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Screen printing inks: is it true that water-based inks aren’t wash resistant?

Screen printing inks _ CPL Fabbrika

I’ve recently started a small clothing label. I’d like some advice please regarding the best inks to use in order to obtain the best results. I’ve read that water-based paints tend to fade after a few washes, so I’d like to know what else I can use.

First of all, we need to dispel a myth, that which suggests water-based inks aren’t resistant to washing.

In actual fact, water-based inks, if they are professional quality inks and they’ve been dried correctly, are just as wash-resistant as plastisol inks

In order to obtain this level of resistance they need to be heat-dried using a heatpress, a flash dryer or an oven.

There are reasons why someone might choose to use a plastisol ink rather than a water-based ink, but wash resistance isn’t one of them. The possible reasons could be, for example:

– printing with a high mesh count: aside from a few exceptions, it isn’t recommended to use water-based inks with mesh counts greater than 55T;

– to prevent the ink from drying on the screen and clogging it up, especially when printing on multi-colour screen printing carousels. Indeed, water-based inks can have a tendency to clog up the mesh, plastisol inks don’t do that;

– when a gloss finish is required: water-based inks offer a matt finish.

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