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Can You Put Sublimation Tumblers In The Dishwasher?

As a sublimation tumbler owner, it’s natural for you to wonder, can you put sublimation tumblers in the dishwasher?

white sublimation tumblers on wood background

You want to enjoy your beverages and cold water without compromising the quality and the kind design of your tumbler. But does that convenience come at a price? 

First things first, not all sublimation tumblers are created equal. A lot of time, exposure to extreme heat and harsh detergents in the dishwasher can cause the design to fade or peel off.

To maintain your tumbler’s design for a longer period, it’s essential to know your specific sublimation tumblers dishwasher safety, as well as some strategies for preserving its look.

Oftentimes a sublimation tumbler will come with a care card inside of the bottle, to know the material and whether it is dishwasher safe.

Even if your tumbler is dishwasher proof, there are precautions you can take to protect it during cleaning for the long run.

By using a gentle cycle, low-temperature setting or low heat, and avoiding harsh detergents, you may be able to keep your sublimation tumbler looking its best for longer, with the heating element in mind.

So, while you sure can put your sublimation tumbler in the dishwasher, using simple tips to care for your drinkware can make a big difference.

We’ve got the scoop on the possibilities and best way to safely wash your sublimation tumblers in the dishwasher.

What Are Sublimation Tumblers?

white and blue tumblers on grey background

Sublimation tumblers, also known as a double wall vacuum, are a popular type of drinkware made from materials like stainless steel or aluminum.

They are different from regular water bottles as they offer a heating and cooling element with extra insulation.

The best part is these materials allow for durable and eye-catching designs called sublimation prints. Designs can include glitter tumblers, metallic fonts, a full wrap, and fun photos.  

Cricut Press

hand holding white tumbler on yellow background

A circuit mug press permanently places the sublimation prints onto the steel or aluminum so you can reuse and enjoy your tumbler often.

Sublimation paper is used to create and transfer the design of your preference. A special powder coating added to the paper holds the dye.

The paper is used alongside sublimation printers, to create the perfect design for blank tumblers. Heat tape is also a resource for sublimation tumblers when using a heat presses.

In this chemical process, a special infusible ink is applied to the tumbler’s surface, which turns into a gas when exposed to a heat source and pressure without passing through the intermediate liquid phase.

This bonds to the material to create a design that is resistant to chipping and fading for an extended period of time. Inkjet printers are often used to accomplish this process.

Although, waterslide decals are another thing commonly used when printing and transferring a design onto the cup. 

One of the advantages of sublimation tumblers is that they offer a wide range of customization options and unique products.

You can choose from various designs, colors, and different sizes to create a tumbler that fits your preferences and needs.

Whether it be a smaller, more skinny tumbler, or a larger one. These thermal tumblers are a great way to have variety on the go.

Sublimation designs

A lot of online companies offer free sublimation designs that you can personalize whether it be your initials or a specific sports team.

Companies often use sublimation shrink wrap if a design or shape does not fit in standard presses. If using skinny sublimation tumblers the design often needs to be a specific size as well.

So using shrink wrap makes it easier to achieve the desired design. 

Shrink wrap or sublimation blanks are also a great option if making a DIY tumbler and wanting to create your own custom sublimation design or print at home.

Cricut design space is a popular software used for the cricut, and can help to create all custom designs.

Ceramic Sublimation Mugs

woman holding pink tumbler outside

In addition to stainless steel and aluminum tumblers, sublimation is also commonly used for creating ceramic sublimation mugs or porcelain material.

These mugs make for a unique and personal gift or promotional item, as the design possibilities are virtually endless.

Ceramic and porcelain material sometimes require an orca coating which is a powerful strengthening agent to keep photos and designs preserved for longer.

Ceramic and porcelain mugs are perfect for having a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. Although if it is stainless steel or aluminum material it usually comes with a slide lid and plastic straw to drink from.

So, you can enjoy your hot drinks regardless if at home or on the go.

While some sublimation tumblers can go in the dishwasher, it’s essential to follow specific guidelines to ensure that the design and material remain intact. 

Some of these guidelines include placing your tumbler on the top rack, using a gentle cycle, and avoiding harsh chemicals or high temperatures.

Sblimation tumblers are a stylish and practical option for drinkware, whether made of stainless steel, aluminum, or ceramic material.

Their durability and customization options make them an excellent choice for personal use or gifting. 

However, it is a good idea to be cautious when placing them in the dishwasher to preserve their design and material.

Dishwasher Safety for Sublimation Tumblers

colorful tumblers on wood background

Factors Affecting Dishwasher Safety

When it comes to putting sublimation tumblers in the dishwasher, there are certain factors you need to consider to ensure that your tumbler stays in good condition.

One of the main concerns is the high temperatures in the dishwasher, which can cause the sublimation design to fade or peel off. The heat can also affect the coating of the tumbler, leading to warping.

So it is important when washing your tumbler to have your dishwasher at the right temperature.

Another factor to consider is the type of detergent used. Accumulation of residue when using stronger detergents is common and can wear down the designs color and clarity. 

It’s important to use a mild detergent when washing your sublimation tumbler in the dishwasher to prevent damage to the design.

Dishwasher Safe vs Hand Wash

While most sublimation tumblers can be placed in the dishwasher for easy cleaning, there are certain precautions you should keep in mind:

  • Be cautious with the washing time and the water’s heat level as it can affect the sublimated images, causing them to fade over time.
  • Powerful water sprays in the dishwasher can cause scratches or chips on your sublimation tumbler, damaging the design and making it look worn and faded.

As a result, you might want to consider handwashing your sublimation tumbler to avoid any potential damage. Here are some tips for hand washing your tumbler:

  1. The first thing is to use hot water and mild dish soap to clean the tumbler
  2. Use a non-abrasive sponge or soft cloth to gently scrub the surface
  3. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and allow it to air dry

While sublimation tumblers can generally be considered dishwasher safe, taking certain precautions and even considering hand washing can help ensure the longevity of the tumbler’s design and overall appearance.

Cleaning and Care Instructions

white sublimation tumbler cup with straw

To preserve the quality and appearance of your sublimation product, it’s essential to follow proper cleaning and care instructions.

This includes using appropriate techniques for hand washing and dishwasher use, as well as taking additional precautions to avoid damage.

Hand Washing Technique

When it comes to hand washing your sublimation tumbler, follow these steps:

  1. Fill your sink or a container with warm water.
  2. Add a few drops of mild soap to the water.
  3. Soak your tumbler in the water for a few minutes to loosen any residue.
  4. Use a soft sponge or brush to gently scrub the inside and outside of the tumbler.
  5. Rinse the tumbler thoroughly under running water, making sure to remove all soap.

Dishwasher Instructions

While it is generally recommended to hand-wash sublimation tumblers, some people choose to clean them in the dishwasher.

If you decide to use a dishwasher, follow these guidelines to minimize the risk of damage:

  • Place the tumbler on the top rack of the dishwasher.
  • Use a mild detergent and avoid harsh chemicals or bleach.
  • Select a gentle cycle to prevent any damage to the design.
  • Turn off the drying cycle as high heat can cause the sublimation to fade or peel.
  • Remove the tumbler from the dishwasher and allow it to air dry.

Additional Precautions

To further protect your sublimation tumbler, consider these additional care tips:

  • Always clean your tumbler immediately after use to prevent staining or discoloration.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaning tools or harsh detergents that may damage the design.
  • Store your tumbler in a cool, dry location when not in use to avoid moisture buildup, which can cause the design to degrade.

Materials and Sublimation Process

making a sublimation tumbler

Type of Materials Used

When creating custom sublimation tumblers, there are several materials to choose from to keep your cold beverages stored properly. The following products include:

  • Stainless steel tumblers – These are the most popular choice for sublimated tumblers. Stainless steel offers excellent heat resistance and durability, making it ideal for the sublimation process.
  • Aluminum – These tumblers are lightweight and provide excellent heat transfer, but they may not be as durable as stainless steel.
  • Plastic – While these tumblers are affordable and lightweight, they’re generally not suitable for sublimation. The heat required for the process can warp and damage the plastic material. Although oftentimes the cups come with a clear lid as well as a plastic straw.

These materials can receive vibrant artwork, graphics, or images through the sublimation process.

For the best results, you’ll need a smooth, durable finish to keep your designs looking sharp and bright.

The Sublimation Process

sublimation tumbler with design on it

The sublimation process involves transferring your design onto your chosen material using heat and special ink. This technique has several steps:

  1. Create your design – Utilizing software like Photoshop or Illustrator, you can customize your images, logos, or text to fit the tumbler’s size and shape.
  2. Print your design – Once completed, print your design using sublimation dye on transfer paper.
  3. Apply your design – Attach the transfer paper onto your tumbler, ensuring it fully covers the desired area.
  4. Heat press application – Using a heat press specifically designed for tumblers, you’ll apply high heat and pressure to your design. This process allows the ink to turn into a gas and penetrate into the tumbler’s surface, effectively creating a long-lasting, vibrant image. Some also use a countertop convection oven to seal the design. Heat the oven to 400 degrees f and allow it to heat for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Cool down and remove transfer paper – Let your Tumblr cool down before removing the transfer paper to reveal your design.

Using a Heat Gun for the Sublimation Process

  1. Wet the sublimation paper
  2. Wrap the tumbler with wet sublimation paper and make sure the pattern is facing down
  3. Tape the sublimation paper tightly using heat tape
  4. Heat the tumbler with the heat gun for about three minutes 
  5. Peel off the sublimation paper

There are some aftercare tips and easy ways to help preserve your sublimated tumbler’s vibrant design.

While many stainless steel and aluminum tumblers can handle the heat and pressure of a dishwasher, avoid using harsh detergents or excessively high temperatures that may cause the design to peel or fade over time.

Implementing a protective sealing layer, such as epoxy or sublimated coating, can prevent damage and maintain a smooth finish.

With proper care and maintenance, you can enjoy your customized sublimated tumblers at home or on-the-go.

Recommendations and Tips

white tumbler on table with flowers

Product Lifespan and Maintenance

To ensure the longevity and quality of your sublimation tumblers, it’s essential to follow some maintenance steps.

Though it’s possible to place sublimation tumblers in the dishwasher, certain precautions should be taken:

  • Place your tumbler on the top rack of the dishwasher.
  • Use a gentle wash cycle.
  • Avoid excessive heat and harsh chemicals.

Keep in mind that hand washing is an excellent option to maintain the appearance and quality of the decoration and the sublimated image.

When handwashing, utilize a soft sponge and mild detergent, and avoid abrasive cleaners that can damage the resin or sealant on your sublimation cup.

Insulated tumblers and ceramic mugs may require extra caution in the dishwasher to prevent shattering.

Coffee mugs, skinny tumblers, and other styles should also follow the steps listed above for dishwasher safety.

Storage Tips

To maintain your tumbler’s insulation and durability, it’s essential to store it properly when not in use.

Follow these storage tips for longevity and to prevent any unnecessary damage, such as dents or peeling graphics:

  • Keep your tumbler upright.
  • Avoid stacking or overcrowding in cabinets.
  • Place a soft fabric or towel between tumblers for added protection.

Proper storage helps prevent sublimation ink from transferring or fading, ensuring your logos and designs remain vibrant.

Remember to always be gentle with your tumbler and follow these recommendations to maximize its lifespan and maintain its dishwasher-safe qualities.

Final Thoughts

sublimation tumbler with a design on it

The question of whether you can put sublimation tumblers in the dishwasher depends on various factors and considerations.

Sublimation printing, commonly used to create high quality and long-lasting designs on various substrates, including tumblers, utilizes a special coating called Orca coatings.

While these coatings are durable, it is generally recommended to avoid exposing sublimation tumblers to the dishwasher.

The high heat and harsh detergents in the dishwasher can potentially damage the sublimated design or degrade its vibrancy over time.

To ensure the longevity and quality of the sublimated design, it is advisable to hand wash the sublimation tumblers using a gentle detergent and avoid using fabric softener or abrasive cleaning tools.

Care cards or instructions provided by the manufacturer or supplier should be followed, and if utilizing a Cricut Mug Press or an inkjet printer with an SVG file for the sublimation process, it is crucial to refer to specific guidelines and recommendations.

By taking proper care of sublimation tumblers, including avoiding dishwasher use, you can preserve their beauty and enjoy their unique and personalized designs for a long time.

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