Preventing Dye Migration on Your 100% Colored Polyester Fabrics

25 07 2011

What is dye migration you ask?  Some of you may have had the unfortunate experience of having white lettering on a red 100% polyester shirt turn pink after a few weeks.  This is because dye migration has occurred.

100% polyester shirts are colored using sublimation dyes and thus when you print onto the shirt, you will need a special vinyl with a BlockOut layer to prevent the sublimation dye from migrating from the shirt to your printed vinyl.

There are a large selection of colors out there that are either specially made with a blockout layer, or the pigments used have sublimation dye resistance.  The most popular colors are available with a blockout layer and should be used when imaging polyester fabrics.  For the colors that are not available with a blockout layer you should check with your supplier to ensure they are dye resistant prior to using.

The problem of dye migration may not always occur immediately after pressing.  It may occur right after pressing or over a short period of time depending on the material and the color.  However, there are tell tale signs that the shirt will have the problem of dye migration immediately after pressing.  Here is a picture of the self adhesive backing sheet of a white vinyl after it has been pressed and peeled off of a 100% polyester red jersey.

As you can see there are traces of red on the backing sheet which means that the red dye will migrate to the vinyl if the vinyl is not dye resistant.  (Note that if there are no dyes on the backing sheet after pressing the vinyl, it does not mean that dye migration will not occur.)

Luckily I used a white Blockout vinyl, so there will be no issues with dye migration!  We recommend using blockout vinyl whenever you are dealing with 100% polyester clothing just to be on the safe side.  It simply takes out the risk of dye migration.

BlockOut Jersey BlockOut Closeup BlockOut Closeup 2

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5 responses

26 07 2011
Matthew Stikeman

The red dye migrated to your transfer paper from the shirt, wherever the two were in contact. This means that the contact area of the shirt will now be a different colour density than the red over the rest of the shirt. I’ve always found that this is noticable and consequently now you have a defective shirt. What do you do to eliminate that problem?

26 07 2011
D Siu

This can be true; it really depends on the color and the manufacture of the garment.

In our experience, on most garments the slight difference in color is virtually unnoticeable unless studied very closely. We always suggest that a test is done prior to production to ensure the results are acceptable.

22 09 2015
design a shirt

Hello it’s me, I am also visiting this web page regularly, this site
is really pleasant and the people are truly sharing nice
thoughts.

18 11 2016
Hansie

I do have sublimation paper and ink and I have sublimation mugs
I’ve made sublimate mugs and prints with the same equipment with no problems
Yesterday for some reason the image don’t transfer to my product

21 11 2016
D Siu

It could be a number of factors. If the image is not transferring, most likely reason is that the mug has no sublimation coating.

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