material of the subject being sublimated. Here I have compared sublimation ink on cotton vs. polyester to elaborate on how sublimation dyes stick differently to these fabrics.

Polyester is a great fabric for sublimation as the dyes do not fade easily even after washing them several times. Conversely, sublimation ink on cotton fades away after several washes. This is because the untreated cotton fabric does not permanently hold the sublimation ink particles, and the prints wash away, leaving an unattractive smudge behind.

The difference in color brilliance and durability of sublimation ink on Cotton vs. Polyester is also a debate. The hybrid fabric of 50% cotton and 50% polyester also allows sublimation, but half of the dye will wash away after thoroughly washing the fabric. So, if we compare cotton vs. polyester for sublimation, the gold fabric is Polyester and polyester-treated cotton.

Will Sublimation Wash Out Of Cotton?

Another important aspect to remember while using sublimation ink for cotton fabric is whether the sublimation washes out of the cotton. There are many opinions about the sublimation inks on cotton fabrics. As we proceed in the article, I will brief these views shortly.

It has been seen that the best fabric for sublimation is Polyester. Polyester sticks well to these dyes allowing original color excellence and endurance. These dyes on the polyester do not come off easily and make the polyester the best option for sublimation printing on fabrics.

Preserving the color brightness while washing the fabric is the main concern while using sublimation ink on cotton fabric. The sublimation washes out of the cotton if you transfer the dye on 100% cotton fabric. However, the blended fabric can give different results.

As you increase the polyester percentage in the fabric, the durability of the sublimation ink increases accordingly.

Best sublimation ink For Cotton

The quality and color excellence of the sublimation ink on cotton fabric depends on the material of the fabric and the quality of the dye. The choice of the wrong sublimation ink can smudge due to heat and destroy the fabric. Before selecting the best sublimation ink for cotton, you must also consider the fabric you use.

Here I have enlisted the best sublimation inks for cotton fabric so that your intricate sublimation prints are transferred without smudging in the heated printer and compromising the fabric quality. These are:

  • Siser Easy Subli
  • Forever Subli Light
  • AOPANE Anti UV Sublimation Ink
  • Seogol Sublimation Ink
  • HEMEINY Sublimation Ink

Sublimation Ring Spun Cotton

Sublimation on cotton fabric is quite a task, and the fabric must be treated first for a natural finish. Ring-spun cotton is an excellent fabric for sublimation dyeing. As the name indicates, it is called ring spun because the fabric is twisted tightly and bent many folds before applying the sublimation ink for cotton.

Ring spun dying is a unique method that gives premium quality smooth and abstract patterns on the cotton fabric.


As we sum up the facts, here are the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to sublimation ink for cotton.

Cotton shirts are premium, especially during summers, for their comfort and easy fit. The sublimation cotton shirts make them even more suitable and appealing to be worn on bright summery days. Here I have explained the method of how to sublimate on cotton shirts.

Cotton shirts in original form cannot hold the sublimation ink well, and the prints fade away eventually after several washes. Therefore, the cotton shirts must be treated with polyester first. The polyester coating holds the dyes well and does not come off easily.

Using heating printers that convert the liquid inks into gas, you can sublimate on cotton shirts and permanently transfer these colors to the cotton fabric.

The other way is using sublimation sprays directly by drawing a rough blueprint on the fabric and spraying it on the pattern.

From the above discussion, you can speculate that sublimation can be done on all surfaces and fabrics coated with resins. But to specifically answer your question, the answer is yes.

We could sublimate on cotton if blended with polyester for increased durability of the dye or treated priorly with a resin coating for a smooth and textured finish.

Sublimation overall is not a harmful or dangerous process. Still, if you use cheap and low-quality sublimation inks, the heat printing fumes can harm the factory workers.

Moreover, the sublimation inks are made up of vinyl polymers, so when you iron the sublimation ink on cotton shirts, the chemicals you inhale can be dangerous. If you do not take preventive measures, sublimation can be toxic.

Wrapping UP

I would summarise the discussion by saying that sublimation is a worldwide trend and can be done perfectly on all polyester-coated materials because sublimation inks can adhere well to polyester.

We can use sublimation ink on cotton fabric and transfer intricate patterns on cotton shirts. The sublimation ink will wash out of cotton if the fabric is not treated first with resin.

The quality of the sublimation ink for cotton must be good so that sublimation ink does not smudge and destroy the fabric.

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