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Which vinyl is dishwasher safe?

One of the most asked questions we receive is “What vinyl is dishwasher safe?”  The short answer is “none” but there’s more to the answer simply because many will argue that they put things in the dishwasher all the time with no issues.  There are many variables and because of the many variables, results will vary widely.  Regardless of tests, history, what you might read on blogs (It’s on the Internet so it must be true, right?), dishwasher safe vinyl does not exist due to the many variables that can affect it.  To me, if it is going to say that it’s dishwasher safe, there should be no concerns for any of the items I’m going to discuss below, right?  I mean, peel it off, stick it on anything you want to put in the dishwasher and it will be ok, right?  I don’t think so.

Below I’ll list a few of the things to consider:

1.  There is no vinyl or heat transfer vinyl that is officially listed as dishwasher safe.  Anyone who lists their vinyl as “dishwasher safe” is simply wrong and usually if pressed on the topic, they will usually back off and say most of the things I’m about to tell you below.  Some use the term “dishwasher friendly” because it turns it into a grey area, again depending on the things I’m going to list below.  Any manufacturer that says their vinyl is dishwasher safe is simply going out on a limb and we would never endorse such a blanket statement.

2.  Although adhesives may be waterproof, that doesn’t mean they will last though various water pressures and temperatures in different dishwashers.  As a test I put glassware with vinyl that had cured for over 72 hours through our old Maytag dishwasher and since we keep our hot water a little hotter than most people probably do, it stripped the vinyl and pretty much melted it.

3.  Surface is very important and depending on what you are applying it to, the vinyl may be more or less susceptible to peeling.  Smooth surfaces such as acrylic or glass are better than perhaps a cup with a textured coating on it.

4.  Surface area is very important as the more surface area you apply in your design with it will be less likely to peel than thin lines and fonts.

5.  When applying vinyl it’s important to apply with firm pressure to activate the adhesive.  Plastic squeegees are perfect for this task.  Many people use a cricut tool for this, but it’s not a squeegee.  It’s actually a scraper so it does not make good contact due to the rigid curved surface.

6.  Doesn’t applying HTV to a cup make it dishwasher safe?  I mean, if it can go through a washer on a shirt, why wouldn’t it be dishwasher safe?  The adhesive on HTV is not intended for solid surfaces.  Many people like to experiment and there certainly is no rule that says you can’t apply HTV to a solid surface, but that’s definitely not what it was designed for so results will vary widely.  The cup press that comes with many heat presses is intended for sublimation, not HTV.

7.  What about 751 or 951?  These use the same adhesive as 651 and you can Read More About The Differences Here.  None are technically dishwasher safe regardless of what you may read on a vendor’s site or ads.

Items with vinyl should also not really be put in a microwave.  Vinyl is PVC and when heated excessively can give off poisonous fumes.
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