We all have those proud moments of creating something from scratch. For you, it’s a sublimation mug that turned out really impressive. But now you’re worried about how to clean it safely. Will the dishwasher ruin your design?
Fear not. This article will help you to learn about safe sublimation mug washing techniques. You’ll learn whether you can put it in a dishwasher, what tips you should follow, and how to prevent the sublimation from fading.
So, keep reading to clear out all your confusion.
Are Sublimation Mugs Dishwashers Safe?
Yes, sublimation mugs are dishwasher-safe. They can withstand up to 100,000 cycles of washing in a dishwasher. But the longevity of the colors depends on the mug and sublimation ink quality. Usually, sublimation designs start fading if the mugs are washed frequently.
Some manufacturers claim the colors on the sublimation mugs will not fade due to dishwasher washing. In this case, you can ask for an SGS/BV test report as proof.
Are Cricut Sublimation Mugs Dishwasher Safe?
Yes, Cricut Sublimation Mugs are dishwasher safe. But like most sublimation mugs, they are prone to fading over time. It only happens if you wash them in a dishwasher frequently (e.g., 2-3 times a day).
It’s because the hot water affects the sublimation ink layer. Heat destroys the sublimation ink and as a result, you receive a faded design.
So, it’s best to hand wash Cricut Sublimation Mugs. You can use the dishwasher in case of an emergency when you don’t have time. This practice will help your Cricut Sublimation Mugs to stay vibrant in the long run.
Maintaining Sublimation Mug Quality In The Dishwasher
To maintain the sublimation mug quality in a dishwasher, you must keep the following aspects in mind.
Secure the Top Rack
While using a dishwasher for sublimation mugs, you must place the mug on the top rack always. It’ll keep the mug at a distance from the heating elements.
So, when the dishwasher starts working, the sublimation mug will only get exposed to the temperature of the water, not the excess temperature of the heating elements. It’ll protect the sublimation print from fading.
Use a Mild Detergent
Another important thing is to use a mild detergent in the dishwasher. If you use a harsh detergent, it’ll scrape off the sublimation ink with water pressure.
So, while choosing a detergent, you must avoid harsh chemicals like dioxane, formaldehyde, and bleach. Simply, mild soap and water mixture will be enough to clean your sublimation mug in a dishwasher.
Avoid High-Temperature Settings
As you know sublimation ink crumbles in heat, don’t set the dishwasher at a high-temperature cycle for cleaning the sublimation mug.
In a high-temperature setting, the dishwasher uses hot water at 130°F (54°C). Though the sublimation ink discolors at 300°F, frequent washing at high-temperature cycles reduces the ink quality.
So, it’s best to use the dishwasher occasionally, (e.g., 1x/2x a week) at normal cycle, 51-60°C (124-140°F) for cleaning sublimation mugs.
Safe Washing Methods For Sublimation Mugs
As you can see washing sublimation mugs in a dishwasher comes with a lot of caution. So, the safest washing method for sublimation mugs is handwashing them.
Here’s how to safely wash your sublimation mug without destroying the sublimation print.
Step 1: Prepare the Detergent Mixture
The first step is to prepare the solution for cleaning your sublimation mug. For this, take 2-3 squirts of mild dishwashing soap or mild detergent in a small bowl. Then, add 4-5 drops of lukewarm water in it to form a paste-like consistency.
Step 2: Scrub the Dirt on the Sublimation Mug
The next step is to clean the visible dirt on the mug. For this, you need to take a foam scrubber and dip it in the detergent mixture.
Pump the scrubber a bit to make the detergent mixture foam on the scrubber. Then, take the foamy scrubber and scrub the whole mug. Make sure you reach every corner and scrub gently.
Note: Never use a steel scrubber for cleaning sublimation mugs. Steel scrubbers will corrode the sublimation ink and fade it immediately.
Step 3: Rinse the Sublimation Mug Thoroughly
As soon as you finished scrubbing the whole mug, it’s time to rinse off the dirt. For rinsing, you must use cold or lukewarm water.
Scrub lightly on the surface of the mug while washing the sublimation mug. This will help you to clean the mug faster and better than only pouring water.
Step 4: Air Dry the Sublimation Mug
Finally, you need to take a microfiber cloth and wipe the water off the mug. Make sure there are no water drops left, or else it’ll create water rings once the mug is dried. Then, finally let the sublimation mug air dry naturally.
Voila! That’s how you clean your sublimation mugs without worrying about damaging the sublimation.
How to Make a Dishwasher-Safe Mug?
To make a dishwasher-safe mug, your prime concern should be to develop a mug that can withstand harsh temperatures.
Dishwashers work based on water pressure on an average of 120-150°F (49-66°C). Some models can also reach up to 180°F (82°C). When you’re choosing a dishwasher-safe mug, you should ensure the mug material and ink infused can tolerate these temperatures.
Again, the mug should have a coating to seal or protect the designs. Otherwise, the designs will fade due to extreme water force.
Finally, a dishwasher-safe mug should also be able to withstand detergents while cleaning them.
What Kind Of Mugs Have to Use For Sublimation?
For sublimation, you have to use mugs having RN coating, JS coating, or polyester-based coating.
These coatings help the sublimation mugs to be dishwasher-safe and can withstand up to 1000+ wash cycles. You can also drink out of these mugs as these coatings make the mugs food-safe.
However, using mod-podge also seals the sublimation print on the mugs. But it’s only used on mugs that are not used for drinking. The mod-podge coating isn’t food-safe. So, you must use mod-podge coating only on mugs for showcasing purposes.
Can You Do Sublimation On A Regular Mug?
Yes, you can do sublimation on a regular mug. But you have to apply a layer of polyester or polymer coating to make it sublimation-friendly. This coating will help you to transfer the sublimation ink smoothly on the mug’s surface and become permanent.
However, if you’re concerned about the quality and durability of the sublimation, you can use blank mugs that are specifically made for sublimation.
Then again, remember that if you mess up the sublimation process or use cheap ingredients, the sublimation print won’t sustain for a long time.
3 Best Dishwasher-Safe Blanks Mugs
Using a sublimation blank mug is the best option for creating a dishwasher-safe sublimation mug. Here are the 3 best dishwasher-safe blank mugs you can use for your next DIY project.
Cricut Ceramic-Coated Blank Mug is an outstanding performer when it comes to dishwasher-safe blank mugs. They capture the sublimation ink very well and keep the colors vibrant almost similar to the original image.
The sublimation papers stick very well on this Cricut Ceramic mug which makes the heat-pressing process much easier.
You can also put it in the dishwasher or microwave and the ink doesn’t fade a bit. Overall, the blank mug has excellent heat-resistance power that makes it durable to use.
Well, there’s a small drawback to this mug. You might find the handle a slightly different shade than the body color of the mug. Though it’s barely noticeable once the mug is sublimated, it can piss you off if you have very sharp eyes.
Now, here’s another extraordinaire, the Cricut Beveled Blank Mug which is a fantastic dishwasher-safe sublimation mug. If you have a thing for pop-up colors on a mug, you’ll definitely love customizing this Cricut Mug.
This mug has a color on the interior and the handle part. The body of the mug is white where you can sublimate quotes, and small drawings of your preference.
Both the inner and outer parts of the mug can tolerate dishwasher water temperature and pressure. So, if you wash it in a dishwasher, you don’t have to worry about either the sublimation ink or the pop-up color.
Here’s another dishwasher-safe sublimation blank mug that you can use for your next sublimation project. It’s the Esdabem Sublimation Blank Mugs which are popular right after the Cricut sublimation mugs.
Where Cricut mugs use ceramic, Esdabem uses porcelain for enhancing the heat-resistance capacity.
They are a bit thick which ensures the durability of the mug in high temperatures. The bottom of the cup is also non-slip. So, you don’t have the risk of accidentally dropping the mug off the table.
The mugs are excellent in terms of transferring sublimation ink. They are also lightweight and easy to use. However, if you’re not a fan of thick mugs, it might irritate you a bit while drinking off the mug.
2 Mug Press To Make Dishwasher-Safe Mugs
Now, without a premium heat press, sublimation inks will come off even at the lowest dishwasher temperature setting.
That’s why it’s important to select the correct mug press for creating a dishwasher-safe sublimation mug. Considering the quality, check out the 2 mug presses below.
The first dishwasher-approved mug press we’ll talk about is the Cricut Sublimation Mug Press. Yes, like the Cricut sublimation mugs, the mug press of this brand is widely popular.
The Cricut Sublimation Mug Press will win your heart for its maneuverability. With a touch of one button, you can easily print intricate designs on any sublimation mug.
The heat is perfectly consistent all over the mug. So, there’s no issue of color fading or peeling. This is applicable to dishwashing as well.
However, compared to standard mug presses, it’s a bit slow. But it provides better results than those mug presses. So, you can’t actually consider it as a drawback.
Here’s another secure sublimation mug press machine, the VEVOR Automatic Mug Press Machine. It’s an automatic heat press that uses sensors to automatically close the wrap once you place the mug inside.
What you’ll love about this machine is turning it off automatically if it’s not used every 30 minutes. So, you can save energy and also prevent unwanted accidents.
The VEVOR Automatic Mug Press Machine also ensures the sublimation print is properly set on the mug. As a result, it makes it durable and dishwasher-friendly.
However, you will find it a bit hard to fit 15 oz. Cricut cups in it. So, be aware of the mug size before you use the heat press.
2 Best Sublimation Inks To Make Dishwasher-Safe Mugs
If the sublimation ink quality is poor, the sublimation design will have a discolored look even with one dishwasher cycle. So, choosing the correct sublimation ink is important.
Here I’ve reviewed 2 of the best sublimation inks below.
One of the best high-quality sublimation ink is the Printers Jack Sublimation Ink. I’m rating it the best in terms of heat-transfer rate and sustainability.
This sublimation ink has a transfer temperature of 392℉ (200℃). This means it can’t transfer at the water temperature (120-150°F/49-66°C) of a dishwasher. So, the ink is absolutely dishwasher safe.
Again, due to its water-based components, it transfers to mugs easily. The colors are vibrant and remain intact after many wash cycles.
Finally, note that this Printers Jack Sublimation Ink is only suitable for polyester-coated products. It’s fine for mug sublimation but isn’t suitable for cotton materials.
Finally, we have the Hiipoo Sublimation Ink Refilled Bottles which are efficient in transferring to sublimation papers. The ink consistency is even and smooth making it a reliable ink for sublimation.
These inks also won’t fade, peel, or crack in the dishwasher. You can clean them in a dishwasher without no doubt at all.
Like the Printers Jack Sublimation Ink, the Hiipoo sublimation ink also has a high heat transfer rate. The colors contain high saturation levels which ensures vivid colors on sublimation mugs. They also dry extremely fast. So, you have to spend less time on each sublimation project.
Can I use any type of sublimation ink for sublimation mugs?
Yes, you can use any type of sublimation ink for sublimation mugs. All you have to ensure is that the sublimation mugs are polyester or polymer coated.
Can I wash sublimation mugs with other dishes in the dishwasher?
Yes, you can wash sublimation mugs with other dishes in the dishwasher. But the dishwasher setting should be in the normal cycle. Also, you must avoid harsh detergents to protect the colors of the sublimation mugs.
Are sublimation mugs with metallic finishes dishwasher safe?
Yes, sublimation mugs with metallic finishes are dishwasher-safe. However, the metallic finish will fade over time. So, it’s best to hand wash them to increase the longevity of the sublimation mugs.
Can I use bleach or harsh chemicals to clean sublimation mugs in the dishwasher?
No, you can’t use bleach or harsh chemicals to clean sublimation mugs in the dishwasher. Bleach and harsh chemicals will react with the sublimation ink and cause discoloration.
Are sublimation mugs with handle designs or special shapes dishwasher safe?
Yes, sublimation mugs with handle designs or special shapes are dishwasher-safe. But if you use low-grade sublimation inks or mugs, the designs will come out faded after a few washes.
Can I put sublimation mugs with multiple prints or layered designs in the dishwasher?
Yes, you can put sublimation mugs with multiple prints or layered designs in the dishwasher. They usually don’t fade if the ink quality is good and there’s a special polyester coating on the mugs.
Are sublimation mugs with color-changing properties dishwasher safe?
Yes, sublimation mugs with color-changing properties are dishwasher-safe. But you must follow the manufacturer’s guidelines properly so that the colors last for a long time.
Can I use the drying cycle in the dishwasher for sublimation mugs?
No, you can’t use the drying cycle in the dishwasher for sublimation mugs. The drying cycle uses heat which degrades the sublimation ink quality. So, the designs look faded and discolored after drying.
Are sublimation mugs with raised or textured surfaces safe to wash in the dishwasher?
No, sublimation mugs with raised or textured surfaces are not safe to wash in the dishwasher. With the heat inside the dishwasher, the designs and the texture starts getting damaged. So, it’s best to hand wash these sublimation mugs.
Can I use dishwasher pods or tablets for cleaning sublimation mugs?
No, you can’t use dishwasher pods or tablets for cleaning sublimation mugs. Dishwasher pods and tablets contain harsh chemicals that can corrode the sublimation designs. So, you should use mild soap and water instead of dishwasher pods or tablets in this case.