How to Wash Sublimation Shirts? 7 Effective & Easy to Follow Steps

A sublimated shirt is an amazing asset to have in your wardrobe as they are considered to be one of the branded shirts. They are expensive to purchase, that’s why they require special laundering care. Due to the unique design on these shirts, there is a little difference in their clothing than regular clothes.

Besides, ink quality, type of cotton and other factors for sublimation, the way of washing your sublimation shirt can also make a big difference that either your sublimation shirts last long or fade earlier. This means if you wash them with proper care instructions they will last longer than your expectation. Today, I am going to tell you how you can make this possible. Here below, is the detailed step-by-step guideline of washing the sublimation shirts, which witness lessen fading of your sublimation shirts.

How to Wash Sublimation Shirts

Detailed Guide How to Wash Bleach Sublimation Shirts

1. Watch Out Any Spill/Stain on Shirt

Before you put your sublimated shirt into the washing machine, watch out if there is any stain or spill on it. Hand wash the stain using a mild stain remover. It will prevent any further spreading of stain on the shirt.

If you don’t have enough time for stain removing then I suggest you use an oxygen cleanser to prevent staining. Simply throw one packet of oxygen cleanser into one small amount of laundry. And its strong oxygen action will slash difficult stains such as grease, tomato sauce, and grass easily, for giving your sublimated shirt a natural clean outcome. See the image given below.

Watch Out Any Spill Stain on Shirt

2. Set the Washer on Cold Water Setting

Warm water although appears soft and gentler to clothes but for sublimation shirts it’s not. It actually starts to break the fibers of clothing and potentially cause the color to bleed and fade away from your shirt. So, you have to set the washing machine’s setting on cold water. Cold water helps keep your dye more stable and ensures that it doesn’t fade for long. Moreover, it’s easy to rinse after washing. See the image given below.

Set the Washer on Cold Water Setting

3. Add Moderate Level of Detergent

While washing your sublimation shirts or garments be sure to use a moderate amount of detergent. If you add a high amount of detergent into the washer, it may leave a residue behind which clog your shirt’s ink. And your shirt’s design will appear dull.

One tablespoon of powder or two tablespoons of liquid detergent is recommended to use. But if you want to increase the cleaning power, then add an additional half-ounce. See the visual image given below.

Add Moderate Level of Detergent

4. Never Add Bleach or Fabric Softener to Your Fabric

While washing your sublimation shirts, never add bleach or fabric softener to your fabric. Bleach can damage dyes\ paints, on other hand, fabric softeners prevent the shirts from drying properly. Both cause the discoloration on the white ink and more of the fade of printed areas of sublimated clothing.

As, the use of too much detergent is also a major issue for such shirts, so instead you can use a mild soap without optical brighteners to get the best results. And ensure not to allow your brand new sublimation shirts to be in contact with the residue of soap when you run them through a second wash cycle.

Never Add Bleach or Fabric Softener to Your Fabric

Pro Tip:

If your shirt gets some soap buildup, you can soak your shirt in Vinegar – it’s a natural whitener. It strips off dirt, oil paints, and other difficult-to-remove spots easily in a few hours. But remember, soaking your sublimation shirts more oftenly in vinegar can cause damage, such as bleeding of color over time.

5. Hang Dry

One of the most crucial things to keep in mind when washing your sublimated clothing is to only hang dry them. Putting them in the dryer can ruin their appearance and make them fade earlier, due to the heat coming from drying. After rinsing your shirt properly, hang it up immediately and allow it to dry completely in the air before wearing. See the image given below.

Sublimation shirts tend to fade faster, if they get dry in the dryer. However, if you give them only a little exposure to sun and air for natural drying then they will last longer. And look super fresh and clean every time you wash them.

Hang dry Sublimation Shirts

Note: For hang drying, don’t use metal hangers as they can leave the mark of rust on your shirt.

6. Iron It, While Its Slightly Wet

It’s recommended to dry-iron your garment when it’s still moist to prevent it from the heat of ironing, which causes fading of sublimation shirts. Steam generated by the iron will help setting the design and eliminate all the wrinkles that could be formed due to washing.

Iron dark-colored sublimation shirts at medium-high temperature or any setting you normally choose to use while ironing your clothes. But for light-colored sublimation shirts keep temperature low as they are more prone to turn yellow when exposed to extreme temperatures over a long period of time. See the obvious image given below.

Iron It, While Its Slightly Wet

7. Re-Sublimate Your Shirt as Necessary

It is possible to re-sublimate the shirts following washing to ensure that you’re capable of wearing them for as long as you’d like, without sending them back to be sublimated.

Also, wash your sublimated clothes separately from the colored ones. Keep in mind, every time you wash your sublimation shirt, it will lose some of its color. So, re-sublimate them to enhance the vibrancy of colors and to make them appear fresh for a longer time. See the image given below.

Here’s a link for a youtube video, showing how to wash sublimation shirts.

Pro Tips to Wash Sublimation Shirts & Prevent Them From Fading

These are the pro tips to wash your sublimation shirts and prevent them from fading.

1. Limit Washing Frequency

Make a note of how often you wash your sublimation  clothes if you want your sublimation prints to appear more bright and clear. Also, follow the right washing instructions for your sublimation shirts. If your clothes are cleaned but  the ink is faded, re-sublimate them as necessary.

Due to frequent washing, the mixing of the ink with water on the fabrics occurs which tends to fade the sublimation print. That’s why it’s recommended to limit the frequency of washing your sublimation shirts.

2. Use Detergents Without Phosphorus/Phosphate

A non-phosphorous soap or detergent should be used for washing, as phosphates can cause bleeding of color. Furthermore, chlorine bleach and fabric softeners also should not be used as they can fade the sublimation prints/colors and weaken the fabric.

Moreover, chlorine bleach can cause skin irritation if you accidentally apply it to your skin and cause many issues to your health if you smell the chemical. So, avoid using it.

3. Wash Inside Out & Separate Washing

Wash the sublimation shirts inside out to prevent any rubbing and friction while washing that may cause fading. Make sure you wash these shirts separately from other colored clothes as they may absorb the colors of them. It is important not to pack clothes that have zippers, buttons or Velcro on them, because such items can result in tears, snags, and other marks.

See the image given below.

4. Dry in Shades Instead of Sunlight

High exposure to (Sunlight) UV radiation makes sublimation shirts more susceptible to fade. So, drying these shirts in natural air or shades is recommended to lessen the fading process.

Hang the shirts immediately after washing, this helps in preventing spread of colors to clothes.

5. Never Use Screen Print Dryer

Never utilize a screen print dryer on dyed/sublimated shirts. It can alter the colors. Dryers are devices that use heat and pressure to melt the fabric, so the ink won’t adhere to it.

The most effective method to prevent your sublimation shirts or hoodies from fading is to use the screen printer which applies pressure and heat correctly.

It is operated through the application of a very thin coating of ink onto the fabric. Then ink melts to remove the color from the fabric. Ultimately, the color fading will be stopped.

Sublimated Official Shirts: Laundering Guidelines

Here are some official laundering guidelines for sublimated shirts. Let’s have a look towards them.

For Washing:

  • Shirts should be cleaned inside out to help prevent damage from other items that are in the washer. 
  • Wash white and colored shirts separately. 
  • Use cold or mild warm water.
  • Use mild soap or non-harsh detergent. 
  • Keep the washing cycles delicate. 

When Drying:

  • Dry on wooden or plastic hangers only.
  • If you are machine drying, set the machine to low heat or AIR only.
  • Take it off immediately once the cycle has been completed.

For Storage:

  • Dry the sublimation shirts completely prior to placing them in storage.
  • Keep it in a cool and dry place.

Conclusion:

I have explained everything in order and hope next time you’ll be following the right sublimation shirt care instructions while washing your sublimated shirts. Washing them at home isn’t rocket science, but there are some tips that I have mentioned earlier – to prevent your sublimation’s from fading, keep them in mind as well as they prolong the life of your favorite and expensive sublimation shirts!!.