Shirts: Ever watched the screen-printed graphic on your favorite shirt fade or crack after wearing and washing the shirt a few times? It must have been quite disheartening, right?
Although the durability of that design depends on the type of shirt it’s being printed on and the prowess of your screen printer, it also largely depends on how you handle your apparel, especially when it comes to washing it.
The following steps shall guide you through washing and drying your screen-printed shirts the right way and give you a few tips for taking care of your screen-printed shirts to make the printing last a long time.
1. ALWAYS USE COLD WATER
When washing screen-printed apparel, graphic t-shirts or other printed products, always use cold water. Never wash a printed product with warm water unless specifically instructed to on the product tag. Cold water is much gentler on the fabrics, and again, it gets your clothes totally clean.
2. DON’T USE BLEACH OR STRONG DETERGENTS
Like hot water, bleach and strong detergents are harsh on clothes. Harsh chemicals only damage and speed up the deterioration of your printed products and harm the dyes in the actual garment itself, causing your favorite shirt to fade to a dull reminder of what it once looked like. So, avoid bleach and go for light stain remover to get rid of spots. Also, be sure to use mild detergent products on your clothes.
3. WASH THEM INSIDE-OUT
Before you place your clothes in the washing machine, turn them inside-out. Do the same before ironing them. That way, you will lessen the fading and your design will stay intact. If the screen-printed design’s quality is of utmost importance to you, ensure that it doesn’t get into contact with the washing machine very often so the ink doesn’t get strained.
Also, don’t wash your screen-printed shirts after every use. Yes, you probably think that wouldn’t be very good but think of it this way – each time you wash and dry your apparel, you’re speeding up its aging process. Is that what you really want? If your shirt is really dirty, okay, go ahead and wash it. But, if you’ve only worn it an hour or two and it doesn’t look dirty at all, consider folding it and placing it back in the closet.
4. DON’T PUT THE SHIRT IN A HOT DRYER
Avoid using high heat when drying your clothes. High heat is by far the worst enemy of printed apparel. Never dry your clothes on high heat. If possible, dry your screen printed apparel on a low heat setting, then remove them before the cycle is over and hang dry them to let them finish.
5. WASH SIMILAR CLOTHES TOGETHER
Wash only the shirts with similar colors together. Color is not the only aspect to consider when choosing which shirts to wash together; you also need to consider the fabric of the apparel. When you wash shirts (or any clothes for that matter) with different textures together, the fabrics might rub against each other, creating cracks from the friction that results.
It’s just like taking a piece of sandpaper and rubbing it on your wrist. How would that turn out? That’s how your custom-printed shirts feel when washed together with towels.
There you have it, simple and effective ways to extend the life span of all your screen printed apparel and get the most out of your product.
Have any other tips for washing screen printed apparel or other products? Let us know in the comments below!
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