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Discharge Characteristics:

Discharge water based screen printing inks offers a unique solution for garment decoration. This ink can be printed as direct discharge, dye discharge, or used as an under base for water based or plastisol inks. Discharge water based inks generate a softer feel on garments and give a unique vintage look that customer’s love.

Discharging is a chemical process that removes the dye from the cotton fibers in the weave of fabric. Cotton, even in blended fabrics, must be over-dyed with reactive dyes, and only the cotton threads in the fabric will discharge.  Discharge can be used to return the printed area to its original pre-dyed natural color or shades. Discharge printing does not allow for exact PMS color matching, and most of the time a specified PMS color should be used as a targeted color range to guide the printer to hold the integrity of the design. Not all fabrics are dischargeable, nor will all fabrics discharge the same, even throughout the same dye lots. Experience has shown that specific reactive-dyed fabric colors do not discharge as well as others, specifically royal, red, purple, and Kelly green. The design and merchandising teams should note, for example, when attempting discharge white on purple, the result will be a shade of lavender. The same holds true with Kelly green, the result would be a mint shade. The designer should design to these types of color variances or results when merchandising calls for these specific colors. For the best results, each dye lot of fabric should be tested by placing a small dot of discharge ink on an unseen area of the garment (inside hem) or on a raw piece of fabric used to construct the garment and then running it through the dryer. This will help ensure consistent results and determine fabric is discharge-ready. Discharge printing will work on any percentage of cotton threads used in the weave of the fabric makeup, but for best results always use as close to 100% cotton and make sure the fabric has been reactive-dyed.

Discharge screen printing is becoming very popular in today’s market. Zubie Wear is committed to bring our valued customers current and fresh ideas.

Technical Advantages

Technical Disadvantages

  • Limited to fabrics with reactive-dyed cotton makeups
  • Ink is not capable of exact PMS color matching
  • Production times are slower, this ink is very aggressive against emulsion which creates shorter runs and higher reject rates
  • Increase in cost of garment due to slower production rates and additives in the ink