There are infinite ways we can damage our prints without even realizing, whether it’s washing them – ironing them or something as simple as storing them in the wrong way.
Caring for your customized clothes properly is ESSENTIAL for keeping them in tip-top condition, from the shape to the print, the quality is in the care.
We’ve done the research for you and put together a detailed laundry guide for printed T-shirts, to help you give them what they need.
- How to washing printed shirts carefully?
- How to Iron?
- Where to store your clothes?
- Care for DTG printed clothing has its own rules.
- Some warning when choosing.
- Final Tips for care and successfully washing printed clothes.
1. The first step in saving your printed shirts from the inevitable fading is by washing printed clothes carefully!
There is no doubt that if you’ve owned a printed t-shirt, you’ve seen the effects of repeated washing and drying on the printed ink.
Many people’s favorite t-shirts are faded and cracked from overuse and years of wear, washing, and drying.
Multiple actions impact our garment’s quality retention that you may never even consider.
So here are some tips to make sure your t-shirt lasts as long as possible.
Some of these special measures are common knowledge such as avoiding heat, turning the product inside out etc.,
However, some more specific printing techniques require a more specialized duty of care.
How to Care and successfully washing printed clothes
1.1. A little bit of pre-love
Customized garments need at least 24 hours to get some r&r before you start experimenting with them. Technical reason – you need to let the ink cure and adhere to the fabrics accordingly.
Give the material a stretch in the printed area and make sure all stays intact.
Also, give your fingers a run over the border and check your print is perfectly transferred to the T-shirt.
An essential color check.
Splash a little water on the print and rub it with a white cloth to make sure no colors jump ship.
If you’re getting residual coloring on the cloth there’s a pretty high chance your colors could be about to run riot in the wash so you’ve saved yourself from potential t-shirt tragedy.
It would also be a good idea to separate darks and colored shirts from whites–just in case!
And to check other clothes in your load of laundry will not tint or stain your fabrics or vice versa. We’ve all had a red sock ruin a shirt or two in the past!
1.2. How to deal with the label?
Care labels are a bit of a grey area when it comes to printed clothes,
You can’t put full trust into care labels, some may lead you astray. These labels are often not designed with the print in mind, therefore can’t be your clothes only care guide.
Some are created with the print in mind however some are actually regarding the plain clothes. When a plain clothes evolves to a custom print, it undergoes a massive change and you have to treat it as an entirely new garment. Technically speaking, the original labels do not oversee our printing process.
1.3. If your shirt isn’t caked in mud, this washing printed clothes technique is perfect for you.
- For normally dirty printed clothes,
Turn the clothes inside out when washing and drying.
By turning the garment inside out, the printed ink rubs against less material when tumbling in the washer or dryer. This simple step can really elongate the life of a printed t-shirt.
Use machine wash cold with a gentle cycle.
Use low temperature or cold wash settings.
Washing your clothes in cooler water helps prevent fading both of the fabric and printed colors.
Use a mild laundry detergent.
Avoiding harsh cleaning detergents or bleach to ensure the best protection for your new favorite shirt.
1.4. How to dry in style
To prevent shrinking and to keep their great color in another way, we also suggest to tumble dry with low heat!
Tumble dry on low or go the old fashioned route and hang it to dry.
Order custom printed t-shirts from a top quality vendor.
If you’re truly committed to the look and feel of your shirts, allowing them to air-dry will help keep their color for much longer.
2. The Second step in saving your printed shirts from the inevitable fading is by ironing them carefully!
How to Iron
We suggest to never iron your printed area directly (iron it inside out) or embroidered areas,
Heat is an all-round enemy to your clothes, the Iron being one of the most dangerous weapons. So many things can go wrong here, from melting the print to burning the t-shirt, it’s a dangerous ball game.
Make sure you play it safe. We’d advise you to use the lowest setting and iron the garment turned inside out,
This maintains the structural integrity of the imprint.
You can always try putting a piece of cloth between the iron and the t-shirt as well for a bit of extra safety.
Avoid applying moisture or steam to the print before putting the iron on it, disaster could follow.
3. Where to store your clothes
Now for something you’ve probably never given a second thought – how to safely store your item.
When on the hunt for the perfect clothes storage spot, avoid the boiler and the cellar.
Next requirements are clean, dry and dark, clothes love fresh air but the sun can fade them – especially prints!
When you’ve got the spot, ignore your instincts to fold them, rather, do the unthinkable. Roll up your t-shirts and place them carefully in your wardrobe this way instead.
This saves creasing and distortion of the pattern, it may even save you bringing out the nemesis of t-shirt prints (most commonly known as the iron).
4. Care for DTG printed clothing has its own rules
Direct To Garment (DTG) printing has a few rules of its own when it comes to keeping it intact.
Besides washing it inside out are other considerations on how to wash DTG printed T-shirts.
When washing, try to limit the time your tee spends hanging out in the soapy water.
DO NOT use a brush when washing,
if the print comes into contact with a brush it’s a guaranteed write off – be warned.
Although it might be tempting, never wring out your DTG shirt, or throw it in the dryer.
Slow down and find somewhere in the shade (sun discounters) to hang it out then let nature do its thing.
5. Some warning when choosing
This is when the ink on the shirt is not cured all of the way through and did not cure to the correct temperature.
Fibrillation is another sign of low quality printing.
This is when the actual fabric fibers break free from the ink film. The ink will begin to look broken up, and the texture of the material will overcome the texture of the print.
By Turning garments inside out, as mentioned earlier, is the easiest and best way to prevent fibrillation.
In conclusion we cover how to care and successfully washing printed clothes
But for MORE insurance read the following tips
6. Final Tips for care and successfully washing printed clothes
Before you even get round to the actual washing remember to separate everything,
Your darks from your lights (to stop colors running) and also your jeans from your t-shirts (to stop any print peeling).
Avoid bleach at all costs and avoid strong detergents, play it safe with a mild soap, your clothes will thank you later!
The Most important thing to remember when washing your printed clothes, despite popular belief, cold washing still effectively cleans your clothes.
It’s a win-win situation, you protect your print from fading in the heat of the machine and save on the electricity bill, better for you, better for the planet.
The best way to dry your clothes is a good old fashioned washing line, remember those?
This way you avoid unexpected shrinkage, destroying your print and an inevitable tantrum.
The heat generated from the dryer and hot water washing are the major causes of clothing shrinkage, particularly if you’re washing cotton.
When you go natural and hang your clothes out, make sure to do it away from direct contact with sunlight.
Light (especially coming from the sun) is particularly dangerous for colors. You may wonder how your t-shirts survive the day when you’re wearing them outside, the difference here is you rarely spend long hours with sunlight hitting you directly.
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