Testing color fastness

How to Test the Color Fastness After Sublimation Ink Transfer?

Color fastness is a key player when it comes to sublimation printing.

It refers to how well the colors in your prints withstand factors like washing, rubbing, and exposure to light. Testing color fastness is crucial to ensure your designs remain vibrant and true over time.

Today, we will help you understand how to test the color fastness after sublimation ink transfer.

Let’s get started with the basics.

Understanding Color Fastness

Color fastness is a measure of how well colors endure various environmental stresses, such as washing and exposure. In sublimation printing, this quality is paramount for ensuring lasting, vibrant designs. Understanding color fastness involves recognizing its importance in maintaining print integrity over time.

Numerous factors, including substrate quality and sublimation paper, influence color fastness in sublimation prints.

Additionally, various tests, such as washing, rubbing, and light fastness, help gauge the resilience of the colors.

Preparing for Color Fastness Testing

Before diving deeper into color fastness testing, gather essential materials: a sample of your sublimation print, appropriate detergents, and a rubbing cloth.

Create a controlled testing environment, ensuring consistent factors like water temperature and lighting. Before initiating the test, consider the specifics of your sublimation materials, such as the type of ink, paper, and fabric.

Adequate preparation guarantees accurate and meaningful results in assessing how well your prints endure wear, washing, and light exposure.

Step-by-Step Guide to Color Fastness Testing

Washing Test

  1. Prepare the Sample:
  • Cut a small section from your sublimation print to test.
  1. Select Detergent and Water Temperature:
  • Choose a mild detergent suitable for the fabric type.
  • Use water at the recommended temperature for the fabric.
  1. Immerse and Agitate:
  • Submerge the sample in the detergent solution.
  • Agitate gently to simulate washing conditions.
  1. Rinse and Dry:
    • Rinse the sample thoroughly with clean water.
    • Allow it to air dry or follow recommended drying conditions.
  1. Observe Color Changes:
  • Examine the sample for any color alterations after washing.
  • Note any fading, bleeding, or changes in vibrancy.

Conditions to Be Aware of:

  • Use detergent and water temperatures relevant to the fabric type.
  • Follow recommended washing and drying instructions for accurate results.

Rubbing Test

  1. Prepare the Rubbing Cloth:
  • Choose a clean, soft cloth for rubbing.
  1. Rub the Sample:
  • Rub the cloth against the sublimation print with consistent pressure.
  • Repeat the rubbing motion for a specified duration.
  1. Evaluate Color Changes:
  • Inspect the sample for any color transfer onto the rubbing cloth.
  • Note any changes in color intensity or abrasion.

Conditions to Be Aware of:

  • Adjust the intensity of rubbing based on expected real-world usage.
  • Consider the fabric’s sensitivity to rubbing.

Light Fastness Test

  1. Expose to Sunlight:
  • Place the sample in direct sunlight for a predetermined duration.
  • Ensure consistent and controlled lighting conditions.
  1. Monitor Exposure Time:
  • Note the duration of exposure to sunlight.
  1. Inspect for Color Changes:
  • Examine the sample for any signs of fading or color shift.
  • Compare it to the original to assess light fastness.

Conditions to Be Aware of:

  • Control exposure time to mimic expected real-world conditions.
  • Shield parts of the sample to gauge the impact of prolonged exposure.

Conducting these tests under controlled and accurate conditions is crucial for obtaining reliable results in assessing the color fastness of sublimation prints. Adjust parameters based on specific fabric types and intended use to ensure the tests accurately reflect real-world scenarios.


Color fastness testing is necessary for maintaining vibrant sublimation prints over time. Regular testing ensures lasting quality and durability.

Sublimation printers are encouraged to prioritize these assessments and make sure to get quality sublimation materials from JD Digital Technologies to achieve reliable and enduring results.