When printing garment dyed shirts, it is recommended to use inks and methods that avoid
dye migration. Dye migration occurs when the dyes applied to the fabric move off the
surface of the fabric into the inks applied. Always test your ink with Comfort Colors®
garments for both dye migration issues and to make sure that the particular color of
shirt will “discharge” with your chosen ink. For best results use he recommended
amount of discharge agent and then print within the time where the ink will remain
activated (pot life), usually less than 24 hours. Make sure you have a long enough dwell
time in your oven, as the discharge process occurs when the catalyst, humidity,
and heat combine to“neutralize” the dye in the shirt. A gas oven with good airflow is
usually the best for discharge inks. A hard squeegee or triple durometer squeegee can
help drive the ink into the shirt fabric for better results.
Discharge printing is better suited to direct/reactive dyed garments than pigment
dyed garments. Most manufacturers have inks that prevent dye migration. We advise that
you use them as necessary. Since there are many colors, many weather conditions, a
variety of types of dryers and flashes, and artwork changes,there is no one
“right” way to print these garments. In some cases a “low bleed” formulation will be
effective, if problems still persist you need to use a dye blocking grey ink.
In general use as little heat as possible while still curing the ink, that is both in
terms of flashing and in your oven. In certain cases a longer flashing or drying time
and lower heat levels are recommended. Additionally, the soft fibers of the shirts
shorten the adhesion time to your platens. In order to maintain registration,
reapplication of adhesive may have to be done more often.