How long does sublimation ink last? Get to know the expiry and shelf life of any Ink brand:

Like humans, sublimation inks have an expiry date too. The expiry date differs from brand to brand, and the ink becomes dead after that period. Simply put, your sublimation isn’t mortal. It won’t work the same for a lifetime. So, how long does sublimation ink last? We hoped it was a straightforward one-word answer. But unfortunately, we gotta dive deeper into several ink brands, and that is what we’re going to do in this article.

How long does sublimation ink last

The ink’s brand isn’t the only thing concerning the lifespan of an ink. It has an expiry date and a shelf life, and both differ. A shelf date of sublimation ink is the fresh period applicable before the seal is open or the remaining product left after installing the ink in the printer. Expiry dates start the reverse countdown once the ink is sealed-open and installed in the printer. This is where most sublimators get confused. So, let’s smash your confusion with this 3-minute guide and tell you everything.

How long does unopened sublimation ink last? Shelf Date of Sublimation ink

Usually, sublimation ink will have a 2-year of shelf life. This means you can buy sublimation ink and store them without opening the seal for two years. It’s not an evident life, though. External conditions can alter this period. Plus, the opened seal also affects this period. For example, once you open the bottle of 140 mL and wish to keep 80 mL in the printer, save the remaining 60 mL. It won’t stay fresh for a longer time.

And every ink has different requirements for temperature and humidity. Some inks survive average temperatures, while others can’t stay the same even at 20 C. So, let’s get to the brands of each sublimation ink and know the details. Starting from the…

Epson:

Epson has both cartridges and bottled inks. Both cartridges and bottles have a similar shelf life, but the bottles require extra care. They need to store in a cool, dark, and dry place. Make sure there’s no sunlight or Sunrays. You can keep them in the refrigerator under 5 to 15 C temperature.  

Epson 

This is for both the seal open and close unless the ink isn’t installed in the printer. However, tightly cap the bottle after using the required amount.

Sawgrass: 

Sawgrass 

Sawgrass has 3 sets of ink for their sublimation printer: SubliJet HD and UHD, ChromaBlast HD and HD, and EasySubli. EasySubli is in partnership with Siser for printing HTV, so we’re not going down there. The remaining two inks have 2 years of shelf life, just like the Epson.

Popular third-party sublimation ink for Epson printer conversion: 

As we know, there are only two brands of sublimation printers to date. Epson sublimation ink is for only three models, i.e., F570 and F170. The rest of the inkjet printers require a conversion with a third-party ink, whose instruction and information also count to keep up your sublimation printer functional and clog-free.

Hiipoo: 

Hiipoo ink

Hippo sublimation, in all types, has a shelf life of 2 years, according to their customer support. However, the ink has to be stored at a temperature of <25 C.

Printer’s Jack:

Printer’s Jack

Under 30 C, Printer’s Jackie ink can be stored for 2 years. 

Cosmos: 

Cosmos ink has a minimal shelf life. It can last as short as 9 months, and if kept carefully per the manufacturer’s instructions, the ink will remain usable for a year.

A-SUB Sublimation Ink:

A-SUB Sublimation Ink 

A-Sub produces the most versatile sublimation ink, just like their papers. Their ink lasts for 2 years, even under high temperatures. 

Cobra Sublimation Ink:

Cobra sublimation ink can be kept for one and a half years. 

Expiry dates of top 2 sublimation ink brands: 

Does sublimation ink expire? Here comes our main concern. We learned how long sublimation ink would last (sealed and unopened). But when you install the cartridge or seal open the bottle, how long will you be able to print with the same ink in the printer? 

How long does Epson Ink last after it’s opened?

How long does Epson Ink last after it’s opened?

Once you install the sublimation ink in the printer, whether in the cartridge or the tank, the expiry date starts running reverse. You’ll have a 6-month countdown until you have effective ink inside, providing no banding, ghosting, or printer lines. The ink can also last a month if you’re careless and often leave your tanks sealed open. 

How long does Sawgrass ink last after it’s opened?

Sawgrass ink

Sawgrass hasn’t introduced bottled ink, so you’ll have them seal-packed unless you install them in the printer. After the cartridge is open, you’ll have 6 months or fewer till you exhaust the ink. The company claims it to be 1 year, though. However, we’ve constantly tested the different quality outputs once the 6-month period is over. Sawgrass ink’s life is precarious, although it’s the highest quality ink available in the market today. It’s better to consume the ink as early as you can.

How long does unopened Third-Party sublimation ink last?

unopened Third-Party sublimation ink last

Typically, any third-party sublimation ink will have an expiry date mentioned on the bottle and run fresh for the exact same period. The expiry date usually possesses a 6 to 12-month period, after which they dry, get thick, or print lines on the paper. Here are the expiry dates of popular third-party sublimation ink. 

Hiipoo: 

A 100 ML Hippo sublimation can be used within 1 year. Ensure your printer’s nozzles are clean and clog-free before installing the ink.  

Printer’s Jack:

The printer’s Jack ink has an expiry date of a year after it’s sealed open. 

Cosmos: 

Cosmos is the only brand having the same life whether you open the seal or not. After installing it in the printer, the ink will run perfectly for a year or less. 

A-sub sublimation ink: 

A-sub ink is water-based ink with a low density, meaning the printer will take more quantity to provide good quality. Their ink never lasts for over 3 months if your printing volume is 50 pages per month. 

Safety measures to ensure the best results from your sublimation printer and ink:

Well, now it depends on you. You can enhance the lifespan of your ink as well as your printer by following certain measures. Here are a few tips to help you keep sublimation ink stored for longer.

  • Don’t store sublimation ink at room temperature. The higher humidity and temperature have adverse effects and will lead the ink to lose its chemical bonds, resulting in stale ink you can never store. 
  • Use your refrigerator to store the ink. The temperature and humidity will be stable there, and you can preserve the ink for longer.
  • Make sure you wrap the ink in the box so no light can pass through them. This is because most inks aren’t UV resistant and tend to have reduced quality when particular light passes through them. 
  • Always clean your printer before installing cartridges or filling tanks.
  • For the remaining ink, permanently cap the bottle tightly.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Sublimation ink on the mug can last for 10-15 years if your cup is constantly used and you’ve washed it with warm water. However, if you stick to the instruction to store substrate with sublimation ink, they’ll last for a lifetime.

A 100 mL sublimation ink lasts 2 years if the seal is unopened. After you open the cap, the ink should be used within 6 months.

A UV-protected sublimation ink will last a lifetime on a T-shirt if you follow the correct washing methods. A non-UV ink will have a reduced time and stay unscratched on the shirt for at least 3-5 years.

Wrap up: 

As you know the shelf life and expiry dates of sublimation inks, you’d probably have guessed how versatile sublimation inks are. A 2-year period is one of the longest time spans any ink, whether pigmented or gel-based, has lasted. Besides, if you take safety measures, you’ll have them longer with you. So, it all comes down to you and your storage methods for how long does sublimation ink lasts. We hope the article was helpful and helped you find your answers. If we left anything, let us know in the comments! Have a nice day.

Emily

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