Why is My Sublimation Print Faded After Washing?

When you get your t-shirt back from the printer and there is some color missing, you may not understand why or how it happened. You may have washed the garment according to directions and the fabric may have been colorfast, but then when you wore it and washed it again, you discovered that the color had faded away.

There are many reasons why this might happen, and this guide will help you figure out why your sublimation print faded after washing and what you can do about it in the future.

Why Sublimation Prints Faded After Some Washes?

When you first get your custom printed apparel, you’ll love everything about it. The colors are bright, the printing is solid and there’s no ink flaking off or anything like that. But after a few washes (or even one wash!) many prints begin to fade significantly leaving behind an unsightly print that no longer represents your brand well.

In short, faded sublimation prints look bad and nobody wants to wear them. So what causes sublimation prints to fade? Why do they do it so quickly and what can be done about it? Read on for answers! This issue comes down to a simple matter of physics: heat + time = fading.

That may sound overly simplistic but in reality, all it takes for a vibrant sublimation print to become pale and washed out is time plus heat from washing machines (both at home and in commercial laundromats). Here’s why… You might think that because our t-shirts have only been washed once since being produced that it would be too soon for them to start fading.

Low-quality sublimation inks

The ink is only part of what makes up a high-quality sublimated shirt. The heat press, screen, and shirt are all equally important. If you’re using subpar materials, you can expect that your print won’t look very good after washing—even if it looks good right out of the dryer.

You might notice light bleeding or a general lack of vibrancy in your prints when they’re exposed to water. A good rule of thumb is to use an ink with a soft hand, such as Direct-to-Garment (DTG) or Reactive dye.

Low-quality Transfer paper

Lower quality transfer paper can sometimes fade, which can be more noticeable in lighter colors. We always recommend using a high-quality product and running a test print before placing an order to ensure that there are no issues with your transfer paper.

If your graphics do not appear to be printed correctly, first inspect your transfer paper; if you’re using premium transfer paper then it’s possible that you have a defective blanket or curing light.

What are your wash instructions?

The key to keeping your sublimated garment looking great after repeated washings (and indeed, any kind of wash) is to follow our wash instructions. It may be tempting to save time and money by washing your garments like other clothing, but that will damage your garment and shorten its lifespan.

Heat set textiles are not like typical clothing items; they should never be placed in a hot dryer or exposed to high heat (such as leaving it out in full sun). There are several reasons why heat set garments should always be washed with like colors and line dried. When you subject a heat set print to higher temperatures, you increase bleeding and make it more difficult for ink particles to fuse permanently into fabric fibers. The result: faded colors over time.


How should I wash your shirts/hoodies/leggings/etc.?

It’s pretty obvious that if you want your clothes to last a long time, you should be gentle with them. A lot of customers choose to air dry their items because it prevents shrinking and fading. Others prefer low-heat in an effort to get some of their clothes done faster (but as mentioned above, don’t use high heat).

Some people find that hanging their garments on hangers or laying them flat does well for them. Whatever you decide, make sure your clothes have plenty of breathing room so they don’t become prematurely worn out before their time.

How Should I Dry Your Shirts/Hoodies/etc.?

There are three main types of fabric: natural fabrics, synthetic fabrics and blended fabrics. Natural fabrics are made of natural materials like cotton and wool, while synthetic fabrics use man-made materials such as nylon or acrylic. Blended fabrics combine natural and synthetic fibers.

If you own shirts or hoodies made from any combination of these three basic types of fabric, you need to follow different drying instructions. Check out our care guides for quick details on how to clean your garments based on their fabric composition!

What’s The Best Way To Care For Sublimation Items?

It’s very important to read and follow care instructions on all sublimated clothing. Every brand will have a different washing process for their clothing. Always wash your garments inside out, turn shirt collars inside out, and try not to ever put them in with any other fabric (i.e.: other clothes) that might damage your design or fade it over time.

If you take good care of your items, they’ll last much longer and continue to look great! You can even send us an email after you receive your item if you want us to walk through some specific tips for keeping your print looking its best.

If You Are Washing Your Garment: Wash garment in cold water with like colors; use mild detergent, avoid chlorine bleach. Tumble dry on low heat setting; remove promptly from dryer.

my Sublimation Print Faded After Washing buy guides

Sublimation printing involves transferring an image onto a shirt by heat. This process has come quite a long way since its initial invention and now produces beautiful, vibrant prints that last.

Still, faded or washed-out sublimation shirts do happen. It’s important to know why these fade so that you can prevent it from happening in your own laundry routine.

How can I avoid fading in the future?

There are three common reasons why your sublimated apparel fades. First, dyes used in sublimation-printed textiles fade when exposed to sunlight over time, so that’s a simple fix: just keep garments out of direct sunlight. Second, how clean you are when you wash makes a huge difference.

Never use bleaches or hot water on your printed apparel; warm water should be fine for most items if you want to clean them. Finally, some fabrics may not play nicely with sublimation printers so it’s worth researching what kind of fabric works best for your printer before making a large investment in prints and printing equipment. Luckily, most brands will show examples of their print quality if you check their product pages on our site!

If a shirt fades, what can I do about it?

If you’re using a sublimation transfer with white ink and your shirt fades (or becomes blurry), there are two things that can be done about it. The first thing is to print another layer of your design onto top of your first layer, which will make it slightly darker.

That said, you have to remember that ink won’t get any darker than its darkest point, so if you choose to do another layer of printing on top of your faded design it may end up just as faded. If you go that route it would be best to experiment and see what works best for each design.

Does The Sublimation Prints Fade After Washing?

Yes, sublimation prints will fade after washing. Here are some tips to avoid it. First and foremost, don’t wash your shirt with clothes that have similar colors as your print (i.e., if you have a red/yellow/orange print and you wash it with a lot of yellow or orange shirts, then your print will fade).

The reason for that is because there are certain detergents that can dissolve out certain colors from different clothes so it’s always good to stick to washing prints by themselves.

Reasons of Sublimation Print Fading:

It’s Natural: Since sublimation is a process to change liquid ink into gas, you may see some fading after washing it. However, it’s no harm to human body. So it doesn’t matter if your clothes have faded due to washing or normal usage.

What You Can Do: You could choose a darker color next time instead of light ones like white, yellow and light green. These colors fade faster than other dark ones in sunlight. Besides, we also suggest you don’t put them under too much sunshine.

The higher temperature will make print fade faster. In addition, don’t use bleach and hot wash water when you want to clean them since they are easy to cause fading on sublimated fabric as well

How to Keep Sublimation from Fading Reasons for Fading


  • Sublimation printing provides a unique printing effect, and its color will not fade in time.
  • Sublimation printing can be used to print photos, text, and logos on various materials such as t-shirts, hats, bags etc., which are used in clothing stores or sport events.
  • The sublimation printed items could be washed repeatedly without affecting their original quality or fading color.
  • The price of sublimated products is relatively low than screen printed ones because it does not require additional costs for screens and plates making it more affordable for customers to buy them at an affordable price with high quality printings on them..
  • It can be easily customized as per your requirement and design in both color and size as you want. 6. There are no restrictions or limitations when you want to use sublimation printing, which means that you could use any color or any material that you like, such as t-shirts, shirts, hats, bags etc., which are used in clothing stores or sport events.
  • You can get a variety of colors by using different dyes while printing your logo or text on clothes made up of different materials such as cotton, polyester etc., which makes your brand more popular among people around you.
  • The sublimated products could be washed repeatedly without affecting their original quality or fading color.
  • The price of sublimated products is relatively low than screen printed ones because it does not require additional costs for screens and plates making it more affordable for customers to buy them at an affordable price with high quality printings on them..
  • It can be easily customized as per your requirement and design in both color and size as you want.
  • 11. There are no restrictions or limitations when you want to use sublimation printing, which means that you could use any color or any material that you like, such as t-shirts, shirts, hats, bags etc., which are used in clothing stores or sport events.


  • The sublimation print fades after washing, which means that you need to be more careful when washing it, or you should not wash it frequently.
sublimated clothing usa

Does sublimation shirts fade after washing?

Yes, after washing your sublimation shirt may look faded. This happens because we print your design on white polyester T-shirt instead of printing it directly onto fabric. The result of that is even with proper washing and drying, you are left with a semi-transparent white design on a light colored shirt, which can often lead to fading.

How much it fades really depends on how long you’ve had your t-shirt and also how hot you dry it; leaving them in dryer for long periods of time will make all T-shirts fade, whether they’re printed or not.

Can sublimation print be washed?

Yes, sublimation print can be washed and will not fade. However, there are conditions to be aware of in order to ensure that your garment stays as vibrant as possible. First, keep in mind that not all garments are created equal, so it’s important to purchase a product labeled safe for wash.

Also remember that color and fabric type must also be taken into consideration when deciding how and how often you should wash your clothes.

For example, darker colors will usually fade faster than lighter ones because dyes are less likely to adhere properly. This means it’s wise to pay attention not only to what you buy but also how you care for it over time.

Why did my sublimation fade after washing?

Yes, you can wash a sublimation printed t-shirt. You must follow care label instructions to ensure that your garment lasts long. Our durable ink will not crack or peel when washed correctly. Wash and dry normally in accordance with care label instructions on garment, do not use fabric softeners and tumble dry low heat.

How do you keep sublimation from fading in the wash?

While sublimation print can be washed, not all clothing has been pre-treated before printing to prevent fading. If your clothing has not been pretreated and you wash it, chances are good that your print will fade. We recommend that you do not machine wash garments with printed sublimation ink because washing will cause color loss of up to 50% and possible fabric damage.

Instead, hand-wash with cool water and a mild detergent or dry clean fabrics containing sublimated ink for best results. When in doubt about care instructions for any particular garment please refer to their care label for further information about whether or not a particular garment can be machine washed or handwashed.


If you’re noticing that your print looks faded or dull, then there are a few things you can do to fix it. Usually the problem comes from not following a few simple steps when washing your clothes for sublimated garments:

Step 1: Start by turning your garment inside out and running it through a warm/cold wash cycle with no detergent or softener added. This will help remove any excess dyes that may have gotten on your shirt during printing.

Step 2:Next, turn your shirt right-side out and run it through another cold rinse cycle to remove any soap residue left behind in step one. Be sure not to use any heat at all in these two cycles as heat can cause fading!

Step 3: Finally, hang dry your shirt. The best way to do so is outside in direct sunlight as UV rays will help set in your design permanently while also preventing further fading! That’s really all there is too it; just follow these three easy steps every time you want to wash an item with a sublimated design and you should never experience any more fading! Thanks again for watching! Have fun designing! Bye now!

Last Updated on October 29, 2022

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Andrew Smith
Andrew Smithhttps://printerchief.com
Andrew Smith is an editor and author for Printerchief, specializing in creating informative content on the topics of office printing and paper processing technology. When he is not working, he enjoys exploring the great outdoors in Michigan and Arizona, along with activities like hiking, cycling, fishing, and reading. Additionally, Andrew loves working on various projects for his home and garden to keep himself busy and continue learning new skills.


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