Everyone loves a great screen printed T-shirt! They can be the result of a custom gift from a loved one, a team you participate in, family reunion, a band you love, or an inside joke between friends. It is no wonder that most people have at least one screen printed shirt that has been a staple in their wardrobe for years. This is why it can be so frustrating for the design to become faded and cracked due to wear and tear over time. Depending on the quality of the screen print, your shirt should last you for years to come, but here are some tips on washing and maintaining your favorite screen printed clothes.
When you first get your new screen printed clothing, start by washing by hand for the first couple of washes. When you move to the washing machine, use low or colder water temperatures like you would when washing delicates. Turn the shirts inside out to minimize the amount of contact that the print has with other materials in the machine and consider using a more mild detergent.
One of the best ways to lengthen the lifespan of your screen printed shirts is by hang drying them because it will help retain the print, but obviously this is not always an option. When you use the dryer, keep your screen printed articles turned inside out like in the washing machine, and stick to the tumble dry low setting on the dryer. Excessive heat can do damage to the print, so keeping it on the lowest heat setting possible should help it look great for years to come!
If you must iron your screen printed clothing, take special care in the process. In order to maintain the integrity of the print, keep the article inside out, and in addition to that, put another cloth in front and behind it. This will serve as some added protection for the print while still getting those wrinkles out. Also, avoid adding moisture or steam when ironing screen printed clothes as this can cause damage to the print you love!
Use High Quality Screen Printing
At the end of the day, not all screen prints are created equal, and the higher quality work that is done in the creation of the clothing will dictate the life span in a big way. If you are choosing the shop to do your print job, ask around for recommendations and look online for reviews to help make your decision. A couple of signs that you are dealing with a low quality screen print is when the ink looks blotchy and faded in different areas, even after just one wash. This can be due to the ink not being completely cured, meaning the ink wasn’t brought to the correct temperature in the creation process. Another sign of low quality screen printing is called “fibrillation” which is the process of the actual garment fibers breaking loose from the ink, causing the print to have a slightly fuzzy look.