How To Remove Sublimation Print From Polyester?


During the printing process, sublimation paper can move inside the inkjet printer. So the letters might turn out crooked. But even a well-printed ink can be removed by washing. Over time the sublimation ink can fade, crack and peel off the t-shirts. 

Also, without any reason, you can change your mind about the color of the print on the clothing. Maybe you don’t like the text or the image on the garment anymore.

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    In any case, there is a simple solution to your problem. You can find the best way to remove sublimation ink in this article. Then you can restore that piece of clothing to its previous state. 

    Removing Sublimation Ink Stain With Rubbing Alcohol

    This chemical solution is an excellent product you can use to remove ink from the polyester coating. This is a highly concentrated cleaning product, but it is very flammable. While working with it, be careful. You don’t want the liquid to reach your face, especially the area around the eyes or the lips.

    Caution, polyester and alcohol are highly flammable

    The first step would be to prepare the space where you can remove sublimation ink. For this, we recommend you cover the flat surface with a table cloth. Don’t forget to keep the room well ventilated. 

    Then you’ll only need alcohol, paper towels, and a cloth. We suggest using 91% Isopropyl alcohol or Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol 70%. But if you have 99% Isopropyl alcohol, keep in mind that this product can damage the fabric if not used properly. 

    1. Pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol directly on the sublimation ink on the shirt. Put it only in the area covered in ink and let the material absorb the liquid for 25 to 30 minutes.
    2. Then take a paper towel and remove the excess liquid. Start rubbing the ink off the garment with a cloth until the stain is completely removed.
    3. Wash the shirt with cold water. Hopefully, the ink will be gone. But if that’s not the case, repeat the process several times.

    This way, you can remove sublimation ink on Trousers, Jackets, and Blankets. Also, Hats, Sheets, Blouses, and other garments with Polyester fabric.

    Removing Sublimation Printing With Acetone

    Acetone, which contains alcohol, is the most powerful stain remover. It’s very efficient for stubborn stains, but you must be careful while using this product.

    First, cover the table or the floor where you’ll remove sublimation ink with aluminum foil. Make sure that the space is ventilated. Afterward, prepare rubber gloves, a bowl, 100% pure acetone, and a clean cloth. 

    Before applying acetone to your shirt to remove ink stains, do a small test:

    1. Grab a cotton pad and soak it in acetone.
    2. Rub the fabric on the inside of a piece of clothing.

    If the color of your shirt changes, do not use this method to remove sublimation ink. Otherwise, you can proceed to follow these easy steps.

    1. Put on your rubber gloves, and pour a small amount of acetone into the bowl.
    2. Then soak the cloth in the liquid, and dab the wettened cloth on the sublimation printing on your shirt. Spread acetone only in the area covered in the sublimation ink. Leave the acetone on the garment for 10 minutes. 
    3. Take the same cloth and remove acetone with two clean paper towels. Gently rub the area on the shirt where the sublimation ink is located.
    4. Wash the garment with cold water and check if the sublimation print is gone. If necessary, you should repeat the process.

    Removing Sublimation Inks With Bleach

    Bleach is also an effective chemical product that you can use to eliminate this type of printing.

    But you must remember that it’s not suitable for dyed materials because it can remove the color from clothes (in fact, bleach is used for fading dark garments for sublimation printing, whereby removing the dye from the fabric makes the print pop!).

    This method is perfect if your shirt is white-colored. In this case, you’ll only need bleach that you regularly use for your whites. 

    1. Put bleach on the sublimation printing and let it soak for about 30 minutes. Absorb the bleach with a clean paper towel.
    2. Then rinse the bleach off the fabric. Remove the rest of the ink with your fingers or with a sponge.
    3. The only thing left to do is to wash your shirt in the washer.

    Before starting this process, carefully read the care label on your clothes with a polyester coating. Follow the information included in the care label inside your shirt, and you will achieve the desired results.

    The advantage of this method is that you disinfect and sanitize the shirt while removing the sublimation ink stains.

    Removing Sublimation Printing With a Heat Press

    This is a slightly more demanding and time-consuming method to remove the ink. But it’s efficient, and you do not use chemical products during this process. You will need an iron, a spoon, a normal-thick cloth, a thinner fabric cloth, or a diaper.

    1. Place a piece of polyester garment with a sublimation ink on the base where you iron the wardrobe.
    2. Then put a dry normal-thick cloth on the inside of the garment. You should put this cloth directly under the ink’s area. Align that cloth on the inside of the garment. Ensure that your garment is flat and not wrinkled.
    3. Wet a thin cloth or a diaper, and place it over the garment. Put this cloth or diaper outside the polyester clothing item with a sublimation print. Then connect the iron with the power source, turn it on and start ironing. First, set the heat on the iron to a moderate temperature.
    4. Gradually increase the temperature. Keep in mind that the high heat temperature can make holes in the fabric. Keep ironing the fabric for about 5 to 10 minutes.
    5. After that, turn off your iron and scrub the sublimation ink off the garment. Scrub the ink with a spoon or some other object suitable for scrubbing. Start with the edges and work through the center of the sublimation ink. If necessary, peel off the sublimation ink with your fingers until you get rid of every ink stain.

    The sublimation print due to heating may be reflected on a thinner cloth or a diaper. Also, the color might transfer to the fabric. So, during this process, it is best to use some old material that you can dispose of afterward.

    Removing Sublimation Ink Stains With Denatured Alcohol and Polymer Crystals

    The first thing you should do is prepare a work area. We suggest that you do this process in your bathroom or outside. Also, any other place with a good ventilation system will be great.

    For this method of removing sublimation ink, you will need a few things. Prepare filtered water, aluminum foil, distilled water, denatured alcohol solution, and polymer crystals. Also, you’ll need an iron, a jar or a bowl, a bucket or a pail, and paper towels.

    1. Pour the denatured alcohol into the bucket or a pail. Then dip a T-shirt or another garment into the bucket. Ensure that the stained part of the shirt, where the sublimation ink is placed, is fully soaked in the liquid. Leave the garment there for about 20 minutes.
    2. Then check if the sublimation ink on the garment broke. If so, you can go forward with the steps. But if that’s not the case, leave it in the bucket for another 10 to 20 minutes. Swirl it around, so it dissolves better.
    3. When you remove the garment from the bucket, it will be soaking wet. Do not throw away the denatured alcohol from the bucket. You’ll need a small amount later in the process. Try to absorb the liquid with paper towels. And then put that garment in the washing machine with cold or warm water.
    4. You should start ironing when your garment is not quite dry. But remember that you need to read the care label first. Then pour filtered water into the reservoir, and turn on your iron. Set the heat on the iron carefully. Polyester is a synthetic fabric. So it’s not recommended that you iron at high temperatures. Because it can make holes in your garment.
    5. Iron until you completely dry your garment. Then place a piece of aluminum foil on it. But cover only the area where the sublimation ink is located. And continue to iron for another 5 to 7 minutes over the aluminum foil.
    6. When you finish ironing your garment, remove the aluminum sheet and put the shirt away for a while. Create a polymer mixture with only two ingredients, polymer crystals and denatured alcohol. Pour three tablespoons of polymer crystals into the jar or a bowl. Add a cup of denatured alcohol and wait until the crystals dissolve. Don’t stir the mixture.
    7. Wet some clean paper towels with distilled water. Then dip them into the polymer solution. With that paper towel, gently blot the inked area. Take the mixture with a spoon and put it on the printed clothes if necessary. Then scrub the sublimation ink with that spoon or a sponge. Repeat this step until your garment is spotless.

    Removing Sublimation Printing Using Organic Ingredients and Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products

    When printing ink on T-shirts and other clothes, a lot of plastic is used annually. At least while removing the ink, we can use organic and eco-friendly products.

    Besides that, this method is cost-effective, simple, and fast. Also, for this process, we do not use cleaning agents that are bad for our health. You will only need organic products that are likely already in your home.

    First, prepare a bowl, white vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and one lemon. And you will need a cup of warm water.

    This is the only way to remove ink without using the heat press or damaging the fabric. You can make this cleaning solution just by following these few steps.

    1. First, squeeze half a lemon into a bowl. Add two tablespoons of white vinegar, and mix it with lemon juice.
    2. Then to the mixture, add two tablespoons of baking soda.
    3. Pour half a cup of dish soap and half a cup of hydrogen peroxide. Mix everything together.
    4. Place a T-shirt or other garment with sublimation ink on the flat surface.
    5. Pour your homemade cleaner on the stained area and let it soak in for 40 minutes.
    6. Absorb the excess amount of liquid with paper towels or rinse it off the shirt.
    7. Then remove the ink from the soaked Polyester with your fingers, or scrub it with a sponge.
    8. When you finish, if necessary, repeat the process. If the stain is removed, wash garments the way you usually do.


    Before applying any product, check the care label inside the T-shirt. Read the label to see if any product can negatively affect the fabric. If so, choose a different method. 

    Steam the fabric before you start removing sublimation ink. This can help with the breakage of the ink. 

    Prepare every necessary product before you start to remove the sublimation ink. Then clean a flat surface where you will be working. 

    Turn on a fan nearby while removing the sublimation ink from the Polyester. It should dry the fabric faster and also helps with air circulation in the room.

    Thorough Responses to Popular FAQs

    What is the easiest way to remove sublimation print from Polyester?

    The first thing you should do is to put the cleaning solution on the printed area. Choose a cleaning solution that works best for your ink type. Leave the shirt to absorb the liquid well. After that, wash your clothes and leave them to dry almost completely. Then start with ironing the garment. Because the heat helps with breaking the ink on the material. Then manually remove the remaining ink from the Polyester. When you have a stain-free T-shirt, the only thing left is to rewash the garment.

    As described in the text, there are different versions of the solution. Chemical or non-chemical ones. It is up to you to choose one of the ones offered in the text above. Choose a heatless method if you do not want to use an iron on the shirt when removing the ink.

    How can I remove sublimation ink without damaging the garment?

    You can remove the sublimation ink without damaging your T-shirt, blouse, or jacket. In this case, we do not recommend using a method that includes heat. So don’t use steam iron or other heat presses on the fabric. And of course, in this process, the safest option would be a non-chemical solution. For example, make a cleaning solution at your home with natural ingredients. Or buy one that doesn’t contain any toxic and unhealthy ingredients.

    Regardless, check the care label before applying any product to the Polyester. Reverse T-shirt upside down. Then put a small amount of the solution inside the piece of clothing. This way, you will know if the product harms the material.

    Can I remove sublimation ink at home?

    Of course, you can do the process of removing sublimation ink at your home. You don’t need professional equipment to remove the ink stains. But be persistent and have a little fate in the process. Before you start the process of removing sublimation ink at your home, secure the area first. You do not want to ruin your carpet or floor with chemical solutions. So you should choose the place with tiles, such as the kitchen or bathroom. Also, there is always an option to do the process outdoors, in the open air.

    If you fail to remove stains after one method, try another that works for you. But if you do not manage to remove the ink stain from the garment, take that piece of clothing for dry cleaning.

    How to remove the ink if the color of the print is smeared on the T-shirt?

    Sublimation print is a type of dye that can be used in digital printing or with an inkjet printer. Also, it may come in the form of water-resistant textile paint. The most common use for this type of ink is to print on T-shirts, but it also has other applications. But, Ink stains may spread all over the material due to washing or heat.

    To remove print, try to apply one of the offered methods on each part of the T-shirt where the dye is located. Be persistent because Polyester is a synthetic material, and the paint may reach deep into the fabric. Try some of the chemical solutions to remove the print at first. And if that doesn’t work out, take your clothes to a dry cleaning company.

    Can I remove sublimation paper from the coffee mug this way?

    Methods described in this guide are different than removing sublimation inks from the coffee mug due to the polyester coating of the clothes. But if you want to remove sublimation inks from your coffee mug, try using some of the mentioned chemical solutions.


    Sublimated shirts hardly fade, and the advantage is that you can wear them for a long time without the heavy and thick feeling of screen printing. Also, mistakes often happen during the sublimation process. Because Digital printers use heat transfer screen Printing Sublimation Products.

    Luckily, now you know an easy, quick, and effective way to remove the ink stains from Polyester. You can remove the sublimation print from Polyester using one of these methods. Besides, follow the steps carefully and avoid skipping certain process parts. You can use rubbing alcohol, polymer solution, or acetone. But also, you can use a non-aggressive solution as well. In any case, it is better to steam the fabric before this process. Because for the best results, it may be better to break the ink or, at least, loosen it up a bit.

    Check the care label, whichever of the listed methods you use. Also, remember that if the chemical stays on the fabric for a long time, it can damage it. Be sure to wash your t-shirts after any process.

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