How To Bleach A Shirt For Sublimation?

Bleached shirts are very popular nowadays. Some individuals adore them, while others believe they are ugly. Honestly, I like how they seem. You might be curious about how these shirts are created, particularly if you want to sell them.

If you want to join the DIY fashion trend, I’m here to assist you with all of the information. Check out the complete instruction down below. I’ll teach you exactly how to bleach a shirt for sublimation and you’ll absolutely love it!

How To Bleach A Shirt For Sublimation?


  • Bleach
  • Design of your choice
  • Heat Press 
  • Measuring tape
  • Parchment paper
  • Peroxide/Hot water bath
  • Spray bottle
  • Sublimation ink
  • Trash bag
  • T-shirt
  • Cardboard 

Before you begin bleaching shirts for sublimation, keep the following things in mind to achieve the best results.

Bright Sunny Day

Bleaching shirts for sublimation require a bright, sunny day. This speeds up the bleaching process and results in whiter clothes. You’ll also need to place cardboard between the shirts to prevent the bleach from bleeding through to the backside of the shirt. Spraying should be done outside or in a well-ventilated location. Many people believe that bleaching requires sunshine. But it is not that necessary, it takes a little longer if there isn’t any sunshine. All you have to do is keep an eye on it and decide when you’re satisfied with it.

sunny day for bleaching


You’ll need new bleach to bleach your shirts. Use new bleach instead of the old one since the quality of the old bleach may have changed over time. Personally, I like concentrated bleach.

Bleach bottles

Spray Bottle

You’ll need a high-quality spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle that lets you customize how the spray comes out of the bottle. I got inexpensive spray bottles online at first, but I now regret it because they don’t last long. If you want to produce a large number of bleached sublimation shirts for selling, I recommend investing in a glass spray bottle.

How To Bleach A Shirt For Sublimation?

Shirt Fabric

You should be aware that polyester does not bleach properly. So, if you want to bleach a shirt for sublimation, you’ll need a shirt that’s a combination of cotton and polyester, with the polyester having a higher content than the cotton otherwise the shirt would seem faded and old. Shirts that are made of 35% cotton and 65% polyester are my recommendations.

When you bleach shirts with this amount, the color in the cotton is eliminated, leaving just white polyester. Bleaching shirts with the word “Heather” next to the color name has produced the best results for me. I haven’t had any issues with Heather colors in the Gildan style, but there are a couple of Heather colors in the Tultex that just didn’t bleach for me, one of which being Heather Royal blue.

Some brands and colors may not bleach well, so this may take some trying to figure out which brands and colors work best. Now that you are aware of all you need to know about bleaching for the best results, let’s get started on the bleaching process.

How To Bleach A Shirt For Sublimation?


Fill the spray bottle with bleach without diluting it with water at all. Begin by bleaching a small to big part on the front side of the shirt in a square or a circle when you’re prepared to bleach the shirt. You may use a cardboard template or just do it by hand to keep the bleach contained in one area when using the spray bottle. Depending on the style of design you’re doing, you might employ a variety of techniques.

I’ve seen other artists paint bleach onto the garment with a brush to give it a distinct style. Spray the part of the shirt where you wish to sublimate with the nozzle set to spray instead of a stream. You may start randomly spraying the shirt with bleach after you have bleached enough area for the design you want to create on the shirt. You may change the spray pattern to mist or stream.

Don’t drench the shirt right away; instead, start with a few gentle sprays. There is no correct or incorrect method to bleach because that is what gives them their unique look. After bleaching a large number of shirts, you’ll build your own approach.

As the bleach starts to change the shirt’s color, you can add more bleach if you need to. It only takes a few minutes for the shirt to bleach. For sublimation, you need to make sure you have a large enough bleached area for the sublimation design to fit so just keep that in mind. 

If you are interested in tye-dye shirts, I have a detailed blog about the most famous tie-dye techniques & patterns. You can read that here: Tie-dye Patterns


The shirts don’t take long to get white. Once the fronts of the shirts are white, that should require roughly 5 minutes if it’s a bright and sunny day, flip them over and lightly spray bleach on the backs of the shirts if desired. I enjoy spraying bleach all over the shirt I design because I like the way they appear.


After bleaching your shirts, throw these in the washing machine quickly to finish the process of bleaching. Fill the washing machine with extremely hot water and detergent. To ensure that all of the bleach is removed from the shirts, I run them through an extra rinse cycle. The bleach shirts should not be left unwashed for too long since the bleach might tear the fabric and leave holes. It can also make the cloth extremely thin, causing it to tear or develop holes after a few washing machine cycles.

Heat Press

Now that you know how to bleach shirts for sublimation, you may turn on your heat-press when your shirts are prepared to sublimate. I iron my shirts for 60 seconds at 400 degrees. Again, you may need to experiment with your heat press options till you discover the ideal temperature and duration to avoid scorching your shirts. You may prepare your clothes for transfers as your heat press is heating up. Attach a piece of parchment paper inside the shirt to prevent the ink from fusing through the fabric, also a fresh piece of paper to attach to the sublimation design to prevent the ink from adhering to your heat press.

How To Bleach A Shirt For Sublimation?


This is exactly as they came from the printer. Don’t be concerned. When you apply your colors to the shirt, they will appear brighter and richer.

The finest shirt to choose is one that is 100 percent polyester. You may use as little as 60% polyester, but the more you use, the richer and deeper the color of your pattern will be. A shirt made entirely of cotton will not work. You can use sublimation sprays to help it take the ink, but the patterns aren’t very long-lasting. I prefer a Gildan Soft Style shirt that is 35% cotton and 65% polyester. These are my favorite since they are considerably softer than a standard polyester shirt.

The bleaching process may be greatly accelerated and enhanced by doing it outside on a bright, sunny, and warm day.

We are all aware that Cricut Design Space restricts Print and Cut designs to 6.75 x 9.25″. I make the design on the outside of Design Space in order to create a much broader design. You may create your designs with Canva, Inkscape, or Illustrator and then export them as SVG or PNG files. I prefer PNG format.

No. The bleach eliminates the color from the fabric, allowing the sublimation colors to shine through. 

I prefer bleaching before applying the sublimation design to the shirt. I just discovered that it was less difficult. I’ve seen others who add design prior to bleaching, and there was no change in color or look. So, I just chose the simplest option!

You certainly do! Because you’ll be placing the design down on the shirt with the ink hitting it, you’ll need to mirror your design for it to look right.


I hope you found the tutorial useful. Please let me know of any queries! It is quite simple. You could also add vinyl if you wanted to. If you wanted to add vinyl, I would do so after I bleached. Just keep the peroxide method in mind if it turns yellow after pressing.

If you make it, please let me know how it comes out! Have fun making it!

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