Sublimation printing process – step by step guide

Sublimation (aka dye sublimation process ) or printing is so much fun! You actually get to print whatever you can imagine onto polyester (or stuff coated with polyester) and do it at your home/garage/basement. As long as you have the tools and materials the process is straight forward with little chance for failure. Yes, you might need some trial and error in order to learn the specific printer and press machine you are using but the method itself is easy.

You might need a bigger printer or multiple runs with the press machines for different structures but all in all the process will be the same whether you perform it in your home basement or in a sublimation business.

Step by step guide:

What do you need?

The two main tools for the process are

  • Sublimation printer

A special printer that knows how to take the sublimation dye and apply it to the sublimation paper. Obviously, you will also need Dye Sublimation Ink

TIP: you can find a lot of guides around recommending you to buy this model or another. Well, not any inkjet is a good sublimation printer! Do your research and make sure it is valid for this application. I have a positive experience with the Epson C88 which is cheap but definitely do the work or the Epson Artisan 1430 when I need bigger prints. Just remember that you need the special ink cartridges and dye.

Epson Artisan 1430 Wireless Color Wide-Format Inkjet Printer

TIP: Don’t use the original ink first then sublimation. You have to use sublimation ink only otherwise you will have a problem with the printer head.

TIP 2: once a printer is used for sublimation it can no longer be used as a regular inkjet.

TIP 3: In order to maintain the printer in good shape and avoid dry ink I would recommend using the printer at least once a week.

TIP 4: Though supporting sublimation, not all printers comes with the ability out of the box. You need to purchase a CIS separately

You have tons of dye inks to choose from. For me, I’m using Cobra sublimation ink

  • Press machine

Generate the heat and hold the printed design and material you print on together. The most common one is flat surface press machines but there are also machines with a unique design like those that are used to print mugs and custom made presses. Though sounds simple there are variations in quality that directly affect the results of the application. For example, the way the heat spread, you really need it to be even in order for the whole layout to stick You will hate having little projection hanging by a thread and washed away the first time some water touches the fabric.

PowerPress HPM-1515-BK Industrial-Quality Digital Sublimation T-Shirt Heat Press Machine, 15

I would recommend the PowerPress HPM-1515-BK. It can surely support the need of a home amateur as well as a small business. 15 x 15 is a good size, that can support the entire chest areas from size women’s XS to men’s XXL.

TIP: This thing is heavy! don’t plan to store and take it out frequently.

  • Dye Sublimation Paper

Just make sure the paper you are using fits the gel or water-based dye you acquired

  • Some kind of adhesive

The most common use is the Thermal tape but you can also use an adhesive spray (mainly for fabrics who tends to move a little).

Heat Resistant Tapes Sublimation Transfer Thermal Tape

  • Parchment paper

You really want this barrier between the stuff you print on and the press in order to avoid dye bleeding and leave well-sublimed residues.. 5mil Teflon sheets

  • Blanks

A t-shirt or any other material you are going to transfer your design onto

 

Create your digital image design

Can’t really help you on this step… sorry. You will have to use your creativity and graphic design skills in order to form the image you want to print. Here are some tips:

    1. Most people I know use photoshop.
    2. You can download a template (and some details) from coastal business
    3. Remember that you need to create a mirror image of your design.

Print the application using a sublimation printer

    1. Printer settings – Make sure you use high-quality,  no color adjustments and the mirror image checked (very important!)
    2. Load the paper in the right face up/down
    3. Print

Press the design

    1. Preheat the press
    2. Put the packing paper below and above the blank material and the printer design
    3. Place garments/blanks
    4. Clean and align
    5. Put and align the printed design
    6. Secure to place (with adhesive spray or thermal tape)
    7. Press – Time and temperature varies based on paper, the material you print on, dye, your press machine etc…. You can read the instructions and recommended settings but in the end, it is going to be some trial and error

And… ta-da-da-dam! You have your newly printed application ready for use

Polyester coating

Dyepress Poly T-Spray Sublimation Coating for T-Shirts

Chemically speaking the dye we are using here is tuned to stick to polyesters, you will get the best results when trying to apply this process over a 100% polyester fabric. Happily, for us, there is also a polyester coating that knows how to stick onto other materials like glass, all kind of ceramics, wood surfaces and granite stone. When heated in the range of 400-425 degrees it will react enough to “glue” the dye sublimated inks. Dyepress is famous on the line of coating products both for fabrics and solids (check their store on Amazon)

 

Sublimation printing services

It’s not that there is a limit to the stuff you can (semi) DIY at home but for there are some cases where I will positively consider a professional service :

  • Quantity – doing one or two t-shirts is fun, doing two sets for an entire sports team is hell
  • Size – As explained above you surely can split your design into multiple prints and presses but it adds some complexity and risk. I believe that I will stop at 3 part. If I have more I will go to someone that has a plotter and bigger press
  • Complexity – whether you do not have the press or if it is a challenging print like one design that needs to cover the entire shirt including sleeves and hoodie

Sublimated graphics

Practically speaking there is no limit to the level of graphics you can print using this method. I have seen works which are as fine as a hair ( or a pixel ) and id the process was perfect then so did the results. Like anything else in life, the cheap stuff will not deliver. Make sure you have it all in high quality, the design, the paper, the printer, the dye, and the press machine. As most of those are kind of technical (besides the graphics work) I believe that the most important step is the alignment and cleaning of the blanks/printed paper. As much as you will align those two and secure the moving parts in place you will have less ghosting and blurring in the results.

 

If you are looking to learn the ins and outs of this application you can visit this Wikipedia page that gives some more details

 

how to clean a mildew shower?

I can’t even start to describe how much I hate those mildew patches in my shower. I don’t care if these are mildewed or molded areas, I just don’t want them in my bathroom. Yes, I know it is easy to get rid of those using the methods below but I’m also going to tell you how to make sure  It won’t come back.

If you are just looking for to quickly get rid of the mildew here are the steps :

  1. Get hold of mildew removal solution. The best are vinegar, Borax or Bleach. The latter is the most effective one but I suggest to start with the more natural solution and avoid the toxic fumes (see a list of environment-friendly solutions).
  2. Spray or wash the affected areas with the solution. Make sure you form a generous coat and the liquid cover both the tiles and grout on the lower parts of the shower or the infected ceiling area and corners. Pay special attention to all the small crevices, corners and cracks as those as really favored by the mildew.
  3. Let it dwell for 10-15 minutes. Assuming it is not the low tiles on your shower or the ceiling corner it is better to let the solution work for few minutes and make sure it is penetrating all the holes.
  4. Scrub all the mildew. Don’t be shy here scrub as hard as you can and make sure nothing left behind. Use a rough wipe or a toothbrush for the stubborn areas, the grout, and caulking. Remember that these are living fungus that needs to be killed and removed.
  5. Dry all leftovers. Use a cloth, an old towel or anything that you don’t really need (especially if you chose to go with the bleach option). Make sure to leave the treated tiles and walls as dry as possible.

These 4 steps will work in most cases. If you see that you failed then you probably need more advanced mildew and mold removal techniques

But first let’s understand what is mildew and why does it form in our bathroom

Why do I have mildew in showers?

In one word: moist.

Mildew is a living organism that flourishes in a wet environment. Their role in the environment is clear and we need it in order to help organic material decay. The problem is that this quality is also the one damaging our rooms and walls the fungus do not really make a difference between a leafs and grout, they just eat it all.

So what does mildew needs in order to form? Organic material and water (in any form). Theoretically speaking mildew start to form within 24-48 hours in a damp environment. Once formed they keep on spreading the colony while damaging the materials they grow on. Most organic materials are in risk to be attacked by the mold, the usual suspects are:

Insulation, wallpaper, drywall, foods, tiles, carpets, decaying plants, cardboard etc.

It is important to understand that as long as the two resources will be available the mildew will keep on propagate to adjacent material. In general, one needs to remove the source of the moist and kill/remove the fungus. Yet this is not a real option in a shower room… which leave us with removal and prevention.

Black mold patches on white drywall

Is it toxic and dangerous to your health?

On a day to day basis, we are all exposed to airborne mold spores and it’s all fine. Problems occur in one of the special cases:

  • Consumption of  high quantities
  • A sensitive or allergic person
  • individuals with existing respiratory conditions

The symptoms are very similar to an allergic reaction you are familiar with (sneezing, rush, eye irritation, etc.).

Unless we are dealing with a toxic black mold (Stachybotrys atra). How do you identify these malicious creatures? It doesn’t matter! If you really want to you can read about it in the Wikipedia link but the rule is that all mold and mildew need to be removed.

Advanced mildew cleaning techniques

So the bleach solution didn’t make it ha?

The safest solution will be to call an expert mold removal service that will make sure to professionally get rid of it all. They usually have the right tools to detect the source of water feeding the mold. Next, they isolate the affected area using a negative air pressure chamber and apply structural drying methods

TIP: Bear in mind that might never actually see the mold, In a lot of cases it grows inside the walls or under a wooden or tiled floor.

But here are some things you can still do on your own :

  • If you have molded fabrics or fabrics alike (bathroom carpet, shower curtains, etc.)  do yourself a favor and just throw these away.
  • Though most shower room walls are protected with tiles there might be a leakage that gets the walls wet. It has nothing to do with the humidity and water inside the room but it still a huge problem. As before the rule is simple but not really … If you have mold inside the wallboards there is no way but to get rid of the entire wall and replace it. The same rule applies for the insulation, through away the infected parts and replace Bummer.
  • Same goes for grout and   if you tried to bleach the hell out of them and the black stains remain and expand you will have to completely remove and reapply

Make sure the mildew is not coming back

The perfect conditions for mold and mildew to form are warm, damp and humid conditions which make our role easy. We just need to make sure these factors are constantly reduced.

  • Keep the water away as much as possible. Use a mop or squeegee and make sure to remove any extra water buildups, just add a step to your shower routine and get rid of the water. Same goes to the sink area, make sure that you do not leave before it is dry.
  • Vent vent vent – Even if you will try you won’t be able to always completely dry your bath or shower. Water will always remain in cracks, corners or anywhere else you didn’t swipe. That’s why we need the help of moving air to vaporize the left over. Leave a window open or make sure that you have a vent that will keep on running for at least 10 minutes after you shut the light (check the Panasonic WhisperCeiling ventilation solution on Amazon)
  • Reduce humidity – Either use Damprid or a dehumidifier like the Honeywell Germ-Free Cool Mist Humidifier (check on Amazon)r
  • Check for leaks and fix them – On the simple cases you see them with your eyes, on some cases you will even smell it. You might want to check your outside water gauge from time to time; if no water is being used it should be static. If it moves? Houston we have a problem
  • Use mold inhibitors which can be added to paints.
  • Do you have air ducts installed in your shower? Make sure those are clean from mold and mildew. Check thoroughly the duct’s inside surface, or if duct insulation has been wet.
  • Set a periodic schedule to look for the signs. Look for the black spots and  moldy odors. Use mold-kand moldyducts like Instant Mold Stain (check on Amazon). Just to be on the safe side

How to remove mold from walls with vinegar?

No dought this is the most natural and easy to get and simple to applicate. Take regular distilled white vinegar and baking soda (hydrogen peroxide in its fancy name). Just mix 80% of the vinegar with 20% water and add baking soda or borax in the rate of half a cup of vinegar to every two tablespoons of Borax to the mix.

Start scrubbing.

A hard brush or an old toothbrush will make wonders and will be really helpful. Note that the solution you have mixed is unhealthy and need to be thrown away or properly stored after used.

Wipe all the remains and wash with water and soap.

That’s all, you are done.

TIP: Use natural white vinegar. All the rest will not deliver the same results

TIP 2: For ease of use you might want to mix everything in a spray bottle, though a small container will definitely do the work as well.

 

Environment-friendly mildew removal solutions

  • Tea Tree Oil (check on Amazon) – All natural oil from Australia. Family and pet-friendly mold removal. Make sure to let it dwell on the infected areas for some time.
  • Vinegar – known to kill 82% spices. Just pure it into a spray bottle (no need to add water) and spay. The smell will disappear in a few hours
  • Baking soda – One tablespoon in a spray bottle full of water should do the work.

Gaffer tape vs Duct tape

Like anybody else, I always keep a few rolls of duct tape around, one at home, one in my car, one with the camping gear etc. This stuff is so useful that it gives you peace of mind to know that you always have on hand.

I have tested both the gaffer and the duck cloth brands and listed my little research results down below. Yes, they are all multi-purpose, they all have a fabric back and they can all hold a fort. But which one is the best? Which one would l trust to be in the front of my toolbox for a quick fix?

black gorilla tape

With all the respect to the two brands in question here, I truly believe that my preferred one will be the Gorilla tape. This tape is simply in a class by itself.  Durability wise it is with no dought the best option over the two in question, just holding it in hand gives you the assurance that it is a thicker material that will hold stronger for you.

When I want reliability and true multipurpose my experience shows that I need to go with the ape. For me, the glue masters from Gorilla have done it again.

Note: For some specific uses (like holding cables and replacing a bra) the Gaffer have no competition.

duct tape on an old wheel

I have tried to summarize the important factor in this quick table below

Gorilla tape Duct MAX Strength Real Premium Grade Gaffer
Price Check on Check on Check on
Stickiness / Adhesiveness High Medium Medium
Durability High Medium Medium
Easy to tear High High High
Tape quality High High High

These factors are definitely the most important one when assessing a good tape.

Stickiness

You want it to hold, you need to be sure that there is some killer glue behind it. Durability – My kids’ clear tape might be able to hold the windows covers in the wind for few seconds but this is not what important, holding a roof patch for two seasons (I know, I know… ) is what I’m looking for.

Easy to tear 

this is a working tool and I hate working for my tools, I wat to be able to have what I need as smooth as possible, the easy tearing is an amazing feature that I really learned to appreciate.

Tape quality

kind of an overall grade the feel of the tape

Other technical details I have collected around

Gorilla Tape Duck MAX Strength Real Premium Grade Gaffer
width 1.88” 1.88” 2”
length 35 yard 35 yard 30 yard
color Black, White, Silver 7 colors with a reflective finish 18 colors. Matte finish blends in and don’t reflect light or draw attention
Thickness 17 mils 11.5 mils
Waterproof Yes Yes Maybe
Weatherproof Not very heat resistant Not very heat resistant Able to resist high heat temperatures.Not designed to withstand a lot of moisture on its adhesive side

Gaffer tape

Holds things down and comes off clean. Being able to remove the tape without leaving any residue is a unique quality that might be mandatory to some uses.  Unless you have very old paintwork or already pealing subsurface the gaff tape won’t damage the surface. The innovative revel from Kim Kardationa is hilarious and hopefully, opened new markets for the company. Together with the cable and stages industry, it seems like they have their own specialty domains.

Gorilla tape

You get what you pay for. This one is probably a little pricy but with all the benefits it is surely a good investment. Going on an outdoors trip, being on the water or just fixing some stuff around the house you want to know that you can trust your fixes. Whether you need to hold until you get to a safe place (maybe a little hole in the kayak?) or help you fight the elements (did anyone said a chimney cover?) this all-weather shell will be there with you.

Thick adhesive and tough tape which tears fairly easily.

One area that you need to remember is that the Gorilla does not perform as well as expected when applied in high-temperature conditions. I would say that anywhere over 113 Fahrenheit is a bit tricky for the application. For example, if you believe that your glue will have to stay for a long time in a closed vehicle under direct sunlight then you might want to look for another solution. The glue might melt and the tape will most likely peel off.

Bottom line is that this is the preferred tape money can buy.

Totally worth the little bump in cost.

Duct tape

The popular brand that also gave this industry its name hence getting a little branding advantage. I believe that for a normal day to day use they deliver a good product that will give the results. I like their attempts to shine to other than contractors, handymen, and DIY people by opening their portfolio to different colors and patterns that are truly delightful.

If you are looking for a good on-t]he-budget solution then this is most likely the one for you. Well rounded qualities that will give good results for normal needs.

 

Duct tape and creativity

Same like me people have become true fans of this amazing material. A quick check around the net will bring you tons of unique ideas like :

  • duct tape crafts – You will not believe that this thing from your emergency kit can look like that
  • You definitely want to look for some of the old Mythbusters episodes where they tested some of the myths, build a boat, a bridge, and a few other epic things.
  • Teens have adopted it as well and run the duct tape challenge :

Conclusion

I think every guy should be issued a roll of duct tape for each car he owns!

My method is to hold two types of tapes around: High-quality and expensive and the average. Whenever I’m in a need for tape I just choose which one of them to use.

Bubble wrap for cars

It’s a bummer to put the car away for any reason but it’s great knowing that the car is as protected as it can be. As most of us do not have a Jay Lenno garage under our hand we need to find an alternative solution when it comes to our prize possession vehicle.

So can I bubble wrap my car? It’s more like putting it into a bubble. The CarCapsule bubble is a must have for anyone that wants to wrap their stored car and keep it clean and worry-free from dirt, leaves, bugs, trash, raindrops, leaking roof, and anything in general, its a physical protection combined with a fan that warns off the  moisture and humidity out of bubble keeping your car rust free and dry. Nothing, not even a cover, touches the car. Only air. What could be better for a prized vehicle?

TIP: If you actually want to wrap your car with bubble wrap you can find 700ft of it here

CarCapsule CC16F 16' Indoor bubble

Why do you need to protect your car while in storage?

After spending weeks researching different solution I summarize my needs to the following:

  1. Rodents

Whether you are living on a small farm or your car is in a city garage there are a lot of mice and other creatures that are looking to take over our car. We all have stories of occasional rodent nibbling on the wires or getting into the interior and making a mess of the seats. Nests in our mufflers or spiders webbing everything etc.

  1. Humidity, Moisture, and RUST

Unless you are deep in the desert you surely need to battle humidity.  Condensation on your cars can drive you nuts even though they are stored in your home secured parking. The equation is clear, water around the car equals rust which leads to paint problems and corrosion. On top of that, there is a mold risk. This pain in the butt attacks seats, vinyl parts, and other soft areas and force you to thoroughly clean it out.

I will say it again: Damp environment is the worst risk when storing stuff in a close space and specifically for vehicles.  Even if you feel that everything is fine after a few days rust and other issues might appear in a later stage.

TIP: If you don’t really suffer from the obvious signs it doesn’t mean that you are safe. A humidity gauge is something always handy to have around.

  1. Dust & Debris

It is enough to just open the door while the wind is blowing or a window for some fresh air and dirt and dust, will find their way in. A garage is a working environment, we open the door, we get in and out constantly cutting, welding, painting etc. Can’t help making a mess in a working area.

  1. Scratches (ahhhhh!!!)

Scratched silver car door

Fancy colored cars are cool (did I hear yellow?), but its a hell of a challenge keeping that mirror finish on the dark paint. Any little scratch will be like a spotlight. Most of us  share the garage with kids’ bicycle, people getting in and out taking tools and stuff or an occasional baseball that fly in by mistake, Conventional car covers do leave small scratches on the clear coat that I have to deal with each time I pull the car out to drive

Anyway, you don’t want a regular car cover sitting on the paint for months.

Bubble wrapped vintage black car

Will the car bubble help me with all of that?

In short: YES.

It is an excellent means of storing your car out of the elements for a lengthy period of time. 120-millimeter fans are used to keep the PVC cover inflated, those extra fast fans run continuously making sure to keep the dome up and the humidity out. That is exactly how it is able to continuously exchange the air 4 to 5 times an hour which completely eliminate moisture. The flowing air is filtered, keeping dust and other particles out of the bubble.

Variations in temperature don’t affect the bubbles either. It was reported to hold successfully on humid areas as well as extreme cold  Inside the car remains nice and dry and stays that way as the air slowly exchanges through leakage in the zipper.

And… You get to look at the car during storage.

What about electricity failures?

No worries here, it deflates and rests on the car until the power comes back on and then it inflates.

How do I know what size of CarCapsule bubble I need to order?

The vendor’s instructions are fairly simple. Measure the length from bumper to bumper and just take the net size. For example, you will need the 16ft version if your bumper to bumper measurements are 15ft plus change.

Currently, they have versions from 14foot to 22foot (and an 8foot version for motorcycles)

TIP : I would recommend ordering a little wider (if you have storage room) to be able to walk around inside while inflated to access vehicle.

Tight size would probably work but it would be difficult to walk around it to zip it shut. if you are already short on space in the garage then a car capsule will most likely be a waste. Either clear some space or think on another idea for storage protection.

 

Will it work for outdoor storage?

There are more rigid versions of the product that were designed to hold the challenges of putting cars in the open (just think about protecting it from hail). According to the vendor heavier materials, UV and cold crack protection, two stronger fans and few more additions will allow those cover to defend your piece against the outside world challenges.

Outdoor storage wrap from carcapsule

How about setting it up?

First time setting up takes a good half hour to 45 minutes, however, once you know what you’re doing it can be done in about 10 to 15 minutes with two people. Try to have someone else helping you in the setup process, not that it is mandatory but it will make it faster and easier. Another tip is to avoid doing the first installation on a cold day. Like any flexible plastic, the capsule will get hard and hard to manipulate.

All in all, It was very simple and straightforward to set up and use.

Conclusion

If you have a classic car and live somewhere you can’t or don’t drive it year round then this should be the first thing you buy after you get the car titled.

In my view, it is probably the best storage option I’ve seen yet for longer-term storage.

What is DampRid?

Don’t you hate this little musty smell you get when you enter your basement? Have you got moisture in the air around you? Well, you probably need DampRid.  Just leave it in the humid space and you will easily get rid of the excess moisture from the air.

DampRid is a portfolio fo solutions aims to attract and trap moisture from the air.  By reducing the humidity DampRid prevents damage to goods (mainly from the mold) and musty odors which are common in close spaces. The main ingredient is a salt names calcium chloride which is all natural, refillable and disposable. 

Its role is to help keep the moisture level below 60 percent.

Why do you need to decrease moisture in the air?

Mold is a harmful fungus that grows into our home from too much moisture. Mold can be easily found in wet areas like bathroom, attics, and basements. They can grow in places like leaking roofs, pipes, windows or walls. By keeping your room with minimum moisture, you will be able to prevent this mold from growing into your rooms.

Heavily molded room

DampRid can be purchased in fragrance-free or different pleasurable scents to make a room fresh and free from that musty smell. I believe that anyone in a humid-risk area needs to keep it in the basement, closet, laundry room, office, kitchen, garage, storage unit, gym locker or even in the car.

TIP: If you don’t really suffer from the obvious signs it doesn’t mean that you are safe. A humidity gauge is something always handy to have around.

Hygrometer Indoor Thermometer Humidity Gauge with Jumbo Touchscreen and Backlight Temperature Humidity Monitor

DampRid ingredients:

There is only one simple ingredient used in DampRid. DampRid consists of a non-toxic mineral called calcium chloride which is in the shape of large crystals of salt. It is very similar to rock salt and can be commonly found anywhere. You can use it for melting snow or hard ice and is widely used in products like de-icers. People usually toss this mineral in swimming pools and aquariums in order to balance the chemical level of the water as well. Calcium chloride is also sometimes used in canned food products like tofu or canned vegetables to firm them up. Although the use of this mineral in foods is somewhat debatable, I recommend you not to consume it because it is not safe. The method of calcium chloride is also used by doctors for the treatment of some diseases. The ingredient inside DampRid does not have any bad odor and is safe to use.

The main benefits of it are:

  • Replaceable and refillable.
  • Disposable
  • Highly effective dehumidifier.

Is DampRid toxic?

According to my extensive online research DampRid does not emit any fumes, vapor or gas of any type, so it is not toxic or harmful for the environment. It is an all-natural product and will not provide any irritation.

not toxic

Even though the mineral used in DampRid is all natural, it should be placed in a position that is out of reach for children and pets. The contents should be avoided to be in contact with eyes or skin and should not be consumed in any case. If in contact with eyes, immediately wash. Remove any contact lenses and thoroughly rinse with cold water. If in contact with skin, wash with soap. In case of continuing irritation, seek medical assistance. If the contents are ingested, seek immediate medical help. However, the manufacturers say that children might put it in their mouths but will not swallow it due to the bad taste.

The product is covered with a tight lid, so it does not permit the calcium chloride to fall out, but to stay cautious, it is best to keep it on an out of reach spot for the kids and pets. Calcium chloride can cause esophagus or burns in the mouth. It can also cause vomiting, stomach ache, low blood pressure, weakness, mental disturbances, irregular heart rate, and even coma if swallowed. It is recommended not to put DampRid on metal or leather surfaces as it can easily damage these materials.

Nothing new here, just be on the guard same way as you do with the rest of the risky semi materials we deal with

DampRid vs. dehumidifier:

Damprid vs dehumidifier comparison

Dehumidifier and the DampRid serve different purposes. Yes, they both reduce moisture from the room but all in all, have different functions.

The dehumidifier

Takes out humidity from the rooms that are extremely hot. It sucks out excess moisture depending on the size and quality, but at the same time will cost you more. A dehumidifier will usually cost from $30 to $200 or above according to the brand you purchase. It will also run on electricity which is an added expense. According to a dehumidifier brand called Pingi, an averagely sized dehumidifier will use power that will cost over $150 per year if used for more than 10 hours a day.  Dehumidifiers are heavy and often have wheels for comfortable support. They cover up big space and are often noisy. Some usually give out fresh air and can serve as an air conditioner which further lessens the humidity in the room. The also usually come with a humidistat that can be adjusted to the level of moisture in the place.

A bucket of DampRid

Is used for smaller rooms with mildly humid environments. It sucks out the moisture and collects it later to be disposed of. It is disposable and costs around $10 which makes it cheap and easy to use. The DampRid is an entirely natural process of taking out moisture from the environment and is non-toxic as well. It has crystalline calcium chloride that is a great and effective way to remove any moisture in the room. The pouches in the product are refillable or disposable. The product can be hanged or kept anywhere as it does not require a plug or electricity to work. It also does not consume power which saves you the trouble of adding further expense to your bills. This is ideal for closed spaces like closets, storerooms or places where a dehumidifier will probably not fit; you can easily hang or put it. It is also great for nooks or bathrooms where the chances of growth for mold is predictable.

The advantage of using DampRid over a dehumidifier:

Price

The advantage of using this product is that it is disposable. It is twenty times less expensive than a dehumidifier and costs around $10. For small or compact places, this is ideal to use, especially for mildly humid environments. DampRid will not use electricity as compared to a dehumidifier and thus will not make an addition to your electricity bills.

Easy to use

The fact that the DampRid is disposable makes it convenient. You do not have to find a plug to switch it in or clean its moisture bucket. Just take the lid off and put in anywhere you like. After it reaches its full limit throw it away and put a new one.

Versatility

Because the DampRid does not need to be plugged in, this makes the product versatile. You can easily put it in a storage unit, car or truck for use.

To sum up the comparison I would say that if you have one very expensive vintage car in a non-air-conditioned garage you should probably go with the dehumidifier. For the rest of the simple cases, DampRid will most likely do the work

Important tips to remember when using DampRid:

While using it home:

  • DampRid is not only for taking out moisture, but it can also be used for preventing foul odors from places like closets, bathrooms, mudrooms, garage, storerooms, etc. Special DampRid products are available that have pleasing scents that help the room stay fresh.
  • Moisture and humidity can quickly ruin your things and clothes. The DampRid helps to protect your valuable stuff. It is recommended not to use this product in safe boxes.
  • In the case of the high humid environment, the DampRid will need to be replaced more often.
  • When the bucket is full, pour the contents out and refill with new crystalline calcium chloride pouches or refillable packets.
  • The product does not absorb liquid as it is, it absorbs moisture from the air.
  • If any of your product is wet, like cellophane or other electronic product, you can put the product inside the DampRid and close its lid tight. It will absorb all moisture from the product

On the boat:

  • You will have to replace the DampRid buckets more often on a boat because of high humidity and moisture levels. Obviously, it cannot be used for absorbing water, only for moisture absorption from the air.

For RV and campers:

  • Whether if the RV is on the road or in storage, DampRid can be a useful product to keep it protected from moisture damage.
  • You can put it anywhere, the kitchen, bathroom, living room or anywhere else.These are the immediate suspects to get damaged or molds due to high levels of humidity.
  • It is essential to keep the bucket of DampRid in a place where it would not tip or fall. So that the absorbed moisture does not fall out or in case of leakage it does not spill all over.

In the car:

  • The DampRid prevents any moisture or odor collecting in your vehicle. Just place it under the seat of your car and let it work as a moisture absorber or solely for odor prevention.
  • It is even more effective when all windows and the sunroof is closed. You can keep it even when your car is not in use.
  • When kept under the seat, your car will be more fresh and scented from the inside.

How to apply sealer to grout – step by step guide

Sealers play an important role in the care and maintenance of natural stone, tile, and grout. Though solid these surfaces need a little help in order to protect against water and weather and on some cases just improve their look. I’m not an expert but based on my research and experience I believe I can help newbies with some guidance and tips.

You do need to seal grout

First, let’s remove the question from the table: You do need to seal grout. As it is a mix of sand and cement it really needs some help stop absorbing water and other liquids. Not only that you need to waterproof it you want to do it every one or two years.

Where do you need to seal? Shower floor, kitchen counter, outdoor flooring and anything with a porous stone

Step by step

In this guide, I will show you how to select and apply a sealer in 9 easy steps

  1. Choose the right sealer
  2. Gather the tools you need for the task
  3. Make sure the surface is dry and clean
  4. Apply sealer in an even coat
  5. Allow sealer to dwell for five minutes
  6. Wipe remains until the surface is completely dry
  7. Wait for 30 minutes and apply a second coat (steps 4-6)
  8. Wait two hours and test
  9. If failed apply the third coat

Choose the right sealer

As I do not recommend the spray option I will assume that you are going to choose one of the liquids that need to be applied using a brush or a roller. The three main options and recommended brands are  Miracle Sealants, Tuff Duck and StoneTech. I believe that those three are more or less the same with some minor differences between them. If I would really need to choose I will probably go with the StoneTech one.

If you are interested I added my little review on those three options below

Gather the tools you need for the task

Sealer – make sure that you have enough of it for the surface you plan to cover

Applicator – Here there is a personal preference. The roll is a bit easier to work with while the brush is more exact and pinpointed. A soft sponge brush will probably be a nice middle between the two options. Anyway, there is no need to invest as an old toothbrush will be great for the job.

TIP: you can skip buying all those ‘miracle applicators’.

Container – anything to hold the liquid

Towel – Any type will do

Protection – Anything to protect your hand skin from touching the sealer.

Make sure the surface is dry and clean

I mean really clean, anything that will be sealed under to the sealer will remain there for a long long time. In case of floor sweep and wash in order to leave no dust and debris, for kitchen counter make sure to remove water spots, stains and any moisture in general.

Even before cleaning the grout need to be completely cured. Check and product manual to see the exact time you need to wait for it to dry (normally few hours) 

Apply sealer in an even coat

Don’t save on the sealing material, put on plenty and made sure it stayed wet for 10 – 15 minutes. The key for a successful application is to keep the surface wet during the 15 minutes of saturation time, don’t be afraid to add more of the sealer it is completely valid for the surface to absorb it in

TIP : If you are doing it indoor try to vent the room. Sealer has a strong odor

Allow sealer to dwell for 5 – 15 minutes

How would you know exactly how much time to wait? read the instructions. There are some variations between the vendors

Leave it on but do not let dry. You wipe it off when it is still wet. If it dries, add more. It will liquefy the tiles/grout again before it dries

Wipe remains until the surface is completely dry

Best to use a lint-free cloth but an old towel will do as well. Just wipe off all the remains.

TIP : use two cloths, one to take most of the extras and the second to close the deal and leave it all dry

Wait for 30 minutes to 24 hours and apply a second coat (steps 4-6)

This is step is a matter of personal preference, it is not mandatory to apply a second coat but in my view, it is highly desirable and will give you some piece of mind. In case of stone that is very porous (slate etc..) you should really consider a second coat

Wait 24-72 hours and test

Leave it to cure, don’t let it get wet and try not to step on the treated area

. Once cured just drop some water on the surface and you’ll see it bead up

If failed apply the second/third coat

Congratulations! You have taken care of the important sealing task. Now what? Now you need to maintain it all year round.

Grout sealing maintenance

In a perfect world, you would repeat this operation every year or every second year.

While I didn’t recommend the spray for the initial sealing I truly believe that on the ongoing maintenance a clean and seal spray () together with a grout scrubber () will surely do the work. Weekly run with those will keep your grout look as new and maintain its sealing abilities

Top three sealers you might want to use

Picture Miracle Sealants PLUSPT6 511 Porous Plus Penetrating Sealers () – Great stuff! Very easy to apply. No way to avoid the smell but it disappears after a few hours. No major changes to the grout color (though I heard a different view on this subject) and water keep on beading after a few months.

Picture StoneTech BulletProof Sealer, 1-Quart() – The best product that I have found for sealing stone.Tried it following a recommendation from the local stone dealer and I’m happy I did follow. One concern I have it the lifespan of one year where other vendors claim for more.

Picture GRANITE PLUS! 2 in 1 Cleaner & Sealer for Granite, Marble, Travertine, Limestone –  Using it to get the shine again and happy with the sealing benefits which is just there for me. Smell is not too bad for my nose.(not a chemical odor)

Shrink wrap your shoes – the complete guide

Sneakers are fun and are also a type of investment that often comes at a high price. Designer converse come at various brands like Nike, Testoni, Adidas, and Air Jordan, and these even come in limited editions. You surely want to protect these expensive shoes in an effective method that would prevent them from decaying.

An effective method for the protection of sneakers is to  ‘shrink wrapping’ them. It is a method that safeguards them from any contact to oxygen and wraps them in a way that could extend their life. Sneaker shrink extends the life of the sneakers and keeps them from ruin, even if packed for a long time. The installation of shrink wrappers on boots is easy and could be done by anyone.

Why shrink wrapping shoes?

Sneakers can be easily worn out. Gravity, aridity, and humidity can take away their charm and newness, making their sole yellow and shape deformed. The lines and creases can turn permanent, so they need some sort of support and coverage to keep uptight and new. The shrink wrapping does not require much effort and needs only two things to be sealed: the plastic wrap and heat. With just wrapping your shoes with heat will make them waterproof, weatherproof and tamperproof. You can wrap shoes of any size, and the wrapper can be recycled as well! It is cheap and does not cause any damage or leave marks on the boots.

Shrink wrappers offer the following benefits:

  • Protection:

Sneaker shrink gives less exposure to oxygen which keeps the material from yellowing and discoloration. Yellowing often happens to shoes with icy soles; they are prone to yellowing even if durable. Plastic packaging and heat shrinking secures them from the environment and serves as an excellent anti-oxidant. The heat applied to saran wrap allows it to become a very tight seal which adequately protects the shoe. It protects from dust, moisture or dirt and even UV rays.

  • Durability:

The plastic that saran wrap is made from is very durable, unlike other plastics. It is difficult to puncture or tear because of being very tight. Over time, heat wrap does not weaken or brittle when exposed to various environments. Once heated and sealed, it will not loosen.

  • Affordability:

Heat wrapping plastic or saran wrap is very cheap compared to other packaging materials. It minimizes space and so is used less too. It does not require additional packaging materials to store with it either.

  • Convenience:

The easy part about heat wrapping is that it can be used for any size. It neither requires much skill nor many people.

  • Tampering:

Once applied, shrink wrap holds the converse in place and does not allow any air to pass through it. But even if the wrapping gets slightly dented or tampered, it can be noticed immediately. Some types of shoe cover plastic also change color if affected and that way you can quickly determine whether the wrapping is tightly sealed or not. The plastic will also show if it has been stretched or opened, you can detect easily if someone else has been touching or using them.

limited edition sneakers

How can I DIY shrink my Nike/Adidas/air Jordan shoes?

Sneaker shrinking is an easy task and requires little effort. It can be handled by a single person and takes almost two to three minutes for a tight, sealed look.

What do you need :

  1. Silica gel
  2. Plastic wraps
  3. Heat gun
  4. Stickers or stamps

Shrink wrappers can be commonly available in the market or even online. They usually come in a standard ‘one size for all’ bag or a sheet film/ saran wrap.

Step by step:

  1. Before sealing the shoes completely, put silica gel packs inside the shoes to store them in their original state and save them from crumbling.
  2. You can start by covering the sheet wrapper around the shoe or putting it in the plastic bag.
  3. Close open end(s) temporarily with easy peel off the tape and make sure the corner/ pointed side of the bag is at the tip of the shoe.
  4. Use a good quality heat gun or hair dryer with good heat flow; turn it on to the maximum heat level and heat dry all over the sheet wrapped shoe.
  5. The sheet wrap will quickly stick to the shoe. Blow-dry until all parts of the sheet are held to the shoe and make it an airtight packing.
  6. While heat drying, do not rest the heated air flow too long on the converse otherwise it would affect the boot as well.
  7. Store in a cool, dry place with zero sunlight.

How do you store/preserve sneakers?

You have a collection of sneakers, and you are looking for various ways to protect them. It takes a few responsibilities to care of expensive sneakers, and their storage is most important. Throwing them on the floor when you enter your home is the worst habit for these shoes which will ruin them in no time. That is why a handful of ways are present to preserve or store boots properly for their care.

The first thing that you could do is save the original shoe boxes that the sneakers come in. The box is your sneaker’s home, and it needs to be kept in a comfortable, safe place. It is easier to distinguish the many pairs of shoes in their boxes and that way they stay organized. It is okay to write on the shoe boxes to save yourself from confusion. Displaying sneakers openly on racks might look pretty this method isn’t healthy for the shoes’ life as it may lead to discoloration and yellowing.

Light is a sneaker shoe’s worst enemy

Heat and moisture aren’t also on good terms with them. If you do not adequately protect your sneakers from them, they will ultimately start to decay and turn to dust after time. Sheet wrapping helps in this part. Its sole purpose is to keep away from oxygen and dirt and let the shoe stay in its form. Wrap the shoe in plastic sheet wrapping for a sealed and air tight packaging; some greater quality sheet wrappers have a UV protective material that protects the shoe from harsh sunlight rays.

Customized wooden sneaker boxes are being introduced in the market that is large enough to store 16 pairs of sneakers in it. The box has an extra sliding compartment in it with the top chamber above. The wooden boxes are stylish and safe for the converse. It is best first to wrap the shoes in sheet wrappers and then to store them in the box. That is how you can fully guarantee the shoes’ safety.

Do you have an extensive collection of converse? Then you need to take them seriously and perhaps find a storage facility. You can rent out storage areas as small as 5′ x 5′. Storage facilities are climate controlled and will prevent any sunlight from reaching the shoes.

Shoes can be easily kept in walk-in closets, but it is essential to keep a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier will preserve your sneakers by sucking out the moisture and dampness. The dampness plays a big hand in yellowing and air bubbles etc. It is preferred to keep converse in the dark places with cold temperature.

Does it affect the shoes in any way when it’s wrapped like that for an extended period of time?

Converse are usually made of rubber or a synthetic substitutes with a flexible sole. If you are planning to store your sneakers in shrink wrapping plastic for a long time, then they should be opened up once in a while to breathe. Keep the shoes away from sunlight at any cost and store them in the dark, cold places; pretty much like the basement, or even your closet could work. If you are planning on keeping your shoes packed up for a long time then do store them with silica gel packs inside the shoe; otherwise, they will dry up and crumble. If storing in boxes, do not stack the boxes too high because we all know that the temperature rises upward.

air Jordan boxes

Take your boots out of the sheet wrap every once a month to let them breathe. Let them sit for a day or two and then put them back in sealed wrapping again and store in cold storage.

Avoid packing the converse with the paper that comes in the box because it is slightly acidic and will turn the sneakers yellow if stored for a long time with it. Silica gel packs are more useful for protection, and they must be kept inside the shoe before you seal wrap them.

Can I shrink wrap any shoe?

Only converse should be heat wrapped. Avoid seal wrapping shoes that have leather material because will harden if not let out to breathe. Shoes that are made of rubber or synthetic materials (like sneakers) shoes be tightly seal wrapped in sheet wrappers. They are more useful for protection and can be stored for a long time.