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What Does It Mean to “Discharge” Print

To “discharge” print a shirt is to use “discharge” ink and get the dye in the shirt to be neutralized. You add a catalyst to a specific type of ink and in the presence of heat and water the dye basically goes away. Only cotton discharges and not all cotton dyes discharge. We test shirts from time to time to see if they discharge and when we get a new shirt/color we test it.

In the following prints you can see shirts that almost entirely discharge and basically turn pretty close to white, some that don’t discharge that well and turn some medium color, and some that don’t discharge at all. It isn’t a quality issue, it is just whether the chemicals are compatible.

2012-04-05 21.37.35
Range of how much shirts discharge from not at all in the front and almost completely in the back.
2012-04-05 21.39.10
Poor discharging on this shirt, barely at all.
2012-04-05 21.38.46
This shirts does not discharge.
2012-04-05 21.39.02
This poorly discharges.
2012-04-05 21.38.55
Poorly discharging to yellow.
2012-04-05 21.45.10
Not perfect, but pretty good discharge.
2012-04-05 21.40.00
Great discharge, almost white on a navy shirt.



  1. Very cool. I was going to try this as well. Get one of each color of our favorite brand and go to town for testing. There are a lot of variables that go into WB Discharge Printing… Trial and error works the best and documenting what works and what doesn’t, can’t stress that enough. -GK

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