How to Care for Sublimated Uniforms

What Are Sublimated Uniforms? 

Sublimation, also known as dye sublimation, is a manufacturing process whereby the entire design of the uniform and the related artwork for personalization are infused directly into the fabric. The uniform designs themselves start out as digital images, which are then printed on wide format printers and use heat and pressure to infuse the color into the fabric. The process is called sublimation because of the chemical and physical change from the solid colorant state directly into a gas without going through the liquid state. 

Sublimated sports team uniforms have the following characteristics: 

  • There are practically no limits on the designs and colors that can be incorporated into your team’s uniforms 
  • Sublimated uniform fabrics are comfortable against the skin and have wicking and moisture management properties 
  • Sublimated team uniforms are color-fast and long-lasting compared to thermal transfer and screen-printed uniforms 
  • Sublimated uniform team emblems, graphics, numbers, etc. don’t crack, peel, or fall off, making them the ideal option for schools looking to keep the same uniforms for multiple years 
  • Sublimated sports team uniforms are never backordered or discontinued 

 

If you prefer a unique sports team uniform design with full-color logos, numbers, and/or player names, dye-sublimated uniforms offer the best value. 

 

Exactly how does Sublimation Work? 

The sublimation process uses heat-sensitive colorants or dyes to print text and graphics onto a special transfer paper. The printed paper is then placed onto a fabric pattern, and both are placed into a heat press. 

Using heat and pressure, the image on the paper transfers to the fabric in a gaseous state. The gaseous colorant penetrates the structure of the fabric and permanently affixes the colors. Sublimation is always done with a 100% polyester fabric or mostly polyester fabric. Heat causes the pores of the polyester fabric to open and accept the vaporized dye. When the fabric cools, the pores close and the gas reverts back to a solid and is permanently locked into the structure of the fabric.  

Sublimation doesn’t work with most natural materials, such as cotton. Natural fabrics have no pores to open and accept the gas vapor. The colorants are engineered to fuse permanently with polyester. Additionally, dark fabrics cannot be used in the sublimation process so most sublimated sports team uniforms start out as a blank white polyester material.  


Sublimated team uniforms have the following advantages over other types of uniforms: 

Durability:

Because the vaporized colorant penetrates the matrix of the polyester fabric, the dye actually becomes a permanent part of the fabric. Sublimated team uniforms won’t fade, crack, peel, or deteriorate under normal conditions. Sublimated sports uniforms can last for many years with proper care. 

Breathability:

Sublimated uniforms are breathable. There are no embroidered logos or screen-printed numbers or graphic elements to block air exchange with the skin. The polyester fabrics used for sublimation are engineered to breathe and wick moisture away from the skin for excellent moisture management properties. 

Economy:

Sublimated sports team uniforms are an excellent value compared to screen printed or sewn twill uniforms. Adding more colors, a more intricate design, or personalization doesn’t impact the price. 

No Reorder Minimums:

When you need to reorder in smaller quantities, that’s not a problem. The sublimation process is a direct digital process that does not require additional set-up charges that drive up the cost of re-ordering traditional team sports uniforms. 

No Limitations:

With sublimated team sports uniforms there are practically no limits on the designs and colors that can be incorporated into your team’s uniforms 

Team Sports Planet can help you design and manufacture custom sublimated sports team uniforms that will help your team stand out from the competition. We are here to help you turn your ideas into reality! 


Taking Care of Your Sublimated Uniforms 

Your bright colorful sublimated uniform can last for years while still maintaining the look of a new uniform. However, there are actions you should take to maintain the brightness and color saturation that your uniform had when it was new: 

Washing Your Sublimated Uniform:

  • It is best to wash your uniform immediately after wearing, so the caustic chemicals found in perspiration do not stain or damage the uniform
     
  • Rinse any loose dirt or mud off of your uniform by rinsing in a sink or hosing the uniform down
     
  • Do not let wet uniforms sit in a pile or in the bottom of the washing machine before
    washing; if necessary, hang your wet uniform on a plastic hanger indoors prior to putting it in the washing machine
     
  • Wash sublimated uniforms separately from other clothing items in Cold or Cool water
     
  • Turn uniforms inside out before placing in the washing machine
     
  • Use the delicate cycle of your washing machine
     
  • Stains may be treated with a non-phosphate stain treatment such as Spray & Wash or Woolite Stain Remover before washing
     
  • Use a non-phosphate laundry detergent like Dreft or Woolite
     
  • Do not wash with articles that have Velcro or metal parts as the Velcro may pull on the uniform fabric which can cause pilling and or color removal, and metal objects can cause rust stains
     
  • Do not use bleach, fabric softeners, or any other wash treatments like OxyClean
  • Remove from washer immediately after washing cycle is complete
     
  • Do not dry in the dryer, either hang to dry indoors, or line dry outdoors with uniform turned inside out, and in the shade
     
  • Do not line dry in direct sunlight!
     
  • Do not iron your sublimated uniforms!
     
  • Do not dry clean your sublimated uniforms! 

Taking care when washing your sublimated uniforms will allow them to continue to look good for many years and even decades, just like your other uniforms and clothing.