There are many variables when it comes to printing on vinyl from a home inkjet printer, so when someone asks me, “is printable vinyl waterproof” the answer is, it depends on a few factors.
First, what kind of vinyl are you going to use? Most printable vinyl is classified as permanent vinyl, and it should be considered “weather resistant” for outdoor use for one to three years depending on the brand.
Glossy finish printable vinyl should be more durable than matte or flat finish, but you can also extend the life of your decal or graphic by laminating it after printing.
Another factor is what kind of ink your are using. Standard inkjet printer ink is not specialized for outdoors where water and UV exposure affects longevity. Specialty inks for specialty printers increase the lifespan of your printed product in outdoor conditions, but they are bound to be more costly.
Questions of printed vinyl being waterproof usually lead to “is printed vinyl dishwasher safe?” You should not assume that any vinyl is going to stand up to the rigors of the dishwasher for everyday use, and that includes printable vinyl.
The combination of heat, detergent and pressurized water spray on vinyl can be detrimental to the adhesive and finish, so if you are making specialty tumblers or mugs (especially as gifts or for sale commercially) you should always hand wash!
If you are making decals, stickers or ceramic-ware using printed vinyl, be aware that the product will last about three years. If you are selling these items, be upfront about it with your customers. Let them know that the products are weather resistant and waterproof to a point, but extra care should be taken, especially if it’s a glass or mug to be washed.
If you are looking for high quality printers that also cut vinyl for your home business, check out our reviews of the Best Combination Printer-Cutter machines.