AN IN-DEPTH GUIDE ON EXACTLY HOW TO AVOID DESTROYING YOUR PRINTED T-SHIRTS.
When you purchase personalised printed T-shirts, you want them to last. Multiple actions impact our garments’ quality retention that you may never even consider. 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.
That amazing honeymoon period between a satisfied customer and a new printed Tee, all too often, comes to a bitter end sooner than they expect. They finally take it off their backs, reluctantly throw it into the machine, then an hour later experience heartbreak – it’s changed.
Tip-top condition printed garments, always!
Caring for your customised clothes properly is ESSENTIAL for keeping them in tip-top condition, from the shape to the print, the quality is in the care. There are infinite ways we can damage our prints without even realising, whether it’s washing them – ironing them or something as simple as storing them in the wrong way. Disclaimer, 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 care bible.
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 specialised duty of care.
How to wash printed T-shirts and take care of them
In this post we’ll go over different – easy to follow – tips to keep your garments living their best life. Once you’ve got one of our top quality products in your hands, the last thing we want is for it to lose its X-factor because of a few easy to avoid mistakes. We should have all bases covered so read below to find out how to get the most out of your purchase with us.
So, what to consider for printed garments care?
- Pre steps and preparation.
- Care Labels Considerations.
- Washing Considerations.
- Drying considerations.
- Ironing Considerations
- Storing Considerations.
A little bit of pre-love
When you purchase something new, whether it’s a car, dog, plant or a t-shirt, you need to know how to look after it. The people who know how to do this best are always the people you make the purchase from, it makes sense, it’s what they live and breathe. So before, during or after your purchase, make sure to get yourself clued up, Printsome style. The info you absolutely can’t live without is what printing technique was used and if the care labels are a loose guide or genuine reference for T-shirt care instructions.
Before you undergo any washing rituals with your printed tees, hit the brakes and make sure they aren’t fresh from the press. Customised 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 (without interruption). To check the print isn’t going to dramatically crack down the middle or peel off, 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. Anyway, Printsome always delivers printed garments already all-dry and rested after printing.
If you think you should have the green light to get washing, it’s time for an essential colour check. Splash a little water on the print and rub it with a white cloth to make sure no colours jump ship. If you’re getting residual colouring on the cloth there’s a pretty high chance your colours could be about to run riot in the wash so you’ve saved yourself from potential t-shirt tragedy.
What’s the deal with the label?
Care labels are a bit of a grey area when it comes to printed tees, some are created with the print in mind however some are actually regarding the plain tee. When a plain tee 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. That means our Printsome instructions must be your official go-to guide as far as the finished product is concerned.
Drama free T-shirt washing
There’s a lot more to washing an item than throwing it into the machine and hoping for the best, especially when it comes to printed tees. Before you even get round to the actual washing remember to separate everything, your darks from your lights (to stop colours running) and also your jeans from your tee’s (to stop any print peeling).
Also, a little trick learnt from the ever-informative Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Remember that show? By turning the tee inside out before washing (and drying) you prevent it from rubbing against other fabrics and preserve the ink. This little magic trick doesn’t only apply to printed T-shirts, many garments greatly benefit from being turned inside out. This technique will prevent colours from fading too quickly and fabric retaining quality.
When you finally get down to business and get the clothes in the machine, go easy on them. Avoid bleach at all costs and avoid strong detergents, play it safe with a mild soap, your clothes will thank you later! The last thing to remember when washing your printed tees, 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.
How to dry in style
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 au 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 colours. 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.
How to Iron
The best way to iron your printed tees is, quelle surprise, not at all. 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 tee, it’s a dangerous ball game. If you absolutely must iron your printed garment (tinder date, family dinner, etc) then 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 tee 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.
Where to store your clothes
Now for something you’ve probably never given a second thought – how to safely store your item.
Some like it hot, some like it cold, clothes don’t like either. So 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).
Specific kinds of care for each printing method
There are a few kinds of custom tee’s that need treating a little differently than the usual. Once you know how to care for these items, you’ll be able to get the best lifespan out of them.
Care thoughts for embroidery
Embroidered items are pretty special and need a little extra TLC when it comes to washing and caring for them. To start off, before any intense washing/drying/ironing takes place it’s important to make sure your fibres are colourfast to prevent running. To test for fastness, you need something white (cloth, cotton bud etc) to wet and then dab over the different colours in the garment. If you see evidence of the colour transferring, hit the brakes – cancel operation and head to a professional dry cleaner to save the day.
If all is good and the cloth remains unscathed, continue on with caution. Remember not to use strong chemicals like bleach or anything else on the toxic scale. Don’t attempt to rub out any stains on the embroidery – guaranteed disaster. Once the wash is complete remove your item asap and get them straight over into the dryer. Strictly no wringing out or general manhandling of our precious embroidered goods!
If you must iron your top, listen carefully. Make sure your garment is bone dry before taking it to the board, and avoid the steam iron – dry setting only. ALWAYS iron the garment inside out – add two pieces of cloth either side of the garment for extra protection if possible!
Specific care for your screen printed garments
You really need to know how to wash screen printed T-shirts before you start taking care of them. If you’re really proactive in preserving your tee, soak it in a mixture of water and white vinegar pre-wash to keep those colours locked in place.
Before going head-to-head with the big scary washing machine, make sure to turn your garments inside out. This is a two-second must-do trick that acts as an instant shield against the harshness of the machine and reduces chances of ink washout, fibrillation (broken print) and pilling (unwanted fuzzy balls). Keep the machine turned on a low heat for a short wash for best possible results.
High temperatures and screen prints aren’t exactly a match made in heaven. This means cold washing when possible and when it’s time to rescue your beloved tee from the machine, dry outside in trusty nature (inside out) to play it safe. Also, take extra care when ironing, keep a low heat and avoid direct iron on print contact at all costs – failure to do so will end in a print melting meltdown – be warned.
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.
For transfers express printing avoid washing them right away
Patience is a virtue when it comes to keeping vinyl transfer prints happy. However much you need or want to, avoid the washing process entirely for a good 24 hours minimum once received and give the heat transfer vinyl the time it needs to cure. This gives the adhesive the time it needs to cool down and toughen up. If you don’t follow this pre-step there’s a good chance of cracking the transfer or it peeling off altogether! Although it might be tempting, transfer prints should never be dry cleaned, the chemicals and temperature are too intense for this kind of print.
Anyway, getting our transfer printed garments in your hands in less than 24 hours from its production only can happen in very special situations when super express deliveries are needed. So, don’t worry too much about it unless you are printing them yourself.
Hopefully, these tips will help you get the best possible life-span from your custom tee. It’s a fragile relationship between owner and t-shirt, but if you know your stuff it’s one that can last forever. Just remember to stop and think before you throw everything in the machine together, that few seconds of thought might just save your tee.
Print on Demand
Here at Printsome, we’ve always supported creative endeavours. Through our print on demand services, we are helping agents, artists, entrepreneurs, designers and content creators who have their own T-shirt line.
With dropshipping we deal with all the inventory and logistics headaches so you have more time to do what you love. We offer very fast dropshipping services in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.
No matter where you want to sell merchandise on demand. We deliver anywhere.
If you want to sell quality garments, Printsome’s Print on demand service is exactly what you are looking for. Our garments are handpicked and thanks to our +6 years of experience in the T-shirt printing industry we ensure the highest print quality. You can take a look at our items here in our catalogue.
We don’t have minimum orders and we can print any design with no colour limitations. From the moment you connect your online shop with our Shopify T-shirt fulfillment platform, anyone can buy one of your designs.
If you have any doubt, you can contact us here. Our friendly team of printing advisors will help you. Print on demand worldwide has never been easier!