Having issues with dye migration?
What is Dye Migration?
Dye migration occurs when the residual dye gases off the polyester fabric and migrates into the inks film. This occurs in different degrees depending on heat, humidity and the amount of dye and color use to dye the polyester either in a polyester garment or polyester blend. Polyester fabric does not absorb the dye as cotton does. These dyes are heat sensitive and when they reach higher temperatures they begin to gas. While the ink films cover areas where the gas is trying to escape it becomes trapped in the ink film and the warm soft ink film acts as a sponge to absorb that gas. Low Bleed and Polyester Inks, as well as polyester blocker inks, are design to chemically reduce, or block this migration and keep the gas below the ink surface. The better the bleed resistance ability the ink has, the better it will block the migration. Polyester inks have the highest percentage of bleed blocking ability. You can also use the Barrier of Blocker under base that also filters and blocks migration.
Dye Migration Test
- Lay test fabric on transfer machine.
- Apply a quarter size spot of plasticizer (EA0005 Viscosity Reducer) or clear Gel ink.
- Lay a piece of white cloth or pellon on top of the plasticizer.
- Heat press at 320ºF (160ºC) for 30 seconds.R
- emove from the press and check the white fabric for staining. The more stain present on the white fabric the more severe the dye migration. Note: All polyester colors will migrate, this test is to gauge the severity of that migration and allow you to choose the proper low bleed ink.
- Test several known good fabrics (previous production runs) and compare the stain characteristics of those to the test stain to determine a pass/fail specification.
Suggested ink to use
Print with a quality low bleed (EL NPT Series) ink as an under base when printing on polyester or polyester/cotton colored textiles. Rutland’s EL9074 NPT LB White and EV9240 LB White are very effective options when printing on polyester/cotton blends. The EL9749 Super Poly White is recommended when printing on 100% polyester substrates. Testing is suggested when new lots and or types of garments are to be printed.
Contributing Author: Dave Julo, Midwest Regional Territory Manager, Poly One / Rutland Ink