If you have bought dye sublimation ink in bulk or you have left over ink from a previous project, you may be wondering how you should store it safely. There are a few different options. If stored improperly the ink can separate or even grow bacteria causing it to be unusable. If you want your ink to last, follow these simple suggestions.
Most dye sublimation ink is water based. These inks normally come in bottles that are already marked with an expiration date from the manufacturer. Once this date hits, no matter what storage you use these inks are no longer good. In addition to the expiration date, you should also avoid freezing. Water based inks cannot be stored in a freezer. If frozen when the ink is defrosted it separates and is no longer useable. Avoid this by taking extra care of your ink and watching the expiration dates carefully.
Air Tight Container
All ink should be stored in an airtight container. Most inks should already be shipped with a bottle that is safe to store. However, if it isn’t you can try shirk wrapping your container to keep out air. All containers also need to be stored flat. Any tilt from a shelf can cause the levels in the ink to mix. If you see any slight separation simply swirl the bottle in slow circles. Avoid too much shaking or vigorous movement. Too much shaking can cause air bubbles, which can mess up your printing. If bubbles and shaking occurs, allow the ink to sit overnight so that the bubbles will dissolve.
Water based dye sublimation ink is very prone to bacteria. Therefore, avoid sunlight and too much heat. These two things can create bacteria. These bacteria can grow and cause your printer jets to become clogged and no longer operate correctly, eventually ruining your printer head.
Tap water has so much bacteria already that if you use it to clean your tools, it could cause bacteria to ruin your printer. If you can, use distilled water to clean all funnels and syringes used to fill ink cartridges. If you use tap water to make sure that all your tools are completely dry before having contact with your ink. When refilling cartridges never leave your bottle, open to the air.
The main thing to remember when storing your dye sublimation ink is to keep it air tight and away from any form of bacteria. If your ink comes into much contact with either of these things, they will no longer be good. Using bad ink cannot only ruin your equipment, but your products as well. Another thing to keep in mind is to never combine colors. If for some reason one color has an issue with bacteria, bubbles, or air you don’t want to contaminate other colors as well. Leave the printer to do its job. You just focus on creating your best possible masterpieces.