How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last on Shirts & Mugs

Customizing products with sublimation printing can be a great way to create unique and personalized items, whether displaying photos or logos on shirts and mugs.

But one of the most common questions people have about this printing technique is how long does sublimation ink last? How long will my printed product last?

In this blog post, we will discuss how long sublimation ink lasts on shirts and mugs, as well as what you should do to improve the lifespan of sublimation ink.

Read on to learn more about sublimation ink longevity and find out why it could be your ideal choice for printing!

How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last on Shirts

Sublimation ink is known for its durability and longevity when applied to garments, especially shirts. The inks are designed to last through many washes and wear, so it is an ideal choice for creating long-lasting custom designs and artwork on clothing.

Sublimation ink will last on a shirt indefinitely as long as the garment is kept in optimal care conditions such as avoiding contact with harsh chemicals and detergents.

The longevity of sublimation ink depends largely on the substrate that it’s printed onto. Although polyester fabrics provide the best results, sublimation ink can be used on an array of materials including cotton, acrylic, glass, leather, and even some synthetic fibers so long as they have a minimum polyester content of 50-60%.

When applied to these fabrics, sublimation ink has been known to last up to 50 wash cycles without fading or cracking.

However, if you’re looking for even longer-lasting prints on clothes then using 100% polyester fabrics and high-quality sublimation ink will ensure your prints last much longer than other substrates.

How long does sublimation ink last on t-shirts

Sublimation ink also stands out from other printing techniques because of its versatility; not only does it allow you to print vibrant colors onto a variety of fabrics but it also doesn’t shatter like traditional screen printing does over time due to natural wear and tear.

This means that with proper care your custom design shirts can look just as vibrant years down the line compared to when they were first printed.

Furthermore, since sublimation ink only bonds with polyester fabrics, you don’t have to worry about any chemical reaction which could potentially damage or fade the fabric over time like with other printing techniques such as heat transfers or iron-on decals.

Overall, sublimation ink offers superior quality and longevity when applied correctly to garments such as t-shirts and hoodies. With proper washing instructions and fabric selection, you can enjoy your customized designs lasting years before they need replacing!

How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last on Mugs

Sublimation ink can last a very long time when used for mug printing, as it is highly resistant to fading. This type of ink uses a special combination of heat and pressure to transfer an image onto the surface of the mug, which creates a permanent bond between the ink and the mug that cannot be removed without damaging the mug itself.

But that doesn’t mean, you cannot remove the sublimation ink, of course, you can if you need to.

The sublimation process also results in incredibly vibrant colors that remain true over time without fading or dulling.

Mugs printed with sublimation ink can last anywhere from several years up to a lifetime depending on their usage and how they are cared for.

Being exposed to sunlight or other sources of UV radiation will degrade any kind of ink over time, so storing mugs in an area away from direct sunlight should help extend their longevity.

Using a protective coating such as a ceramic glaze or another varnish can also help protect against the moisture damage that could cause an image to fade, though users should take care not to rub or scrub these coatings off too aggressively as this could damage the print beneath it.

In addition, care must be taken when cleaning sublimated mugs as strong chemicals and abrasive scrubbers could strip away the print along with dirt and debris.

Hand-washing with mild detergents is recommended for best results. With proper care and maintenance, mugs printed with sublimation ink can retain their color saturation and vibrancy for many years.

How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last in Printer 

Sublimation inks are often used for professional printing jobs, as well as for custom t-shirts and other apparel production. But one of the main questions people have about this type of ink is how long it will last in their printer.

The longevity of sublimation ink in a printer depends on a few different factors, including the quality of the ink itself and the environment in which it will be stored.

Generally speaking, unopened sublimation inks should last up to two years if stored properly at room temperature out of direct sunlight. However, this time frame can vary depending on the type and quality of the ink being used.

Epson and Sawgrass inks usually last for two years if not opened. But always check the expiry date mentioned on the ink.

For best results, users should take steps to ensure that their printer’s sublimation system isn’t exposed to too much heat or cold temperatures. This can be done by keeping your printing area at a moderate temperature and adjusting it accordingly when necessary.

Additionally, sublimation ink cartridges should always be properly sealed when not in use to ensure maximum storage life and prevent evaporation or contamination from dust and other particles.

If your printer has air-tight ink tanks, you don’t need to worry about that.

In addition to environmental factors, how long sublimation ink lasts also varies based on how frequently it is used or printed. If you don’t use your machine regularly then the sublimation ink will last up to 6 months in your printer.

But this is not a good practice as it may lead to clogging of printheads.

You can also check the expiry date mentioned on the sublimation ink and may use it according to that.

How Long Does Sublimation Ink Last on Paper

Sublimation ink is a great way to print vibrant, long-lasting images onto paper. The ink is specially formulated to be heated and fade-resistant, meaning that it can last for years without losing its color or vibrancy.

Sublimation printing uses a special sublimation printer and special substrates in order to transfer the dye-based ink onto the paper. The result is a vibrant and permanent image that won’t fade over time.

One of the advantages of sublimation ink is that it can last for a very long time on paper when used properly.

Depending on conditions such as environmental exposure, humidity levels, and exposure to UV light, sublimation prints can last up to several years without fading or becoming discolored. This makes it ideal for archiving important documents where longevity is essential.

Overall, sublimation ink offers an excellent balance between affordability and quality when it comes to printing onto paper. Thanks to its extreme durability and resistance against fading or discoloration over time, you can rest assured that your printed documents will remain vibrant even after many years of use.

Sublimated Items Caring Tips to Prevent Fading

  1. I suggest using a mild detergent when washing items printed with sublimation ink and avoiding strong chemicals.
  2. Air drying is recommended for items printed with sublimation ink instead of using high heat for faster drying times
  3. Urge avoiding contact between the printed side of the garment and any abrasive surfaces to avoid wear and tear.
  4. I would advise washing garments inside out, separately from other garments with different colors or fabric textures.
  5. Encourage storing printed items in a cool, dry area, away from direct sunlight or other sources of heat to prevent fading.


The answer to how long sublimation ink lasts on shirts and mugs is that the results are highly dependent on factors such as the type of substrate, the quality of the ink, and the printing technique used.

However, with proper care and maintenance, it is possible to achieve a lifetime of vibrant colors and designs on both fabric and ceramic items.

Sublimation inks are known for their longevity as they are designed to withstand fading due to daily use or exposure to harsh weather conditions. It’s important to keep in mind that individual results may vary depending on the original source of sublimation inks used and other related factors.

Overall, with proper maintenance, you can expect your personalized shirts or mugs printed with sublimation ink to remain beautiful for years to come.

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