what is discharge printing?

No fluff. No frills. The beginners guide to discharge ink printing.

What is Discharge Printing?:

  • Discharge ink printing is screen printing done with a discharge ink. Discharge ink is a water based ink that removes, mutes or replaces a garments color.

How is it Done?:

  • Standard Discharge: An environmentally friendly agent is added to a water based ink. This agent removes the garment’s color and replaces it with the ink color. This allows for a vibrant print that has no underbase.

Why do People Do It?:

  • Shirts printed with discharge ink are incredibly soft, breathable and long-lasting. The print becomes a part of the garment and doesn’t sit on top of the shirt.

What are Some Discharge Ink Printing Tricks?:

  • For Color Blends: Certain colors, like Kelly Green, Royal Blue and Red, all make for truly unique prints. Discharge ink responds very powerfully to reactive dyes, but these colors have less reactive dyes. This results in the shirt’s color blending into the design. Designs that plan for this, look incredible.


  • For Fabric Blends: A common misconception is that discharge ink can’t be done on blends. As it turns out, it can look amazing. Discharge ink removes the color from fabric to reveal the natural color of the material used. Shirts that contain polyester and rayon vary in the material colors, from brilliant white to bright red. The print blend ends up being crazy cool. You can go from a heathered look to an other worldly glow. 


See our portfolio for more examples of great water based and discharge prints.

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