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Fabric Discoloration and How to Prevent it


Fabric Discoloration, also known as "Ghosting" or "Bleaching", results from a reaction that takes place between ingredients used in some Lo-Bleed inks and some reactive dyes in 100% cotton garments. Yellow dyes seem to be the most troublesome.


A faint, almost invisible, "ghost" image of the printed design is sometimes visible on the back side or inside of garments that have come in contact with a white ink print.

The Reaction

Three conditions need to be present for the discoloration to take place - heat, pressure and humidity. Take away any one of these three conditions and the reaction will not take place. The heat comes from the garments as they exit the dryer; pressure from stacking these hot garments as they exit the dryer; and humidity from moisture contained in the cotton garments.

The Solution(s)

A. Use White inks formulated specifically for 100% cotton garments, or use a "non" lo-bleed white ink.

B. Check to be sure that the inks you are using do not contain any bleaching agents (such as peroxide). International Coatings inks contain no bleaching agents. Some competitive brands do.

C. Do not stack garments hot. Stagger stack - i.e., place them in several sequential stacks - and cool with a fan while stacking at the end of the dryer.


To determine if your fabric is prone to ghosting, follow this simple test prior to production:

Equipment Needed:
Heat Transfer Machine set @ 200°F (93°C)

Test Procedure

1. Print the suspect fabric with the white ink you intend to use in production and fuse/cure normally.




2. Cover the printed area with another piece of the suspect fabric and mist VERY lightly with water.




3. Place the fabric set into the Transfer Machine, set @ 200°F (93°C), with minimal pressure (5 psi).




4. Close the machine and leave for up to 4 hours. Some fabric will discolor within 5 to 10 minutes. If the material is prone to "ghosting," you will see the "ghost" image on the un-printed fabric.


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Recommendations and statements made are based on International Coatings' research and experience. Since International Coatings does not have any control over the conditions of use or storage of the product sold, International Coatings cannot guarantee the results obtained through use of its’ products. All products are sold and samples given without any representation of warranty, expressed or implied, of fitness for any particular purpose or otherwise, and upon condition that the buyer shall determine the suitability of the product for its own purpose. This applies also where rights of third parties are involved. It does not release the user from the obligation to test the suitability of the product for the intended purpose and application. Rev72600









































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