November 5, 2011
Discharge is a process where the garment dye is bleached out and replaced with colored ink of our choice. It provides a soft to the touch prints that are embedded into the fabric rather than sitting on top of it like plastisol.
Discharge inks can be used to create smooth underbases for complex process and simulated process images or it can be used standalone for simpler designs.
Here is the image of the discharge ink. The weave of the garment is still visible as the ink penetrates the fibers and replaces the original dies. The image was taken before the garment was washed which further removes the amount of deposit sitting on top of the garment.
The process works only with reactive dies on 100% cotton and thus is not compatible with some of the product on the market. Specifically, any poly (50/50 or 100%) will not discharge well or at all. In those cases, plastisol is the go to ink. Discharge is also highly impacted by the dyes used in the garments and since they tend to vary a lot, repeatability cna not be guaranteed. Same goes for the Pantone Matching. If the exact color is needed, plastisol is the only choice. While there are formulas that will provide some degree of similarity to the Pantone numbers, they are never really on and require sampling to get close enough.
Here is the chart listing the compatibility (even though Gildan colors are used, the discharge compatibility will be similar across brands):