Does DTF Printing Last Longer than Sublimation?

There are many ways to print images on fabric, sublimation printing and DTF are two of the most common methods used in garment printing. While both methods can provide high-quality printing effects, each has advantages and disadvantages, and an important difference is how long the printed image lasts. Does DTF printing last longer than sublimation printing?
Below is a comparison to help you determine which printing method is better for your production.

What is Sublimation Printing?
In sublimation printing, the ink goes directly from a solid state to a gas. This allows the ink to bind to the fibers of the fabric and you can barely feel the image on the shirt. The material’s texture remains unchanged. The image is printed on sublimation paper and then transferred from the paper to the fabric.


What is DTF Printing?
Direct-to-film printing (DTF)  on a particular film, is then transferred to the chosen fabric or leather using a heat press. After the fabric dries, you can feel the print on the fabric by touching it with your hand. It is smooth to the touch though. But the texture is different from the ordinary, unprinted fabric.


How long do images last?
Sublimation images last longer under normal conditions. The life of a DTF print may exceed that of a sublimated image under certain circumstances. By “last longer” means that the image remains vibrant and does not fade, peel or crack. There are many factors that can affect the duration of the image on the fabric.

Factors Affecting Image Durability
The duration of an image on a shirt or other fabric depends on the following factors:
Printing process. Images from different printing techniques differ in terms of retention time, as the ink bonds perfectly to the fabric, and sublimation printing usually lasts longer than DTF.

Quality of the printing ink. Ink quality makes a big difference. The higher quality of the ink used in any printing method, the better image will print and the longer it will last.

Quality of the printer. The quality of the printer affects the life of the printed image. High-speed printers are designed to produce large quantities of garments quickly, with a corresponding drop in quality. Before choosing a printer, you need to take into account your production goals.

Type of fabric. Sublimation printing performs best on polyester or blends with at least 2/3 polyester content. there are virtually no fabric limitations to DTF printing. DTF patterns on cotton may fade more quickly than sublimation patterns on polyester because polyester and other synthetic materials resist fading longer than cotton.

Choose the most suitable printing method for your production goals.
If your goal is to produce a large number of different styles of printed garments, with DTF printing may be best for you. If your goal is to produce realistic, high-definition printed images, sublimation printing is your best option. When it comes to printing lasting images, your printing ink and equipment are the most important factors.

YIQIA DIGITAL Has Everything You Need for Apparel Printing
Whether you decide on sublimation printing or DTF, YIQIA DIGITAL has the supplies you need, from ink to sublimation paper and dtf film. Contact us now or browse our products at
Maybe you are also interested in this article: What is Sublimation Paper & Why it’s Important?

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