Ghosting in Sublimation Fix: What is Ghosting and How to Fix It?

In the world of sublimation printing, Ghosting is a common issue many individuals face. Ghosting is where unwanted, faint images or outlines appear on the final sublimated product. This can frustrate businesses and individuals looking to achieve high-quality, vibrant prints. In this article, we will explore what Ghosting is, its causes, and, most importantly, how to fix and prevent it from occurring.

What is Ghosting?

Ghosting is a term used in sublimation printing to describe the appearance of faint or shadow-like images on the final printed product. These unwanted images can detract from the overall quality and clarity of the design, affecting its aesthetic appeal. Ghosting typically occurs when the sublimation ink transfers onto the substrate material in unintended areas or during unwilling times.

Causes of Ghosting

Several factors can contribute to ghosting in sublimation printing. Understanding these causes is crucial in effectively addressing and resolving the issue. The following are some common causes of Ghosting:

Temperature and Pressure Issues

One of the primary causes of Ghosting is temperature and pressure-related issues during the sublimation process. Inconsistent heat or pressure can result in incomplete ink transfer, leading to Ghosting. Ensuring that the heat press machine is calibrated correctly and that the recommended temperature and pressure settings are followed is essential.

 Improper Dwell Time

Dwell time refers to the duration for which the substrate material remains in contact with the heat press during the sublimation process. There needs to be more dwell time to contribute to Ghosting. Following the manufacturer’s guidelines and adjusting the dwell time for different materials is crucial to achieving optimal results.

 Insufficient Release Coating

The release coating is a protective layer applied to the sublimation paper. It acts as a barrier between the paper and the substrate, preventing the ink from transferring onto unintended areas. If the release coating is insufficient or worn off, Ghosting can occur. Ensuring that the sublimation paper has a proper release coating intact is essential.

Effects of Ghosting

Ghosting can have various adverse effects on sublimation prints. Apart from the visual distortion caused by the faint images or outlines, it can reduce colour vibrancy and overall print quality. This can impact customer satisfaction and the reputation of businesses relying on sublimation printing for their products.

How to Fix Ghosting?

Fixing Ghosting requires a systematic approach to address the underlying causes. Here are some effective strategies to improve Ghosting in sublimation printing:

 Adjusting Temperature and Pressure

Start by ensuring that the heat press machine is calibrated correctly and set to the recommended temperature for the specific substrate material. Adjust the pressure settings to achieve consistent pressure throughout the printing process. Additionally, Fine-tuning these variables can help minimize ghosting issues.

 Ensuring Proper Dwell Time

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or perform test prints to determine the optimal dwell time for different materials. However, Adjusting the dwell time according to the specific requirements of the substrate can help ensure complete ink transfer without Ghosting.

Using Adequate Release Coating

Ensure that the sublimation paper used has a sufficient release coating. This protective layer should be intact to prevent unintended ink transfer. However,  If the release coating is inadequate or worn off, consider using a different batch of sublimation paper or a reliable alternative to minimize Ghosting.

Preventing Ghosting

Prevention is always better than fixing an issue after it occurs. To minimize the occurrence of Ghosting, consider the following preventive measures:

 Calibrating Equipment

Regularly calibrate your heat press machine to maintain accurate temperature and pressure settings. This will help ensure consistent and reliable sublimation printing results.

 Testing Different Materials

Different materials may require adjustments in temperature, pressure, and dwell time. Conduct test prints on various materials to identify the optimal settings for each substrate, minimizing the risk of Ghosting.

Proper Maintenance

Maintaining your sublimation equipment, including the heat press machine and sublimation paper, is essential. Clean the heat press regularly, check the condition of the sublimation paper, and replace it if necessary. Proper maintenance can prevent issues like Ghosting and extend the lifespan of your equipment.


Ghosting can be a frustrating challenge in sublimation printing, but it can be effectively fixed and prevented with a systematic approach and understanding of its causes. Ghosting can be minimized by addressing temperature and pressure issues, ensuring proper dwell time, and using good release coating. Regular equipment calibration and proper maintenance are vital in preventing Ghosting altogether. With these strategies in place, sublimation printers can achieve high-quality, vibrant prints without the interference of unwanted Ghosting.

For more information relevant to sublimation printing, please visit:


Why is ghosting a common issue in sublimation printing?

Ghosting can occur due to temperature and pressure issues, improper dwell time, and insufficient release coating, which are common challenges in sublimation printing.

Can Ghosting be fixed without adjusting temperature and pressure?

Temperature and pressure adjustments are essential to improve Ghosting, ensuring proper ink transfer during sublimation.

What is release coating in sublimation paper?

The release coating is a protective layer on sublimation paper that prevents unintended ink transfer, reducing the risk of Ghosting.

How often should I calibrate my heat press machine?

It is recommended to calibrate your heat press machine regularly, especially before starting a new print job or when experiencing issues like Ghosting.

Why is proper maintenance essential in preventing Ghosting?

Proper maintenance ensures the optimal functioning of sublimation equipment, minimizing the risk of issues like Ghosting. Regular cleaning and replacement of worn-out components are crucial.

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