Not all water based inks are equal. We only use water based textile inks. No discharge printing, no transfers, no PVC or phthalates, and no solvents.
We are sponsored by Colormaker Industries and use their Permaset Aqua and Permaprint water based inks for all our textile and paper printing. We work closely with Colormaker to provide feedback from the perspective of a commercial screen printer. We also test new products and give new/potential customers technical assistance to help them make the transition to water based inks. We’re one of only a handful of T-shirt printers in the UK to use only water based inks and the first eco-friendly screen printer to move over to water based textile inks that contain no white spirits at all.
Why use water based inks?
Most commercial screen printers print garments using plastisol inks, which are easy to use and last well. However, plastisol inks contain PVC and phthalates that are harmful to the environment and have been linked to numerous medical disorders. Plastisol inks also require the use of harmful solvents in the cleaning process. Water based inks do not contain PVC or phthalates and you don’t need solvents to clean the screens down after they’ve been used – you can clean them with water.
Permaset Aqua inks do not contain ozone-depleting chemicals such as CFC’s and HCFC’s, aromatic hydrocarbons or any volatile solvents. They don’t contain lead or any heavy metals. In fact, Permaset Aqua inks do not contain any toxic chemicals at all! Not even white spirits like other water based inks on the market. It passed the Oekotex Class 1 standard (with 60% to spare!) and is safe to use on underwear, swimwear and even baby clothes.
If the quality is the same, why doesn’t everyone use water based inks?
Good question. Water based inks can be difficult to use. They air dry and can clog up the screen during printing. It takes a bit of getting used to but it’s worth it. Traditionally water based inks were not as hard-wearing and durable as plastisol inks and weren’t as opaque but things are different now.
Hard wearing, bright colours and high opacity
Permaset Aqua was developed with this in mind and is highly durable to wash, wear and even to dry clean. We recommend washing up to 40°C but don’t recommend tumble drying. The inks contain a superior pigment colour for brightness and opacity, which means that you can use water based inks on dark colours without having to resort to bleaching the fabric using harmful discharge printing. Don’t believe those that tell you that discharge printing is the only way to print onto dark garments and don’t believe that it’s eco-friendly either. Water based inks have the added benefit that they don’t have a rubbery feel like plastisol inks or transfer printing and are softer to the touch.
If you want to try Permaset inks you can try the following suppliers: