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Discharge Printing and the Soft T-Shirt

Our Love Affair with Discharge T Shirt Printing

A favorite t-shirt comes along maybe 10 times in a lifetime and everyone has a type.  In our minds, a cool graphic that speaks to the wearer is good, but the softer the print the better.  If you’re looking for a print process to maximize your brand’s cool quotient, look no further than a discharge print.

Discharge Ink Screen Printing vs. Plastisol Ink Printing

Plastisol Ink Screen Printing

Plastisol ink printing results is more vibrant, but less breathable prints.  The ink sits on top of the shirt.  This costs less and has been the industry standard for a long, long time. 

Discharge T Shirt Printing

A specialty technique at Scrappy Apparel Company that has grown in popularity. Screen printing with discharge ink produces lighter, more breathable prints that become one with the shirt’s cotton fibers.

No Ink Feel and Cool Look

Many retail brands choose to go with discharge printing ink on a comfortable shirt. Why? Screen printing with discharge ink deactivates the dye within the t-shirt and creates a no ink feel and cool look.  This is a simple way to differentiate your shirt from others on the rack and justify a higher resale price point.

Discharge Ink Screen Printing

Never had an experience with discharge t-shirt printing?

Do you want a soft hand (feel), your graphic to be one with the shirt for eternity, and a print that feels great and expensive? If yes, you need to talk to us.

Discharge T-Shirt Printing and Shirt Selection

If you are considering discharge shirt printing, there are few things to consider.


Discharge ink needs cotton to react with. 100% ring spun cotton or 80% cotton/20% polyester garments react best


White, Ash, Royal Blue, and Kelly Green are some shirt colors that don``t react well with discharge ink. Ask your rep to help you pick colors that will render results you want.


Some brands and colors have stronger results than others. Take your and our experience into consideration when selecting a brand.

What Type of Print Can You Expect from a Discharge Printer?

How do you know you’ve received a print with discharge ink?


Scrappy Apparel believes prints should be soft so we use a discharge ink under base in our dark colored shirt house blend (if garment fabric and color allows) to give you a light and vibrant print. If you go straight discharge it will be even smoother.


If you want a no ink feel you can upgrade to a discharge ink only print for cents. Those extra cents allow you to charge extra dollars for your specialty print. You can tell it is a discharge ink print because you should be able to see the shirt fibers up close.


Our experiences with 1000s of shirts of varying styles and fabrics makes us a printer that will protect your investment in t-shirts by telling you what we can and cannot do with discharge inks. Discharge inks should enhance what you want to do. Not take away from it.

Water Based and Discharge Printing

Printing on light garments like white or natural, but want a soft hand for your print?  You want water based printing.  Incredibly soft feel with high quality results.

Benefits of Discharge Ink

We saw how this difficult to learn printing technique was growing in popularity years ago and worked hard at doing our best to perfect a technique that has the potential to render amazing results

Soft and Expensive Prints

If you touch a print that is caked on the shirt vs. one that has a soft feel which one would you think is worth more? Increase your resale price and quality perception by printing with discharge inks.

Weightless Prints

Does your brand showcase big prints? If so, you will want to go with discharge inks on colored tees so the print does not weigh down the fabric or the wearer.

Different Prints

Due to its increased cost and learning curve, discharge ink printing is not offered by all screen printing shops and brands. Make your print a conversation piece when going up against other shirts on the rack.

Longer Prints

Your design is not going anywhere because the design is part of the shirt fabric itself! That means less time fielding complaints about designs cracking or peeling and more time getting your product in hands of your fans.

Want to know what color shirts work best with discharge inks?

Ask one of our sales reps