Washing Guide for Screen Printed Shirts

Tips with Washing & Drying Custom Tees.

Here at Fifth Column printing high quality custom t-shirts has been our priority for many, many years. Actually, we started screen printing clothes in London back in the 1970s and we’ve been doing it ever since. A lot has changed during that time but there’s still nothing we love more than seeing stunning tees leave our print shop. And we want them to stay stunning for as long as possible. So, we’ve put together a washing guide for screen printed shirts. A few tips with washing and tumble drying that should keep the garment in good condition and the design shining.

How Should you Wash Screen Printed Shirts?

Can you put printed shirts in the washing machine is a common question. Yes is the answer. But cool and gentle is the order of the day when it comes to the general washing instructions for screen printed tees. And it’s a similar story with drying them, something which we’ll come to shortly. In an ideal world, you’d wash by hand. But, nowadays, that’s simply not a realistic option. For most folk, the washer is the only choice. And that’s fine, it’s simply a case of taking a little care. By which we mean lower temperatures and shorter cycles.

Tips for washing screen printed shirts.

Tips for washing screen printed shirts

Temperature, cycle and spin.

In basic terms, too much heat and lots of water will be detrimental to both the garment and the embellishment. As a rule, try not to go higher than the 30° wash temperature. And cooler if possible. Because shirts can shrink and prints fade when things get hot and prolonged. With spinning, it’s best to avoid that 1400rpm setting simply because it produces a more violent and therefore damaging motion. Of course, you’ll use less electricity into the bargain.

Turn custom t-shirts inside out.

Turning the shirt inside may not sound like a big thing but it genuinely helps preserve the design. That is, you don’t get the friction with other clothing that can have a direct impact the printed part of the t-shirt.

Wash with similar colours.

Washing the same sort of colours together is pretty good advice for any of your laundry. And it includes screen printed clothing. Pop a bright white tee in with some juicy red sweatshirts and there may be glum faces at the end of the wash. Because darker dyes like transferring to lighter colours.

Use mild cleaning agents.

Please do not use bleach when washing screen printed shirts. In truth, bleach is something which demands a good degree of caution with any textile. The very qualities which make it useful in certain circumstances also mean it’s a rather brutal substance. In other words, it may fade the print or even eat away at the fabric itself. One other point to note is that fabric softeners and custom ink don’t always mix very well. Safer to give them a miss when washing screen printed tees.

Tumble drying screen printed tees?

Tips when you tumble dry screen printed shirts

Can you Tumble Dry Shirts?

This is another very common query. And the answer is yes if you have no other choice. As with washing, ideally you would go old school and hang dry your screen printed tee. However, once again, modern life isn’t always conducive to this approach. After all, the weather here in the UK is somewhat unpredictable and often wet. Plus air drying indoors is sometimes inconvenient and usually takes a while. So, it’s low and careful when tumble drying screen printed shirts.

Heat levels when tumble drying shirts.

Just like washing, machine drying t-shirts is best done at lower temperatures to minimise any negative effects on the garment. Choose shorter drying cycles where the tumble dryer has no specific heat level settings.

Drying like with like.

Just as when washing similar coloured items, it’s always preferable to dry similar types of clothing together. Especially in regard to any abrasive things like zips and hard adornments which could damage the comparatively soft cotton of a t-shirt. Characteristics such as article weight and material are better when balanced as well.

Tumble dry custom printed tees inside out.

When in doubt, turn that shirt inside out. And that applies to tumble drying as well as washing. Doing this helps protect the print. Plus can help stop pilling.

After Washing and Drying Screen Printed Shirts.

Before concluding we ought to mention the final stage of any laundry day. And that’s pressing those t-shirts so they don’t look too crumpled. Mind you, it has to be said, ironing clothes seems to be on the wane these days. But, there are still many of us who can’t stand a hint of wrinkle or the suggestion of a crease. Well, there is some good news for the compulsive ironers out there. Which is that you can iron printed tees. However, once again, it’s softly, softly and with great care. With one overriding no-no:

  • Never directly iron the inked section of the shirt.

Putting hot metal onto the above is liable to damage the print. And it’s possibly going to gum up your iron as an unwanted and somewhat messy bonus. That aside, ironing should be done on a low setting and without steam. And again, it’s best with the shirt inside out. Another good idea is to place a barrier material between the plate of the iron and the tee. Something like a clean tea towel or cloth, for example, will shield the garment and decoration.

The sad truth is that nothing lasts forever. Clothing needs to be cleaned and that cleaning inevitably degrades it to some extent. The trick to getting the longest life out of your screen printed shirts is to lessen the impact of washing and drying them. As with any customised clothing, specifics will vary from one print run to another. Depending on the garment and type of customisation. Your printing company will be able to offer specific advice at the time of order.

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