Why can’t you sublimate on cotton?

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Sublimation is a printing process in which a dye is absorbed into the fibers of the fabric and leaves a permanent print. While it’s commonly used on cotton fabrics, this process can be difficult—if not impossible—to achieve with certain materials. In this blog post, we’re going to explore why sublimation can be difficult on specific materials and offer tips on overcoming these challenges. From pre-printing testing to selecting the right printing press, read on to learn more about how to get the most out of your sublimation project.

What is sublimation?

Sublimation changes a solid substance into a gas without passing through a liquid phase. Sublimation can occur at any temperature, but it is most common at lower temperatures where the vapor pressure of the sublimate is lower than that of the liquid. Heat also plays an important role in sublimation.

One reason you can’t sublimate on cotton is that the vapor pressure of water is much higher than the vapor pressure of ethylene oxide (the chemical used to make the cotton fabric soft). In order for ethylene oxide to evaporate from the surface of cotton and form a gas, it needs to overcome the vapor pressure of water. However, because water has a much higher vapor pressure, this won’t happen very often, if ever.

How to sublimate on cotton

Sublimation is a process of changing the physical state of something from a liquid to a gas without passing through the gas phase. Sublimation can be accomplished by heating a material until it reaches its vaporization point, which will cause the molecules to break free from the solid or liquid form.

One of the most common materials for sublimation is cotton. When cotton is heated, it releases water vapor and heat. The vaporized water starts to turn into a gas, which then cools and condenses back into liquid form on contact with air. This process is called sublimation. However, because cotton does not reach its vaporization point very quickly, it is not able to sublimate completely. This means that some of the water remains in solid form (in this case, as cotton fiber).

Sublimation on cotton: What are the benefits?

Sublimation is the process of changing a substance from a solid to a gas. This can be done by heating the substance until it vaporizes, at which point the liquid vaporizes and leaves the solid behind. Sublimation on cotton is possible if the temperature is high enough, but there are some limitations to consider.

The most obvious limitation is that sublimation on cotton results in a very low-quality print because the cotton will not hold its shape when printed. Additionally, because cotton does not have a strong enough molecular structure to retain heat, it can be difficult to control the sublimation process and create consistent prints.

How to sublimate on cotton: What are the risks?

Sublimation is a process where a material changes from a solid to a gas without passing through the liquid state. This can be done using any substance that is heated to a high enough temperature that the atoms in the substance become agitated and start moving around.

Cotton is not the best material for sublimation because it doesn’t absorb heat well. When cotton is heated, its molecules start vibrating so quickly that they can’t hold onto their electrons. This causes them to break down into energy cells, or quarks, which are then free to move around. As these cells get closer and closer to the heat source, they start to vaporize (turn into gas). However, because cotton doesn’t have a good ability to hold on to these vaporized molecules, they usually escape back into the air as heat instead of staying inside the substrate (cotton sheet) where they could turn into pieces of clothing. Visit solution4people for more about Sublimation printing.

There are two major risks associated with sublimation: fire and explosion. The first risk comes from the fact that when cotton transitions from a solid form to a gas form, it can create small flames. If these flames get too big or if there’s something else in the room that catches on fire (like paper), an explosion may occur. The second risk comes from the fact that when vaporized molecules escape from cotton sheets, they can contain harmful chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde. These chemicals are known toxins and inhalation of even tiny amounts can lead


Cotton is a great material for fabricating clothing, but it’s not the best choice for sublimation printing. Cotton doesn’t hold up to heat very well, which can cause the ink to fade and lose its color. Additionally, cotton fibers are absorbent and can cause water spots on printed fabrics if they get wet.