WHAT IS DISCHARGE screen printing?

Discharge ink is a type of ink used primarily on dark colored organic fabrics. The ink contains a chemical called a discharge agent that, when heated, removes the dye in the fabric and creates a bleached surface. The ink also contains pigments that are printed into the fabric and revealed by the discharge agent. The result is similar to water based ink on a white tee, resulting in a vibrant, opaque print but on a dark colored fabric. Discharge ink is often used to achieve a soft, vibrant look on t-shirts. However, it only works on organic materials with certain dyes and does not work on cotton pigment-dyed items. The softness that you would expect with discharge really takes form after the garment is washed. When used on triblends (partially organic, partially synthetic materials), it can result in an appealing vintage look.

+ Vibrant
+ Extra soft hand
+ Lightweight
+ Great breathability
- Wash required for soft hand
- Higher cost
- Inconsistent color matching across garments
- Risk of color inaccuracy
- Only works on cotton


Discharge ink is an excellent choice for large, solid print areas and provides great results when printing over seams, pockets, and zippers. It truly shines when used for low color count designs on dark 100% cotton garments, particularly for designs featuring all-white graphics that aim for an off-white, natural appearance. Discharge ink offers the added advantage of an ultra-soft feel on dark garments. However, it's important to note that it may not be the best option for reproducing important brand colors, handling high-color-count artwork, creating photorealistic prints, or working with synthetic materials. The outcome can vary greatly depending on the garment's color and material, making it very important to understand when to use discharge ink and when a different ink may better suit your printing needs.


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