Everything You Need To Know About Discharge Ink

February 24, 2016

Discharge ink is normally considered a specialty print option in most shops - but not Mutiny Ink! We use discharge ink every single day to get soft, bright prints on dark garments.

What is discharge ink?

In simple terms, discharge ink is a water based product that is formulated to deactivate the dyes used on natural fabrics.

In its basic form, discharge is a clear ink with an activator added. Printing a straight discharge ink typically 'bleaches' the fabric to its natural color, a slight off white. Discharge inks work well on fabric that is dyed with reactive dyes, although some dyes are more resistant than others. Colors such as kelly green, purple and royal blue yield a more muted print that is usually a lighter tint of the base fabric color.

How do you use it?

It all depends on what you want the end result to look like. We often use straight discharge to create a bright print against a dark shirt. We also can 'pigment dye' the discharge, which essentially replaces the garment color with the selected pigment. This allows us to maintain tight registration and bright prints on dark fabrics(great for simulated process). Another method is to use the discharge as a base for the rest of the colors. This is common for general spot colors, and low quantity jobs because once the discharge is mixed with the agent it has a 6-8 hour life.

How can I use it?

This is what it all comes down to; how you can use discharge ink to market your brand. If you are planning to put any light prints on a dark colored shirt, and you want a light, soft feel to the print then look no further. Discharge ink has virtually no 'hand' to it, and after the first wash you can't feel it at all.

If you're looking for a 'distressed' or 'vintage' look, then discharge is where its at. A 'distressed' discharge print looks so natural that you're bound to turn heads.


Discharge ink is a standard in our shop, and we wouldn't have it any other way. If you want beautiful, soft prints on any colored shirt, then look no farther than Mutiny Ink

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