What printer ink is waterproof?

When it comes to printing there are so many factors we look at - whether an ink produces a clean, legible image; whether it is expensive or more economical; whether it smudges. But did you ever consider how water resistant the ink is?

You won’t be printing a rain poncho, but whether your ink is waterproof can be a factor in some jobs. If you operate in a humid environment - printing menus in a hot kitchen, or notices for a horticultural greenhouse, say - paper can become damp. Or if you print name labels for a conference, you want those labels to be still legible when people come back from lunch, after being caught in a shower.

Many inks are water based. The dye is dissolved, or the pigment suspended, in water, which has low viscosity and flows through the nozzles of the printer easily. To do fine printing, that is one of the best solutions. But if the ink is water based, it will smudge and spoil when the paper gets wet. What is the solution? Read on…

Is laser printer ink waterproof?

The good news is that laser printing offers better options for waterproofing the end result than inkjet printing. An inkjet sprays the pigment, suspended in water, onto the page. The water dries, and the ink is left - until the page becomes damp.

On the other hand a laser printer uses toner - pigment in powder form, mixed with metal and plastic particles. When heated during the printing process the plastic melts onto the page, holding the toner. So laser printed pages will not smudge when damp.

If you need waterproof labels, you have to use a laser printer. And you use the right paper as well. Depending on the finish required, and the environment the label will be in, you can pick transparent or white polyester labels, with a glossy or matt finish. Polyethylene labels are also available.

If labels will definitely be exposed to water - in outdoor or marine conditions - the best option is matt white labels, in either polyester or polyethylene.

How can you make ink waterproof?

Sometimes you don’t have the option of buying a new printer just for one job. For those

occasions you do still have options.

One option is to use a fixative. This is a spray that fixes the ink on the page and provides a level of water resistance. This is a very versatile option that can suit a whole range of printed material. All you do is spray the fixative directly onto the printed material, then leave it to dry. It will form a microscopic layer over the print, allowing you to handle it freely without fear of smudging.

A fixative spray will also enhance the UV stability of whatever you print. And you can pick sprays in matt, glossy or satin finishes. There are other options. One is to choose your paper carefully. There are papers that come with a matt or glossy surface that is water repellent. They are more expensive than regular paper, and bear in mind that if you print on them with an inkjet, the ink can end up above the protective layer, and might still smudge.

Finally, you can laminate the page. This involves using heat to melt a plastic envelope over the page. It makes it strong and durable, and completely waterproof. This is impractical for a lot of printing jobs, but if you need to leave a notice in place in an outdoor space for months, or print a map or set of instructions that will be exposed to the elements, this is a very good option. A laminated map is virtually indestructible. Spill your coffee on it, and you can just shake it off.

Is Epson ink waterproof?

It depends on which ink you buy. But Epson does offer some great waterproof printing options. One of these is the Epson DURABrite ink. This is light-resistant, smudge-resistant, and optimised to provide photo quality clarity and detail.

Is HP ink waterproof?

Again, it depends on the brand you choose, but like all reputable companies HP does offer great waterproof printing options. We will just highlight one. The HP OfficeJetPro and HP WidePage systems all use pigment suspended in oil rather than dye based inks. And since they are pigment inks, they are water resistant on plain paper, as well as specialised papers such as coated photo paper. A good option.

Is Brother ink waterproof?

Like its rivals, Brother has a whole range of pigment inks that are water resistant, as well as laser ink options. At inkshop.ie we would be glad to advise on the best option for you.

Is Canon ink waterproof?

Canon does offer waterproof printing options. Their unique Lucia TD and Lucia PRO inks are a good solution if you want something that will stand the elements. Coupled with the right paper, they produce very good results.


Gone are the days when we would accept sub-standard print jobs that would smudge when we rubbed them. Now we want crisp clean printing that lasts. Luckily there are so many options out there to give us that, including options that allow for waterproof printing, and printing that will stand up to the elements.

Sometimes the range of options can be bewildering, but that is what we are here for - if you tell us what you need, we can find the right match for your job. And we ship rapidly and economically all over Ireland.

Get in touch and let us use our expertise to make your job simpler - and your printing shiny and durable.

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