How to Wash Sublimation Shirts Easily in 6 Simple Steps

If you are wondering how to wash your sublimation shirts, fear not! Sublimation shirts are just like any other kind of shirt, you can hand wash them or put them in the washing machine.

How you wash your sublimation shirts depends on the material they are made out of, so read on to find out what’s right for you.

So here in this article, we will see how to wash sublimation shirts so that they won’t fade away too quickly and stay vivid for a long period of time. If you need short-to-point laundering instructions, I have mentioned down below. However, if you need to read more the whole article is available for you.

Sublimation Shirts Laundering Quick Tips 

For quick help, check out our following tips on how to wash sublimated clothes.

Remember every time you wash your shirt it loses a bit of quality, so try not to wash it too often!

Always try to wash your sublimated shirts manually with your hands.

Do not dry clean sublimated shirts.

After washing, let it dry completely and keep it in a cool place.

Wash white and colored clothes separately.

After washing and drying, hang them on plastic hangers as metal hangers can leave rust spots.

If possible, turn down your heat setting when using hot water in order to preserve color vibrancy longer. Extreme temperatures can hurt dye jobs over time the hotter you go, the faster colors will fade from high heat exposure.

How To Wash Sublimation Shirts

In the above quick tips I mentioned some really short-to-point laundering instructions for sublimation shirts, and now I am going to explain all the methods in detail.

Let’s read more about how you can wash your sublimation shirts at home.

1. Start With Cool Water

Warm water, while seemingly softer and gentler, actually begins to break down garment fibers as it heats up. When you’re washing your t-shirts, always start with cool water. This also means that you should never dry your sublimation shirts in a dryer always hang them up outside on a clothesline to air dry.

The cold water coupled with mild sun exposure is enough to keep them smelling fresh.

If your sublimation shirt has food or other stains, first spray it down with stain remover before placing it in your washer.

Another great way to pre-treat stains is by using an oxygen cleaner. Just toss one packet into a small load of laundry and let their powerful oxygen action attack even tough stains like grease, grass, and tomato sauce for naturally clean results!

2. Never Add Bleach or Fabric Softener

When you wash your sublimation shirt, make sure never to add bleach or fabric softener. Bleach damages dyes and fabric softener prevents shirts from being properly dried. On top of that, it will cause yellowing on shirts with white ink.

Instead, make sure to wash your shirts in cold water as warm water can increase fading of printed areas on sublimated apparel.

Use a mild detergent without optical brighteners for the best results. Using too much detergent is also a big problem so don’t use too much! To combat any excess soap buildup, use vinegar instead. 

Vinegar acts as a natural whitener by stripping dirt away from clothes when soaked in vinegar water. And if you’ve ever had trouble getting rid of stubborn stains like oil paints before, try soaking stained garments in vinegar overnight to lift out those tough-to-remove spots (it also works great on dry stains).

Just make sure not to let your brand-new tee come into contact with leftover soap residue by running them through another wash cycle right after using vinegar because doing so may lead to damage such as color bleeding over time.

Related post >> How To Remove Sublimation Ink From Mugs, Shirts & Tumbler

3. Don’t Use Too Much Detergent

When you wash your sublimation shirts, don’t use too much detergent. If you load your washing machine with too much detergent, it can leave residue behind that will actually clog up your ink, making it harder for your design to look clean and crisp.

The recommended amount of detergent is a heaping tablespoon of powder or two tablespoons of liquid; if you want extra cleaning power, add an extra half-ounce of liquid.

Use warm water when you wash sublimation shirts. 

Washing in hot water may cause fading due to poor quality control in many dye factories (although some companies have brought their standards up recently). Using cold water helps set your dye so that it won’t fade over time and wash after wash.

That said, never wash sublimation shirts at more than 200 degrees too high of heat may damage the shirt.

Use a gentle cycle on any additional clothing in order to avoid getting rough material on any delicate parts of your t-shirt. This includes other items such as rhinestones or trims that are sewn onto the body of your shirt.

How to wash sublimation shirts?  Always remember Gentle Cycle = Good Life!

4. Rinse and Then Hang Dry

The most important thing to remember when washing sublimated apparel is that you should never put it in a dryer. The heat and agitation of a dryer will ruin the image, so all you need to do is wash your shirt and hang it up right away.

If you’re really pressed for time, consider running cold water over your shirt and then wringing it out before hanging it up.

Never use any type of detergent or bleach with your shirts; they can damage them easily. All you have to do is launder your shirts by hand (or using a washer with gentle cycles) and leave them out to air-dry completely before wearing them.

These steps work for more than just dark-colored tees bright colors fade more quickly, but if you wash them properly, they’ll last longer as well!

5. Iron Your Shirt While Still Slightly Wet

Since heat makes colors fade, it’s best to iron your shirt while it’s still slightly damp. The steam from ironing will set your design in place and remove any wrinkles that may have formed after washing.

But be careful not to use too much water or hang your shirt up before it dries. Wet shirts are more prone to fading than dry ones.

Also note that temperature has no effect on fading: Iron at medium-high heat (or whatever setting you would normally use) even if you’re printing on a dark-colored shirt; lighter colors don’t need as much heat and can actually turn yellow if exposed to high temperatures for too long.

6. Re-Sublimate When Needed

It may be necessary to re-sublimate your shirts after washing them. This will ensure that you are able to wear them as often as you’d like before having to remove stains by hand or sending them back for re-sublimation.

Washing machines usually won’t harm your shirt, but it’s always a good idea to wash it separately and use cold water instead of hot.

You can also watch this video that will explain to you how to wash sublimation shirts.


I have mentioned some most asked questions that you might find helpful while washing your sublimated shirts.

Why did my sublimation wash out?

It may be due to poor quality of sublimation ink or paper because when the dyes do not stick to the other material properly, they will ultimately fade out—leaving a dull print behind.

Will sublimation wash out of cotton?

Yes, it will wash out because sublimation on pure cotton is not recommended. You can use a combination of polyester and cotton or you might use pure polyester. Polyester gives you better vivid and vibrant prints.

How to keep sublimation from fading after washing?

Make sure that you have followed all the sublimation laundering instructions. If it is still fading, then consider using polyester instead of cotton and try to use good-quality sublimation inks.

How long does sublimation last on shirts?

If you are using good-quality sublimation inks & paper and following all the laundering instructions. It will last up to a year (12 months)  or more.


I hope all is clear now and next time you will be following sublimation t-shirt care instructions while washing your sublimated shirt.

Washing your sublimation shirts at home isn’t exactly rocket science, but if you want them to last, there are a few factors you need to keep in mind. The first step is always going to be rinsing it out as soon as possible this helps get rid of a lot of loose dye and keeps wear and tear down as much as possible.

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