Screen Printed T Shirt NZ | The Print Room

How to Care For Your Custom Printed T-Shirt

We outline some simple tips to help you care for your custom printed t-shirts. By following the below information, you can significantly prolong the life of your custom printed t-shirts. 

How to Wash & Care for Your Custom Printed T-Shirt :

  1. Wash it less frequently
  2. Wash it with like colours
  3. Opt for a Cold Wash Cycle
  4. Wash (and dry) it inside out
  5. Use the right (amount of) detergents
  6. Do not tumble dry
  7. Iron on reverse & do not iron the print
  8. Store correctly
  9. Treat stains immediately!
  1. Wash it less frequently 

That's is good advice when it comes to doing your laundry. For extra longevity and durability, a custom printed t-shirt should only be washed when needed. Even though good quality cotton is robust, every wash causes stress to the natural fibres leading to wear & tear such as fading, shrinkage and holes in the garment. Therefore, simply washing your custom printed t-shirts less frequently is one of the easiest ways to prolong the life of your favourite t-shirt. Also worth considering is the environmental impact of washing your clothing more regularly than may be necessary. Each washing machine load you do has an environmental impact (in terms of both water and energy). Reducing the amount of washing you do can help to reduce your water usage & carbon footprint. In first world societies, doing your washing is often based on habit (washing after every wear) rather than actual need (when garments are dirty). Washing garments only when they are dirty will contribute to a more sustainable relationship with the environment and help make your custom printed t-shirts last for longer.

  1. Wash with like colours

Only wash whites with other whites. Washing colours together helps to maintain the whiteness of your custom printed t-shirts. By only washing light colours together, you reduce the risk of a white custom printed t-shirt turning pink or grey due to the garment dye bleeding from another t-shirt in the same washing load. Usually, dark colours are ok to be in the machine together, especially if they have been washed already in the past. Sorting your dirty clothing by fabric types will help achieve optimal washing results: sportswear & workwear will have different washing needs to a delicate dress or lightweight shirt. If you're unsure how you should wash a particular garment, take a look at the care instructions are usually found on a label in the neck or on the inside side seam above the hip. 

  1. Opt for a Cold Wash Cycle

A 100% cotton printed t-shirt does not like heat & can shrink if it is washed at a too hot temperature. Detergents tend to work better at higher temperatures, so it is essential to find the balance between the washing temperature & successful cleaning of your garments. Dark coloured t-shirts can usually be washed completely cold; however, we recommend washing custom printed white t-shirts at around 30 degrees (or up to 40 degrees if necessary). Washing your white custom printed t-shirt at 30 or 40 degrees ensures a longer-lasting, crisp looking t-shirt & reduces the risk of unwanted colourisation such as yellow marks under the armpits. Washing at low or cold temperatures reduces the environmental impact of your washing load and will help your wallet, too; you'll use less power when choosing a cold wash. Reducing your washing load temperature from 40 to 30 degrees can reduce energy consumption by up to 35%.

  1. Wash (and dry) Inside Out

By washing your custom printed t-shirts 'inside out, the abrasion that happens to a garment during the wash cycle is inside the shirt while the printed outside will not be affected. This reduces the risk of unwanted fuzziness and pilling of natural cotton. Drying your custom printed t-Shirts inside out. This means that potential fading happens on the inner side of the garment while leaving the outer surface intact.

  1. Use the right (amount of) detergent

There are now more environmentally-friendly detergents on the market that are based on natural ingredients while avoiding chemical (oil-based) ingredients.

However, it is essential to remember that even 'green detergents' will pollute wastewater and damage clothes if they're used in too high amounts – as they can contain a wealth of different groups of substances. Since there is no 100% green option, remember that using more detergent will not make your clothes cleaner.

The fewer clothes you put in a washing machine, the less detergent is needed. The same applies to garments that are more or less dirty. Also, in areas with relatively soft water, you can use less detergent.

  1. Do not tumble dry

It's worth noting that all cotton products will have natural shrinkage, which generally happens during the drying process. You can reduce the risk of shrinkage by avoiding the tumble drier and air-drying instead. While tumble drying might sometimes be a convenient solution, a custom printed t-shirt is best dried when hung.

When air-drying your garments, avoid direct sunlight to reduce unwanted fading of colours. As mentioned above: 100% cotton products generally do not like excessive heat. To reduce creasing and unwanted stretching, you should hang delicate cotton fabrics over a rail.

Not putting your custom printed t-shirts in the dryer has a positive effect on your garment's durability and a substantial environmental impact. The average tumble dryers use up to five times the energy levels of a standard washing machine. By not using a tumble dryer, a household can reduce its carbon footprint substantially.


  1. Iron on reverse & do not iron the print.

Depending on the specific fabric of a custom printed t-shirt, cotton can be more or less prone to wrinkles & creases. However, by handling your t-shirts carefully when taking them out of the washing machine, you can minimise creasing if you can give each garment a gentle stretch or shake to get them back into shape. Take extra care around the neckline and shoulders: you should not stretch them too much here as you don't want the t-shirt to lose shape. If you're washing machine has a particular setting that allows you to 'reduce creases' – you can use this to prevent wrinkles. Reducing the spin cycle of your washing programme also helps to minimise creasing, but this means that your custom printed t-shirt will be a bit moister when coming out of the washing machine. If a custom printed t-shirt does need ironing, it is best to refer to the garment care label to precisely understand the safe temperature setting. When ironing your custom printed t-shirt, we recommend ironing on the reverse and using the steam function on your iron. Adding moisture before ironing to cotton fabrics will make their fibres smoother, and the garment will flatten more quickly.

For an even better look & gentle treatment of your garment, we generally recommend a steamer instead of a conventional handheld iron.


Laying flat & folded is the best way to store your custom printed t-shirts.

  1. Store your custom printed t-shirts correctly.

Ideally, your custom printed t-shirts should be stored folded & lying on a flat surface. Knitted fabrics could stretch when hung for a long time.

If you prefer to hang your T-Shirts, use wide hangers, so their weight is evenly distributed. If you hang your custom printed t-shirts, make sure you insert the hanger from the bottom, so you're not over-stretching the neckline. Lastly, to avoid fading of colour, avoid sunlight during storage.


  1. Treat stains straight away.

When getting a stain on your custom printed t-shirt, the first and most important rule is to treat the stain straight away. Natural materials like cotton or linen are excellent at absorbing liquids (such as red wine or tomato sauce). The faster you attempt to remove the stain, the easier it is to get it out of the fabric entirely.

Unfortunately, no universal detergent or stain removal product is ideal for eliminating all kinds of stains. Research has shown the more effective a stain remover is, the more aggressive it is to the garment colour and may affect the custom printed t-shirt colour. We recommend you rinse the stain with warm water and then add some mild detergent or soap as an initial step.

You can use a commercial stain remover for persistent stains, but avoid stain solutions that have bleach for coloured cotton garments. The bleach may remove the colour out of the fabric and leave a light mark.



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