Care Instructions for Screen Printing, DTG, Embroidery, and DTF
Owning that perfect tee with a custom print designed just for you can really make you feel like a million bucks. But when it comes time to preserving your prized possession, you may feel a bit apprehensive. How will this fare in the wash? Will the shirt shrink or stretch out? Will the print fade or crack? Will I be able to keep wearing this, or is this good for just a one-time use?
A good clothing or apparel company will not only provide you with a high-quality product, but will go one step further to ensure that you’re provided with care instructions to maintain the longevity and quality of your product to enjoy its maximum use. So, what does it take to ensure your custom printed apparel remains pristine? It depends on the method of print that was used. Read on to learn the proper care instructions that will make your statement piece live a long life!
Screen Printed Apparel
Screen printing uses large amounts of vibrant ink, typically on dark shirts. This means extra attention and care are required to maintain the colors of your shirt. The best way to maintain screen printed tees is to wash by hand. Though it requires a bit of extra effort, your t-shirt will thank you for it. Turn the shirt inside out, fill a bucket with mild detergent and cold water, and let the t-shirt soak for 10 minutes. Rub it gently, then rinse and hang-dry on a thick hanger. Avoid using clothespins as they will bunch up the fabric and ruin its shape.
If hand-washing is not possible, we haven’t ruled out machine washing just yet, but it’s important to make sure you follow the right steps:
- Make sure you turn the t-shirt inside-out to protect the printed areas of the shirt.
- In case of stains, pre-treat with a stain removal product (but avoid using extra detergent to do this, as the extra suds will work against the stain removing process). Rub the fabric against itself.
- Wash the shirt in cold water using a mild detergent on a gentle cycle.
- Only wash with similar colours and fabrics. Washing with heavier clothing like denim can potentially damage your product.
- Do NOT (for the love of tees) put the shirt in the dryer.
If you need to iron your shirt, turn it inside out and iron or steam on the lowest possible setting. Heat can damage your print and the fabric. Use a towel as a barrier and iron over the towel for extra care. In the case of steaming, steam around the print, not directly on it.
Did you know?
Warm water, harsh detergents, and wash cycles that are too fast are the main culprits when it comes to damaging t-shirts!
Direct-to-Garment (DTG) Printed Apparel
DTG printed apparel has the advantage of incorporating lots of variety in color using water-based ink, is generally more durable, and will not peel or fade over time. Since it is durable, machine-washing is definitely an option, but ensure that your shirt is turned inside out and wash on a gentle cycle using a mild detergent. You can tumble-dry your DTG apparel, but since DTG printing works best on fabrics that are at least 50% cotton, make sure you know what your t-shirt fabric composition is. If it is a high cotton composition, it’s best to hang-dry to avoid shrinkage. And definitely avoid ironing over a DTG print.
Direct-to-Film (DTF) Printed Apparel
You may recall from our previous blog that DTF printing typically uses water-based ink, requires less ink than DTG or screen printing, and can be printed on a wide variety of fabrics, including non-cotton fabrics like polyester or nylon. Despite these benefits, it’s important to take care of your shirt in order to avoid fading or cracking of the print, as well as shrinking of the fabric. This means, just like DTG, DTF calls for machine-washing in cold water, turning your shirt inside out, using a gentle cycle, and avoiding fabric softeners. Unlike other types of printed apparel, though, DTF apparel can be tumble-dried on a low cycle, since DTF printing is more versatile with the type of fabrics that can be used. However, be sure to become familiar with your shirt’s fabric composition. Polyester is safe in the dryer, but avoid putting cotton shirts in. And again, like DTG, do not iron over the print.
Embroidery is typically done on heavier fabrics, so for the most part, it can be machine-washed using a similar method as detailed above. Small amounts of bleach can be used on embroidered fabrics, but preferably non-chlorine. Embroidered designs tend to be resistant to wear-and-tear, but care is still required to ensure the embroidered threads remain in-tact. When drying an embroidered fabric, avoid wringing them out to prevent fraying or misshaping the design. Embroidered apparel can also be tumble-dried on a cool setting.
Applying these care instructions to your custom-designed wardrobe will make sure your pieces stand the test of time. Contact A2Z for more tips and tricks or information on how to maintain your fabrics and prints to enjoy them for years to come.