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Do you often feel confused about choosing digital printing inks, reactive ink or pigment ink? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! The choice of ink significantly impacts the quality, durability, and color sharpness of the printed results. For those in the digital textile printing world, understanding the differences between reactive ink and pigment ink is crucial.

The choice of ink greatly determines the final print quality. The type of ink used depends on the printer and the printing medium. Each ink has its own advantages and disadvantages. Let’s dive into the types of inks commonly used for digital printing!

Reactive Ink

What is Reactive Ink?

Reactive ink is a type of ink frequently used in conventional textile printing. This ink can be used on natural fibers such as cotton, silk, wool, or viscose. The main advantage of reactive ink is its high color quality and excellent wash fastness, especially on cotton and viscose materials. This makes it a favorite choice for fashion brands that want color durability even after frequent washing.

Why is Reactive Ink Suitable for Digital Textile Printing?

In the digital textile printing world, reactive ink is very popular because its small molecules easily pass through inkjet nozzles, allowing high-resolution printing with sharp details. Additionally, reactive ink is ideal for cotton fabrics, the most commonly used material in this industry.

However, there are specific challenges in using reactive ink, especially in producing deep black colors. Some types of reactive inks, such as VS (Vinyl Sulfon) ink and MCT (MonoChlor-Triazine) ink, have different characteristics in terms of stability and black color depth.

Pigment Ink

What is Pigment Ink?

Pigment ink is another popular choice in the digital textile printing world. In fact, about 60% of all conventionally printed fabrics use pigment ink, don’t you believe me? Check it out. Pigment dyes are insoluble molecules that adhere to fabric fibers with the help of binders. This process does not involve chemical reactions, so the pigments only adhere to the fabric’s surface. Pigment ink is known for its ability to produce bright and long-lasting colors, as well as being more environmentally friendly.

Pigment ink is perfect for polyester-cotton blends and gives a durable and bright color appearance. However, for a soft finish, additional silicone washing is often needed.

Here are some benefits of using pigment ink:

Compatibility with Various Fabrics

Pigment ink is very suitable for use on mixed fabrics. Unlike reactive ink, pigment ink can be used on both natural and synthetic fabrics, making it the most versatile option. Currently, no other digital ink can be used on mixed fabrics, so pigment ink becomes the best solution for this need.

Reducing Carbon Footprint

The use of digital pigment ink reduces the number of steps in the printing process. There is no need to steam and wash the fabric after printing, which saves time and effort. In a context where society, policymakers, and customers are increasingly concerned about environmental impact, eliminating the need to steam and wash can drastically reduce a company’s carbon footprint. Switching to digital pigment printing shows a commitment to becoming more environmentally friendly and operationally sustainable.

Enhanced Color Quality and Texture

Digital pigment inks now have significantly better color speed and brightness. The results are almost indistinguishable from reactive and sublimation fabric printing techniques. Innovations in ink chemistry and fabric pre-treatment have improved the quality of printed textiles. With proper pre-treatment, high color brilliance and finished fabric quality can be significantly enhanced, producing soft and smooth fabrics that meet the high standards of the fashion industry.

Excellent Light Fastness Color fastness is an important factor in the textile industry, and pigment ink has excellent light fastness. This makes it an ideal choice for home and outdoor textiles. This outstanding light fastness does not compromise wash fastness. With proper pre-treatment, the colors will remain vibrant and bright, allowing pigment ink applications in the fashion market as well.

When to Use Reactive Ink and Pigment Ink?

Choosing between reactive ink and pigment ink depends on the type of fabric and the desired final result. If printing on 100% cotton or viscose fabrics, reactive ink is the best choice as it provides consistent and long-lasting colors. Meanwhile, for fabrics that are not frequently washed or require bright colors like scarves or ties, pigment ink can be a better choice.

For printing on silk or wool fabrics that will be washed frequently, reactive ink remains the top choice due to its color durability. But if looking for a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective solution, digital pigment ink is worth considering.

Shop Fabrics at Paramatex

Still confused about choosing between reactive ink and pigment ink for your digital textile printing needs? Don’t worry! Paramatex, as a trusted fabric supplier, is ready to help. With a wide selection of high-quality fabrics, Paramatex can provide the best solutions according to your printing needs. Visit Paramatex and find the perfect fabric for your printing project. Enjoy exceptional print quality with the best fabrics from Paramatex!

Reactive ink and pigment ink each have their own advantages. Choose according to the type of media and your printing needs for optimal results. Happy printing!

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