How To Wash Sublimation Shirts With Washing Instructions?

Once you’ve completed the printing and sublimation process for your creative graphics on shirts or apparel, the next important consideration is how to properly wash these sublimated garments. Sublimation printing can be susceptible to fading or washing out if you use chemical detergents or the wrong type of fabric.

To ensure the longevity of your apparel, it’s crucial to follow the correct washing method, as outlined in the care instructions below. Let’s start with those guidelines. Let’s begin with those instructions.

How To Wash Sublimation Shirts?

Before you commence the shirt-washing process, it’s essential to acquaint yourself with the instructions for washing, drying, hanging, and pressing.

Sublimation Shirt Washing Instructions

To ensure the longevity of your sublimation shirts, follow these sublimation wash instructions:

  1. Turn the shirt inside out before washing, avoiding washing the outside.
  2. Steer clear of bleach or bleaching chemicals, as they can potentially fade the sublimation prints.
  3. Consider using cold water for the rinsing process, as hot water has the potential to cause the polyester fabric to expand, which may lead to damage to the print.
  4. Choose a gentle soap or detergent that doesn’t contain phosphorus.
  5. Separate colored garments from sublimated shirts during the washing cycle.
  6. Don’t allow sublimation shirts to linger in water or the washing machine for an extended period; promptly remove them after cleaning.
  7. Refrain from washing these shirts daily to ensure their longevity.

1. Take the sublimated shirts and wash them

Now that you’re familiar with the recommended washing steps, it’s time to clean your shirt. Opt for cold water and select a mild soap or a detergent that is free from phosphorus. Sublimation printing is a technique often applied to polyester shirts. Using hot water can be detrimental as it might cause the polyester fabric to expand, risking harm to the print.

If your sublimated shirt happens to have stains from substances like ketchup or grease, you can effectively treat them by spraying a mixture of peroxide and water onto the stained area. Gently rub it with a clean towel, and the stains should disappear.

Once the stains are gone, proceed to wash the sublimated shirts in cold water, either in the washing machine or by hand.

2. Add mild soap to the water

Next, incorporate a moderate amount of gentle soap or non-phosphorus detergent into the water for washing the clothes. Exercise caution to avoid excessive detergent usage, which can lead to uneven results on the shirt. Ensure you employ an appropriate detergent quantity.

Steer clear of using chlorine bleach or splash-less bleach when cleansing the shirts, as they can result in fading of the sublimation ink. Furthermore, eschew the use of fabric softeners when washing cotton-sublimated shirts.

Fabric softeners often contain substances like silicone, ammonia-based compounds, or specific oils that coat the fabric to enhance its softness. Nevertheless, these additives may heighten the risk of ink fading and impede the thorough drying of the garments due to the added layer.

3. Wash the shirts and dry them

Once you’ve washed the sublimated shirts for a few minutes, promptly remove them from the washing machine. For drying, it’s advisable to choose air drying or hanging them up using wooden clothes hangers.

Avoid dry cleaning as the heat involved in the process can damage the sublimation ink. If you must dry clean, adjust the settings to lower heat.

After the shirts have dried, you can iron them at a medium temperature, but it’s recommended to iron them inside-out to prevent any mishaps with the sublimated images.

sublimation shirts washable

Once the sublimation heat transfer process is complete, the sublimation ink essentially becomes integrated with the fabric, and it’s safe to wash the sublimated shirts once the ink has thoroughly dried.

It’s crucial to consistently adhere to the washing care instructions outlined above. While some garment manufacturers recommend waiting for 24 hours to allow the ink to cure completely, from personal experience, I sublimated a 100% polyester shirt for my husband’s birthday party. 

He wore it on the same day and even went for a swim in the pool right after the sublimation printing, and there was no adverse effect on the shirt’s colors.

How long should you wait before washing a sublimated shirt?

There’s no need to wait an extended period; a quick 5-minute wash with cold water is sufficient for a printed or sublimated shirt.

Can I wash a shirt Right After Sublimation? 

Avoid prewashing the sublimation shirts, as a freshly unwashed shirt maintains its allure, and many customers prefer the pristine look of brand-new sublimated shirts.

Conversely, if you’ve used bleach on the shirt for sublimation, it becomes crucial to wash the bleached sublimation shirt with a mixture of peroxide and water to halt the bleaching process. After you’ve washed and dried the garment, you can proceed with the sublimation heat transfer process.

How Can Sublimation Fading Be Prevented?

Your sublimation prints could potentially fade after just one wash, and this can often be attributed to the use of incompatible fabrics. 

Even when employing poly-blended fabrics, some fading or washout may occur, although traces of dyes might remain in the polyester. Sublimating onto cotton can also result in print loss if done without the appropriate guidance.

To safeguard against fading prints, it’s imperative to utilize 100% polyester fabric alongside quality sublimation ink, sublimation paper, and a top-notch t-shirt sublimation printer.


With the care instructions in mind, washing sublimation apparel becomes a straightforward process. However, it’s crucial to avoid using harmful chemicals such as bleach, chlorine, or fabric softeners, as they can lead to fading. Additionally, refrain from drying them in direct sunlight.

By adhering to these proper washing guidelines, you can ensure that your sublimated shirts remain vibrant even after numerous washes, with the fabric showing wear over time but the sublimation itself retaining its color for at least 100 washes.

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