How To Remove Sublimation Ink From Shirt, Mug, Metal Tumbler

You’ve done the sublimation printing in the wrong way or your printer is bleeding while sublimating. You’re worried about whether you can remove the sublimation ink from the t-shirt or not? I still remember when I was a beginner, was sublimating my husband’s t-shirt, and when I heat transferred, it got messed up.

Therefore, it was needed to remove the sublimation correctly and I was successful to remove the ink using several methods so I have decided to write down the method in today’s article that describes how to remove sublimation ink from a shirt. The winning method for me was using denatured alcohol.

Among all the prominent methods, the winning method for removing sublimation ink from mugs was using white vinegar. You can check the images below.

how to remove sublimation ink from the shirt.

How To Remove Sublimation Ink From T-Shirt Or Polyester

However, there is no clear-cut or easy way to remove the sublimation ink because it is water-resistant also cannot be peeled off. The below-mentioned processes are rigid in a way that might irritate you. There are some ways to remove the sublimation ink: Of all the below-mentioned ways, the most result-oriented were bleaching and using denatured alcohol on the fabric.

  • Using denatured alcohol (Effective Way)
  • Bleaching
  • Using cold water
  • Applying heat
  • Using soda water chemical solution
  • Using a pressure washer machine

So let’s begin with the process

1. Using Denatured Alcohol Process

This is the most effective process of removing the sublimation ink completely. I have personally tried this and the results were amazing. If you have printed or transferred the sublimation ink wrongly then you can use denatured alcohol available out there to remove it completely.

Take a cotton bowl and soak it in the denatured alcohol and tap on the sublimated part to fade the spot or image. Tap until the ink is removed completely also make sure to change the cotton ball when the ball is full with the sublimation ink. Pour some alcohol on the spot and let the alcohol dry completely.

After that, use soapy water and wash the shirt with warm water. If the ink still remains there then you need to rub some salt on the affected area and let the t-shirt area soak into the milk overnight. Now rinse the shirt and the sublimation ink might get removed.

Will Bleach Remove Sublimation Ink From Polyester?

Yes, bleaching a t-shirt is the most effective way to remove the sublimation ink. If you put the whole t-shirt in the bleaching chemical, the t-shirt color and ink will be removed permanently thus I am only suggesting that you have transferred the design incorrectly or you’ve got a stain on the shirt.

Use butcher paper and heat-resistant tape and apply the butcher paper on the sides of the design in a rectangle way onto the t-shirt. Apply heat transfer tape to the butcher paper. And apply the bleach spray to remove the ink completely. Dry the bleached part with the hairdryer, wash it, and you’re good to go. Print the rectangle design on the affected part of the t-shirt.

We’ve mentioned whole the process above. Secondly, if the affected cloth is a white polyester you don’t need to spray the specific part of the t-shirt.

But you can put the whole t-shirt into the tub and start bleaching the shirt by letting the t-shirt soak for 30 minutes in bleach. If you’re using chlorine bleach then don’t let the shirt soak for more than 2 minutes. Otherwise, it might damage the clothes.

After that, rinse the bleach and wash the shirt in order to remove the whole sublimation ink and bleach water.

2. Using Cold Water To Remove Sublimation Ink

I tried this method when I was printing the shirt directly from the large format t-shirt sublimation printer and it bleed. This process cannot be applied if you have fully heat-transferred the image onto the t-shirt.

Use a bucket for adding cold water, and put the wrong sublimated shirt in the bucket. Add some cold water to the bucket to freeze the sublimation ink droplets. Cold water will help the sublimation ink to freeze quickly.

When the sublimation ink is frozen quickly it will help you to remove the sublimation ink with the help of a spatula. Once the ink is frozen completely penetrate the ink with a spatula inside the cloth. You’ll be able to remove the parts of the sublimation ink but won’t be able to remove the ink marks.

3. By Applying Heat To Remove Sublimation Ink

Here is another effective way of melting the sublimation ink by applying the heat process. It will require a dryer for melting the ink. Put the affected cloth in the dryer, and heat the cloth for a few minutes until the ink is melted. Repeat the melting process until the sublimation ink is fully melted. Once it is melted wash the cloth carefully.

4. Using Soda Water Chemical Solution At Home

Although this method also doesn’t work 100% thus sublimation ink will leave marks on the t-shirt but you can try it at home effectively. This process will also require a bucket. You’ll need to add 90% of soda and 10% of water. Or you can have an estimation of 6 parts of soda and 1 part of water. Mix the solution very well so that the soda will be mixed properly.

Put the shirt into the mixture for half an hour and stir the solution very well. Check after 30 minutes if the cloth is damped. If not then soak again for 20 minutes. This way the ink will fade out 80% but will not be removed completely.

5. Using A Pressure Washer Machine

Using a pressure washer can also be effective but cannot be guaranteed to remove the ink completely. Using the pressure washer you can remove the normal ink from walls or wood also but sublimation ink becomes a part of the fabric so this process won’t be also a winner to remove 100%.

For removing with a pressure washer, you will need to add some normal water in the pressure water. Wash the t-shirt thoroughly to get better results.

How To Remove Sublimation Ink From Mugs

How To Remove Sublimation Ink From Mugs

If you’re tired of seeing your old sublimated mug or you don’t like the sublimated image on your mug then it’s time to remove the sublimation ink from your mug. The old sublimated mug shouldn’t let you throw the mug but there are several methods to renovate your printed mug. However, the most result-oriented method was to remove the sublimation ink with white vinegar. Some of those are:

  • Removing sublimation ink throw nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol
  • The dishwasher and toaster oven method
  • Using White Vinegar (the winner)

Removing the sublimation ink from the mugs is not a good idea but is only time-consuming. Neither you will receive perfect results nor the image will be removed completely. But still, you can try the detailed below method to proceed results.

However, the permanent solution to remove sublimation ink from hard substrates is to remove the sublimation coat because it is the polymer coat that absorbs the sublimation ink. But removing the coat is a big hassle and might lead to damage to the substrates. So I’m only guiding without removing the coat.

Also, you can check the best sublimation printer for mugs.

1. Removing Sublimation Ink With Nail Polish Remover

If a nail polish remover contains acetone then it is perfect for removing the sublimation ink. Take a clean cloth and pour some nail polish remover over it. Wet the cloth properly so that it is completely wet. Rub the wet cloth over the sublimated image until the ink vanishes.

Make sure to double-check the nail polish remover that must contain acetone because acetone contains the paint removal ingredients that react with the ink thus resulting in the removal of the ink. But this process also cannot remove sublimation ink 100%. You can also use this method for removing sublimation ink from wood substrates.

2. The Dishwasher And Toaster Oven

This process will only fade away the image from the mug but cannot be removed completely. Hence you can also try this method too.

Put the sublimated mug in the lower rack of the dishwasher. Set the high temperature to melt to sublimation ink. Repeat the process several times to disappear the image. Still, your mug will have some flecks of ink.

The toaster oven method is an effective and fast-removing method than a dishwasher. You can put the sublimated mug in the toaster oven and set the temperature at 400F and let the mug bake until the sublimation ink is melted. One important thing, use the heat gloves to remove the mug from the oven to prevent burning hands.

3. Using White Vinegar

The white vinegar method is the most prominent and result-oriented method of removing the sublimation ink 99% from the mug.

take a sponge and start scrubbing the print

Take a bowl and put some white vinegar and make sure to put the quantity that the printed side of the mug should be completely dipped in the vinegar. The mug should be dipped for at least 60 minutes. The more you’ll let the mug dip the lesser you’ll do the effort to scrub.


After 60 minutes, take a sponge and start scrubbing the print. You’ll see the ink will be going to come off. Scrub until the ink is gone completely.

How To Remove Sublimation Ink From Stainless Steel Tumbler

Again, the stainless steel tumbler will not be cleaned completely but you can try out to remove the ink. Bake the sublimated tumbler in the convected oven at the temperature of 390F for 1 hour. This may fade the sublimation ink from the tumbler but you’ll never be able to remove it completely.

Although, a light image can be removed after some washes, and then you can sublimate a dark color image over it. It will have a better effect than the original dull image. And if you do not tend to sublimate it again, then remove the polymer coat and the ink will be also wiped out with the coat.

How To Remove Sublimation Ink from Metal

How To Remove Sublimation Ink from Metal

Removing the ink from metal and aluminum can be utilized in 2 different ways.

  • With white vinegar and apple cider vinegar
  • Using bleach

1. With White Vinegar And Apple Cider Vinegar

Take a bowl and pour the white vinegar. Add enough amount of vinegar so that a tumbler can be dipped easily. Leave it for 45 minutes in the white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, start scrubbing the ink off with the simple scrub and you will see the ink vanishing slowly. Repeat the process until the ink is removed 99%. We tested this method and the winner was white vinegar.

With the apple cider vinegar, the ink was removed very little to no so it is not suggested to remove the sublimation ink with apple cider vinegar.

2. Using Bleach

Bleach is also an effective way to remove the ink. However, the fast method is white vinegar but you can also try this method too. The process is almost the same you need to pour white bleach into a bowl to put the tumbler into it. Leave it for 45 minutes, after that, scrub the sublimation ink with scrub. Repeat the process until the ink is gone.

You will need to repeat the process 3-4 times. And with white vinegar, we observed that the ink vanished the second time. So the winner and fastest method to remove ink from the tumbler is using white vinegar.

Will Acetone Remove Sublimation Ink

Yes, acetone can remove the sublimation ink but it is not recommended to use pure acetone on any kind of substrate because there are chances that acetone can damage the substrate due to chemical activities. In addition, nail polish removers contain a level of acetone so using nail polish to remove the sublimation ink from hard substrates like glass, mugs, and tumblers can be utilized.


Does sublimation fade after washing?

Washing the sublimated t-shirt in a proper way won’t fade the printing. You can check the reasons here why is my sublimation print faded after washing. However, washing the sublimated shirt with hot water or drying it in direct sunlight will result in the fade of the print. Moreover, sublimation ink is not prone to fade or peel if you’re washing it with normal water. Because sublimation ink becomes a part of the fabric. However, if you wash them with bleach then say goodbye to sublimation.

Is sublimation permanent?

Yes, the sublimation ink diffuses into the fabric and thus becomes part of the fabric so the prints are permanent. However, sublimated ink must be printed and transferred in a proper way and are less prone to fading because it turns into heat rather than forming a layer on the top of the fabric.

How long does sublimation ink last on the substrate?

Sublimation ink lasts on the substrate until a substrate remains there. However, sublimation ink on the t-shirts can be faded if you don’t follow the washing instructions. Also, you can check the steps on how to make sublimation brighter.


So we’ve mentioned the sublimation ink removal methods of different substrates including glass, metal, wood, mugs or ceramics, tumblers, and the full method of how to get sublimation ink out of the t-shirt. Get the best affordable sublimation printers and 13×19 sublimation printers.

You cannot remove sublimation ink completely from hard substrates like mugs or tumblers especially when they are coated with polymer or polyester. The ink becomes a part of the polyester. Therefore, you need to remove the polyester coating in order to remove the sublimation ink completely.


  • Jessica Warner

    A printing enthusiast is here to serve you the vision of art. I’m working as a printing artist since my childhood and running a successful business online and offline. I inspire you to create beautiful printings via my select products and How-To tutorials. Warner Jessica

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