5 ways for How to Remove Sublimation Inks for Mugs

Among all the sublimation substrates, ceramic remains the most rigid surface to hold up sublimation ink. That’s joyful news until you run into the following situations. 

5 ways for How To Remove Sublimation Inks For Mugs
  • Got blurry prints as a result of overheating. 
  • Bleeding and ghosting of ink. 
  • Print fading out. 
  • Simply hate the design now! 

Now things get heated, and the trouble gets doubled when you don’t want to throw the mug out. Well, you don’t need to because here roundup of secret recipes and underground hacks for how to remove sublimation inks from mugs. Just stay tuned till the end! 

Can you remove sublimation from mugs: 

Apparently, yes. But the answer really comes down to your ceramic quality and the rigidity of your chemical substance. Even though it’s easy to have a quick fix with various kitchen essentials, i.e. vinegar or dishwashing detergent–even scotch brite! 

There are certain hacks that help you “fix” your mug if you don’t want to confide it in the trash can yet. In fact, you can also get rid of the sublimation coating with a mix of a few chemicals available at your end.

However, bar in mind, that there’s no “marketed” solution for the sublimation ink removal yet. These methods will only lighten, fix up, or in rare cases get the sublimation ink removed by 70-80% only. 

5 ways for removing sublimation ink from Mug: (Quick fixes) 

In these five methods, we’re making quick fixes to the printing errors–not getting off the entire coating. As long as the designs are minor, and you’re patient and consistent, these will forever work for you. 

Heating: 

removing sublimation ink from Mug by heating

Heating is the most efficient way for sublimation ink removal. Basically, it’s the reverse of the sublimation process. As we lock the ink at high temperatures before it evaporates, we’ll do the same here, but this time, we won’t let it cool down. Instead, scratch the ink away with any scrubber or scotch brite. 

Steps
  • Lit the stove and keep your mug over it for 10 minutes. 
  • While wearing your heat-resistant gloves, scrub the sublimated area and wipe it off with a sponge. 
  • Wash the mug again with normal water. 

Vinegar:

removing sublimation ink from mugs by venegar

Vinegar is a trouble-method and best works with over-heated cups (blurry designs). Because vinegar contains acid, and has properties to react with the sublimation ink, it gets the ink into its liquid form, and so it allows quick wiping off. 

Process: 
  • Soak cotton into the vinegar. 
  • Rub the area with wet cotton until the cotton soaks up all the ink. 

Well, don’t be harsh on the cup. If all the ink doesn’t come out in 7-8 minutes. Leave it as it is. 

Quick Tip: wrap the wet cotton on the cup for 10 minutes before rubbing, and it’ll save time and effort, collectively. 

Dishwasher: 

removing sublimation ink from mugs by dishwasher

Dishwasher is the oldest, and the widely used method for getting rid of the sublimation design on your mug. It requires two additives, i.e., dishwasher detergent and a brush or scrubber. 

Process: 
  • At the lower rack, set the dishwasher at the highest temperature, and add some detergent. 
  • Run your mug into it for 4-7 times until all the ink starts fading away. 
  • Get the mug out and scrub the ink off with a toothbrush/ scrubber. 
  • Wash the mug with hot water. 
  • Let the mug dry and you’re back with your blank mug. 

Oven: 

Oven works the same as the heating. It’s just a bit safer than the stove, since the fire could encapsulate burn marks on the cup. 

  • Preset your oven at 400F. 
  • Wash your mug with soap and place a “dry” mug in the oven.
  • Heat the mug for about an hour. 
  • After letting the mug out, scrub with any citric acid, alcohol, or vinegar. 
  • Wipe the cup off, and wash it with hot water. 
removing sublimation ink from mugs by oven

Well, that method is lengthy and also requires loads of energy. Only go for this method, if you’ve any emotional attachment with the mug, or remove sublimation of a bulk of cups. Otherwise, we suggest stocking to the rest. 

Rubbing alcohol / Nail Paint Remover: 

Rubbing alcohol and nail paint remover contains acetone–a highly reactive chemical to the sublimation ink. Alcohol is among those chemicals that get the ink out from any rigid substrate, be it fabric or wood. Their discussion won us a mention in our article “sublimation ink removal from shirts”, where we did several experiments with shirts to get out the permanent stains of sublimation ink. 

removing sublimation ink from mugs by nail paint remover
removing sublimation ink from mugs by rubbing alcohol
Process:   
  • Dip a paper towel in rubbing alcohol and wrap it around the cup for 5 minutes. OR apply alcohol/ paint thinner with a brush on the cup and let it set for 5 minutes. 
  • Take a razor blade and see if the ink is coming out. 
  • If not, let the mug stay in alcohol for 2-3 more minutes. 
  • Gently scrape off the ink. 
  • Wash the mug with dishwasher detergent in hot water and let it chill out. 

Renewing the sublimation design: 

As we mentioned earlier, none of the methods will give you a 100% result. Therefore, we can cover up the entire mug either in two ways to fix the error. 

  • Over coat of ceramic paint
  • Collapsible foam / fabric koozie. 

Over coat of ceramic paint:

Ceramic painting will get you a whole new mug at a budget. You simply have to gather the colors in tone with the sublimate colors on the cup or you can go for the white color, and paint it all over the cup. However, you’ve to leave the mug overnight to get the paint rigid on the surface. This way, you can also re-sublimate your mug with a new design. 

Collapsible foam / fabric koozie.  

What about taking the koozie out in the summers too? Well, that covers up the ruined design effectively. Plus, they look very cool and also, you can create one for yourself, if their price point goes out of your budget, or the design doesn’t match with your taste. 

How to remove sublimation coating: 

Now comes the hectic part—removal of an entire coating out of the mug. Well, this is still a controversial topic, as removal of sublimation coating is totally impossible. We do agree though, not to mention we’ve 7 ruined coffee mugs on our end, but the 7th one gave us something near success without damaging the mug. So let’s dive into what we tried. 

Required materials: 

  • Baking soda
  • Ammonia solution (1:2 with water) 
  • Vinegar (white) 
  • Hydrogen peroxide acid
  • Water
  • Scrubber or toothbrush 

Process:  

  • Scrub the mug with ammonia solution. 
  • Take vinegar in the bowl and leave your mug in it for 5 minutes. 
  • Do the same with hydrogen peroxide and transfer the mug into the bowl for the next five minutes. 
  • Take the mug out and scrub it again. Better use scotch brite and wipe away the chemicals with its sponge side. 
  • Finally, clean the mug with cold water and set it aside for half an hour to let it dry. 

Our Verdict: 

First, the removal rate is what intrigued us. It’s so far the most successful method we came across. Though, the failure happens when you skip the scrubbing part after the chemical soaking step. Wiping away just after hydrogen peroxide intake will definitely be a hit. However, you’ll not be able to sublimate again on that mug. 

FAQs:

Well, the best way to stop using chlorine-based detergents. Also, always wash your mugs in cold water, and never heat that substrate.

Well, dishwashers aren’t recommended if you want to keep the durability of the sublimated mug. The temperature in the dishwasher makes the print fade away. 

Infusible inks have the same ink used in sublimation, hence you can use them in the dishwasher. However, be careful of not using high-temperatures in it. 

Wrapping up: 

That’s all about how to remove sublimation inks from mugs, and we hope you’ve decided which way you want to go by now. Before we end things here, we’d suggest not to go for the removal of sublimation. You may cover up with coating or koozie, if you can’t stand the design. In case of a printing error, you may get it corrected with alcohol or vinegar. While for the rest, we’d suggest you another ripple of blank mugs and keep the previous one to a trash can .

Emily

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