Sublimation Red Is Orange
Sublimation Red Is Orange

Sublimation Red is Orange (Causes & Solutions!)

You might have noticed something odd happening if you’re involved in sublimation printing.

You’re aiming for a bright, beautiful red in your prints, but what you’re getting instead are shades of orange, peach, or pink. It’s puzzling, isn’t it?

You’ve tried the usual tricks – changing your printer settings, giving the printer a thorough cleaning – but still, that perfect bright red eludes you.

It’s quite a challenge, especially when you’re expecting one color and getting something entirely different!

This article explores:

  • Common reasons behind red color shifting to orange
  • Specific troubleshooting steps to fix this issue

With some systematic testing, you can get those rich reds displaying flawlessly on mugs, shirts, and other merch.

Recommended Fix For Sublimation Red Is Orange Issue!

If nothing works, firstly, I highly recommend you completely flush out your old ink using a printer solution from Amazon.

If you don’t want to buy a printer solution you can create your own using 4 parts Windex (with ammonia) to 1 part isopropyl alcohol (either 70% or 91%).

You can find a lot of tutorials on YouTube on how to flush out the inks for your specific printer model.

After flushing out and cleaning up, order a brand new pack of Cosmos ink and pour it into your printer.

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Cosmos will provide you with an ICC profile for your printer, just apply that, and believe me you gonna love the results!

This method works as confirmed by JannyLeeMorrow in Reddit community:

image 15
Source: Reddit

What Causes The Sublimation Red is Orange Issue?

Before we dig into troubleshooting, it helps to understand what might cause shifts in color accuracy.

Here are the most likely culprits behind problem reds:

Cause 1: Incompatible or Low-Quality Ink

The ink formula itself may not be able to produce reds properly.

  • Certain inks have less pigment for warmer red/orange tones
  • Generic or low-quality inks lead to muddier color overall

Sublimation infuses special polymer-bonded dyes into mugs, shirts, etc using heat and pressure. Ink directly determines the final print quality and accuracy.

How To Safely Use Sublimation Ink
Incompatible or Low-Quality Ink

Some third-party ink brands have inferior colorfastness – meaning the dyes leak, fade or shift colors quicker.

Over time and exposure, cheaper inks can’t retain intense saturated hues like crimson reds. Instead they skew orange…then pink.

I myself used to use Printers Jack inks – which i advise avoiding especially for vibrant reds.

Alternatives like Cosmo Inks are strongly recommended instead, might be expensive but worth it.

Heat, humidity and light all accelerate chemical changes. Old or improper ink literally can’t print accurately anymore regardless of your design files.


Flush out your printer and replace the inks.

2. Issues With Color Profiles or Management

Even high quality inks need proper color management to print accurately:

  • The ICC profiles may not correctly translate the RGB on-screen colors to the printer
  • Mismatched or outdated ICC profiles cause shifts or dulling.
  • Program color settings like color handling may not play nice with printer profiles
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To display/print colors consistently across various screens and devices, ICC profiles are the key.

ICC color profiles act as interpreter earpieces for your monitors, printers and programs. They account for the different ways RGB screens and CMYK printers display/print color.

Without precise ICC profiles configured your gorgeous bright red mug graphic will be displayed beautifully on screen but when you print it, it will come out dull orange or coral instead!

Aside from monitor+printer ICCs, individual programs have their own internal color management dictating corrections and handling policies. Between mismatched ICC setups and wrong program defaults, unintended hue shifts result.


Do some research for your printer model and ink brand and find fix the ICC profile, follow these steps:

  • Check corresponding ICC profiles set for inks, paper, fabric types loaded
  • Disable unnecessary automatic adjustments by printer
  • Enable color management in Adobe apps, Silhouette Studio, etc
ICC Profile Setup
Credits: Hey Let’s Make Stuff
  • Set policies fitting the loaded ICC print profiles above
  • Turn off extraneous corrections messing with source RGB values
  • Not able to figure out? contact your printer and ink brand support staff

Correct ICC and internal color settings prevent unintended hue shifts, producing accurate vibrant colors – especially finicky reds.

3. Clogged Up Printer Nozzles

With frequent use, material build up or clogged nozzles can also impact color accuracy:

  • Printer nozzles get clogged over time hindering ink flow
  • Remnant fabric fibers and dust gunk up the system
  • The print head misaligns throwing off quality

Even with perfect inks and software settings, printer hardware matters hugely. Dust particles, dried ink, lint build up over time – slowly clogging components like print heads.

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Physical gunk obstructs smooth ink flow:

Printer Cartridge
Credit : Reddit

Until you deep clean these parts, colors will skew inconsistent with things like red coming out orange. Plus frequent use accelerates build up.


For persistent color inaccuracy, gunked up printer components need refreshing:

  • Initiate factory reset to restore firmware, and drivers to default out-of-box state
  • Run cleaning cycles to clear out dust and debris inside
  • Purchase cleaning solutions to clean the printer nozzles and head.
image 16
Credit: Youtube

Thorough cleanings and resets often fix color quality problems stemming from aging printer hardware parts.

Still No Luck? Contact Support

If problems continue after testing new ink, updating profiles, adjusting program settings, and inspecting printer components, there may be an underlying hardware flaw needing repair.

Reach out to:

  • Your printer manufacture support
  • Sublimation ink vendor
  • Hardware technician

With a few tweaks and tests, hopefully your reds will soon print just as bold and beautiful as they look on screen! Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions.

Final Tips For Preventing Red Inaccuracy

Fantastic color reproduction really makes sublimated merchandise stand out from traditional printing.

A few quick troubleshooting steps pins down the root cause to inform simple fixes:

✅ New ink cartridges
✅ Color management checks
✅ Printer head cleanings

With the correct sequential testing and alignments, you can get perfectly accurate reds every single print. Vibrant color consistency takes custom merch to the next level while avoiding wasted overhead on botched print runs.

Let me know if the expanded troubleshooting walkthrough clarifies the likely causes and corrective actions needed!

Please suggest any other specifics to cover around restoring beautiful bright reds coming out of sublimation printers.

Bella Williams

I'm Bella, a mom of 3 cuties. With 7 years of sublimation experience, my blog focuses on all things sublimation and printing. Join me for tips, tutorials, and inspiration to enhance your sublimation journey. Let's create and thrive together!
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