How to Bleach Shirts for Sublimation?

How to Bleach Shirts for Sublimation?

We bleach shirts for sublimation printing because it brightens, whitens, and removes stains on the print area. In other words, the design acts like a bright white background which highlights the colors and design of the artwork after you sublimate it.

One of the main reasons for bleaching clothes is that they remove the color from the fabric and whiten it. Unfortunately, bleaching can damage fibers and, ultimately, most of the dye. Therefore, it is appropriate to bleach a shirt that is mainly made of cotton or linen. For sublimation, you can use 65% polyester and 35% cotton tee shirts for bleaching.

Bleaching a black shirt is the best way to achieve bright and vivid prints without losing any detail or clarity. Moreover, you can also customize black t-shirts with light-colored prints without any loss in its detail. Further, it also eliminates the condition of personalizing black t-shirts with dark color prints only.

Steps to Bleach Shirts for Sublimation Printing:

Firstly, get the print the png image file. Depending on your print file size or area, you can bleach as close or far away from the design as you would like. So, use the following items below to bleach a shirt for sublimation printing.

Materials Required:

  • Bleach: Do not use splash-less bleach as it has a thicker consistency and does not do well with bleaching tees.
  • Spray bottle/paintbrush
  • Hydrogen Peroxide solution
  • Synthetic Bristle Paint Brush
  • All-purpose flour
  • Gloves
  • Foam board or cut a piece of cardboard of t-shirt size – To keep in between shirts that do not bleed the bleach through the back.
  • T-shirt: Use heather shirts like the one from Gildan. Because these will bleach white, if you get any other color tees, there is a chance of not getting bright white after bleach.

To bleach a shirt before you sublimate it, follow the steps below:

Step 1:

Slide the foam board/cardboard within the shirt. Align the shirt to make it straight. You can apply a hot iron to keep the surface wrinkle-free before you use bleach.

Step 2:

Next, put your design on the t-shirt where you want to print. Then use your brush and all-purpose flour to make a border mark as a guide to bleach within that area. Further, if you’re going to bleach a lot of the parts of the shirt but mask off a few portions, you can use tape. You can either cut out your design from that or just lay the tape down in the design you want.

Step 3:

Next, apply bleach within the design area using a paintbrush or a spray bottle. Some find it convenient to use a spray bottle as it applies it evenly. However, spray bottles can corrode because of the bleach. Then you have to buy a new one all the time. But with a paintbrush, you can use it multiple times as long as you rinse them properly after you are done with bleaching. In this way, paintbrushes can last for a long time and get the same results as spray bottles.

Step 4:

When you are done with step 3, lay the t-shirt under the sun to dry. You dry bleached t-shirt under the sun because if you wash them, it will spread away from your bleach. So, let them dry properly.

Step 5:

Use hydrogen peroxide solution to spread on the bleached area lightly. Because the bleach is likely to spread beyond the marked border. Applying hydrogen peroxide stops it from spreading.

Step 6:

After you are done with the drying process, you could put them in to wash. You can use a little bit of detergent, and make sure to use warm water because warm water stops the bleaching process.

Step 7:

Once you are done with washing, throw them in the dryer. Finally, you could successfully bleach a shirt for sublimation.


It is better to perform the bleaching of shirts outdoors because bleaching indoors can be harmful due to the heating up of chemicals.

If you are done with all the steps of bleaching discussed above, you are ready to sublimate your shirts.

Related Questions:

What will happen if you breach shirts after sublimation printing?

If you bleach shirts after sublimation printing, the print will have a dull and faded look because the bleach above the dye will ruin or partially wash it away. So, it is best to bleach shirts before you sublimate to achieve bright, clear, and vivid prints.

Written by Davis Brown

Hi! I'm Davis Brown, Head of Editorial Team of HowNest. We are team of researchers, writers and veterans. We publish articles, whitepapers, journals and blogs with full-proof research and proper analysis. We focus on various areas such as eCommerce, industrial operations, corporate management, technologies, and DIY solutions.

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