How to Remove Sublimation Ink from Shirts? | 7+ Ways (2024)

As a newbie in sublimation printing, you can quickly transfer the design on your shirts. During the process, there is a chance that the transfer paper will move from its place. This will ruin the design of the shirt.

The stains or sublimation mistakes on the mugs and shirt can be removed by dissolving the ink in the subjected solvent. If you have made a sublimation mistake, don’t get panic. Everyone makes mistakes in sublimation printing, which can be resolved after much effort and using the proper procedure.

Why to Remove Sublimation Ink?

Some people throw their mugs and fabrics due to incorrect sublimation printing. There are various reasons to remove sublimation from shirts and other items.

  • To remove the sublimation ink stains
  • To change the sublimation design on shirts
  • To restore the shirt to its original format

Before sublimation printing, you must be very careful in choosing the sublimation ink type for a specific color shirt. For example, if you choose a dark blue color shirt for sublimation, the sublimation ink stain will not be removed even after bleaching.

So, before sublimation printing, you should know the ink type for a specific shade shirt and the procedure for removing the sublimation mistakes from them without affecting the shirt.

Is It Possible to Remove Sublimation Ink?

In the case of polyester and polymers, the sublimation ink cannot be eradicated. It will eventually fade out after extensive hard work with the bleaching process.

Yes, the sublimation ink printed on the ceramic mugs can be removed by bleaching, washing hot water, and scratching the ceramic surface.

Cotton fabrics and shirts can be restored to their original state after removing the sublimation ink through multiple washes.

This all shows that everyone encounters problems in sublimation printing. You must know how to remove the incorrectly printed spots on the shirt.

Even you can remove all the sublimation print designs on the shirt through the process discussed in the following lines.

Use Cold Water to Remove the Sublimation Ink from The T-Shirt

When you have printed incorrectly on the shirt, take a bucket and 5 liters of freezing water and place the sublimated shirt in the water for about 2 hours.

The sublimation ink will be frozen and leaves the shirt in small pieces. In this way, the shirt will not be affected.

But keep one thing in mind be quick in removing the sublimation ink when you have made a mistake. Place the shirt in cold water before settling on the shirt.

Removing the Sublimation Ink Using Soda Water

If you have encountered a sublimation mistake on the shirt, prepare a solution of normal water and soda. Use a 6/1 ratio of soda and water in a bucket.

Mix the soda in water thoroughly and use a stirrer. Soak the shirt in water for 30 minutes in the bucket. You will see the sublimation ink is dissolving away from the shirt into solution.

Bleach the Shirt to Remove Sublimation Ink

Bleach is the best chemical compound to efficiently remove the sublimation ink from the shirt. But make sure that the shirt is not dyed; otherwise, the color of the shirt will also be washed away.

Mainly, it applies to white color shirts, and you can use bleach which is applied regularly to whites.

Follow these steps;

  • Pour the bleach on the sublimated shirt over the sublimation stain.
  • Soak the shirt for about 30 minutes.
  • Use a paper towel to remove to absorb the bleach spreading to other areas.
  • Now, wash the shirt in the washer and scratch the remaining sublimated ink using the spatula.

Note: carefully read the care instructions for washing the shirt using bleach before the start of the procedure.

Using A Pressure Washer to Remove Sublimation Ink from T-Shirt

Yes. A pressure washer can help erase the stains of sublimation ink on shirts before it settles on the shirt. For this purpose, you have to add some regular detergent to normal water. 

Pour this water into the tank of a pressure washer. Washing the shirt can then remove the sublimation from the shirt very quickly.

Removing Sublimation Printing from Shirt with a Heat Press

Removing the sublimation ink from a T-shirt with the help of a heat press is one of the efficient methods, but it takes a lot of time. No chemical compound is required in this process. You only have to arrange the following things:

  • Iron
  • Spoon
  • The thick piece of cloth
  • A thin fabric cloth

Then apply the following procedure:

Step-1 : Spread Polyester Garment

Gently spread a polyester garment piece on the base, where you will iron the sublimated shirt.

Step-2: Place Thick Piece of Cloth

Now, place the thick piece of cloth inside the shirt, which aligns with the sublimation ink zone. Keep the fabric wrinkle-free and smooth.  

Step-3: Iron the Shirt

Place the thin wet cloth on the sublimated shirt and switch the iron. Keep the temperature from the moderate to high range. Continue ironing the shirt over the sublimation ink area for 10 minutes. 

Step-4: Remove Ink using Spoon

Now, scrub the sublimation ink on the shirt with the help of a spoon. Start removing the ink from the edges and move toward the center. Sometimes, the ink can be peeled off with fingers from the t-shirt.

Note: the sublimation ink or the color of the shirt may be transferred to the thin piece of cloth due to ironing at high temperatures. So, use that fabric that can be disposed of after usage.

Removing Sublimation Printing with Acetone

Acetone is the most potent sublimation ink stains remover, but you have to be very careful in using the product

Supplies needed are:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Rubber gloves
  • A bowl
  • Pure Acetone
  • A clean piece of cloth

Before rubbing Acetone on your shirt to eliminate the sublimation ink stains, you have to check that the color of the shirt doesn’t get affected by the Acetone. If the color of the subject’s shirt fades, then don’t use this method. Otherwise, follow these steps;

Step -1

Gently wear rubber gloves

Step -2

Take a bowl and take a little amount of Acetone in it


Soak the piece of cloth with Acetone and spread it over the sublimation ink stains


Wait for about 10-15 minutes

Step -5

Clean the sublimation ink stain area with a paper towel

In this way, the sublimation print will be dissolved completely.

Read more: How to Remove Sublimation Inks from Mugs

Removing Sublimation Ink Stain with Alcohol

This method is generally used to remove the polyester’s sublimation ink stain. As Alcohol is highly flammable, you must be very careful while using this product.

So, you must prepare the working space before applying the product to remove the sublimation ink. Make sure you have a flat surface, a clean cloth, and room ventilation.

It would be best if you had the following supplies.

  • Alcohol
  • Paper towel
  • A bowl
  • Clean cloth

We recommend you use Isopropyl-Alcohol 70%. More concentrated Alcohol will damage the fabric if it’s not applied correctly.

Now, you have to follow these steps to remove the sublimation ink from the shirt:


Please take a little amount of rubbing Alcohol and spread it on the sublimation ink stain area, and wait for half an hour for better results.


If you have poured more Alcohol on the fabric, then take a paper towel and absorb the excess Alcohol.

Step -3

Rub the sublimation ink stain area with a clean cloth piece and keep rubbing until the sublimation ink is removed.


Now, wash the polyester shirt with cold water. You will see the sublimation ink stains are not visible.

Removing Sublimation Ink Coating with Domestic Chemicals?

This method is suitable for shirts, hoodies, and tank tops. If you have printed ancient images on the fabric, this method can remove them. 

You must be careful in implementing this process to avoid damaging your garments. You can apply the following domestic chemical product (denatured Spirit) to remove the sublimation print from the shirts or other clothes.

Other domestic use items like paper towels and clean cloth must be available. Keep the fans ON and open room windows to have ventilation.

Step- 1: Spread the Aluminum foil on the table

Take an aluminum foil and prepare the workspace. Spread it over a flat table or floor to keep the shirt wrinkle-free.

Step- 2: Make ready the denatured Spirit

Now, ready the denatured Spirit and soak the sublimated ink stain area in it. This will dissolve the sublimation ink stain and other residue ink.

Step- 3: Press the garment with the iron

Before pressing the garment with iron, ensure the shirt is completely dried. Otherwise, it will stick to iron and damage the fibers. Drying can be enhanced with the usage of paper towels.

What are the Risks of Removing the sublimation Ink from a shirt?

Removing the sublimation ink stains from a t-shirt is not risk-free. The application of chemical compounds can affect the garments if the proper procedure is not followed. 

Here are some essential points which will help in removing the ink from your t-shirt:

  • Before the start of sublimation, check whether the sublimation ink is removable.
  • Wear proper personal protective equipment before working with the chemicals.
  • Choose the correct chemical method that suits your garment best to avoid ruining the sublimation design.
  • Set the chemical product for the proper time to break the bonds of sublimation ink stains with the shirt.
  • Use a clean cloth to absorb the excess chemical, and rinse the shirt after removing the chemical.
  • Hang the shirt in the shade for drying, and never use the dryer to dry the shirt after sublimation ink removal.

Final Words

Sublimation printing is one of the most exciting digital technologies for beautifying garments. As the sublimation printers work by heating sublimation ink and pressing it over the shirt, it may sometime create stains.

But you don’t have to be worried.

These sublimation ink stains acne be removed with the help of pressure washers, chemical products, and other household items. You have to choose the suitable method according to the nature of the garment.

When removing the sublimation ink stains from the shirt, you must be very careful to avoid damage to the shirt, hand, and eye area.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is the best method to remove the sublimation ink stain from a shirt?

Various methods are available to remove the sublimation ink stain from the garment without damaging it. One uses the pressure washer, which breaks the ink into small particles. These particles are then washed away with hot water and a detergent solution. 

When should I remove the sublimation ink stain from the shirt?

The best way to remove the sublimation ink stains from the T-shirt is to treat it as soon as possible to avoid settling the ink. Wash the shirt with hot water and dry it under shade.

How is the sublimation ink stain removed from the shirt without damaging it?

The safest method to remove sublimation ink stain from the shirt is to apply one of the non-chemical methods. Rinse the shirt with hot water and wash with the high-pressure washer. Only use heat presses or chemical methods if you are well aware of the precaution required.

Can I remove sublimation ink at home?

Yes, of course, you can remove the sublimation ink stains from the T-shirt at home. You have to arrange a domestic chemical product, a bowl, and a clean piece of cloth. Work in a ventilated environment or outside the room in the open air.  

Why is sublimation a long-term process?

In sublimation printing, exceptional quality ink fades away hardly with time. Also, different steps are involved in the process, like heating, pressing, and drying. This way, the sublimation ink ultimately sets and sticks to the fabric.  

To Learn more watch the Video

How to remove ink spots from the shirt

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