How to Preserve Printed Shirts

How to Preserve Printed Shirts

Screen printing shirts is a popular way to achieve fun and vibrant graphics. You can get great casual clothing pieces suitable for any occasion. But, to ensure they last you a long time, you must learn how to preserve printed shirts. 

Below, we will walk you through some of our best advice and tips on how to ensure the longevity of garment print. 

Garment Print – How to Preserve Printed Shirts

Printed shirts are garments commonly in most people’s closets, often left untouched due to insufficient care. For screen-printed garments to stay in pristine condition for longer, they require proper care. 

So, with t-shirt contract screen printing on the rise, as one of the leading companies in the printing industry, we feel inclined to offer our expert advice on preserving printed shirts.

To ensure your printed shirts last long, try the following:

  • Hand wash your printed shirt
  • Store printed shirts properly
  • Avoid heat and excessive sun exposure
  • Wash similar fabrics together
How to Preserve Printed Shirts

Hand wash your printed shirt

While washing machines are incredibly convenient, they can also decrease the lifespan of printed fabrics. You may try washing some printed garments on a gentle cycle and at low temperatures. 

But if you have a printed shirt you want to ensure lasts long, it is best to hand wash it in cold water. This way, you ensure the colors of the garment print stay vibrant for longer. 

Store printed shirts properly 

You should always store printed shirts flat instead of hanging them to avoid stretching the fabric. If the fabric stretches, it may distort the graphic print. 

Moreover, ensure you store the printed shirts in a well-ventilated, dry, and clean area. Well-ventilated storage spaces prevent the build-up of mold or mildew on the garments.

Avoid heat and excessive Sun exposure

Heat and excessive sun exposure are the most significant contributors to damage and fading of printed fabrics. The UV rays from the sun can cause the graphic print to fade and distort. This is why you should keep printed shirts away from direct sunlight

Wash similar fabrics together 

If you decide to wash your printed shirts in a washing machine, besides using a gentle cycle, group the shirts with similar material. Similar fabrics may help you avoid damage during the wash cycle

When you are grouping clothes to wash alongside your printed shirts, ensure none of them have zippers or buttons that may snag or damage the print. Moreover, the clothes should also be similarly colored to avoid color bleeding.

Fabric Care – How to Wash Printed Shirts

Proper washing plays a crucial role in how long your printed shirts last. Unlike regular clothes, you cannot just toss printed garments into your washing machine without a care. If you do this, they are likely to last only a short time.

You want to prevent the garment print from fading just after several wash cycles. Consider incorporating the following tips when washing your printed shirts to prevent fading.

Wash printed shirts inside out 

This is among the best tips to prevent garment fading. With the shirt inside out during the wash cycle, the print has less friction, which means less damage. By flipping the shirt inside out, you essentially add a layer of protection

This prevents other clothes in the sale load from rubbing against the graphic print on the shirt. If you don’t wash it flipped inside out, the friction may cause the screen print ink on the shirt to flake.

So, it is best to wash your printed shirts inside out and protect them from peeling, cracking, or fading.

Wash Printed Shirts Inside Out 
Source: / Photo Contributor: pumatokoh

Wash on 30, reduced cycle 

We advise against using hot water when washing your printed shirts as the heat may increase the fading of the print’s colors. If you want to ensure the longevity of your shirts, wash them on 30, reduced cycle, or even colder temperatures

Heat not only causes fading but may also shrink the garment. We recommend you keep the wash cycles short and the revolutions down. Long wash cycles with revolutions at 1400 RPM will degrade your prints faster. 

Plus, washing with cold water is more sustainable, and it saves you on your electricity bill. 

No strong detergent, fabric softener, or bleach 

Harsh chemicals in some detergents and bleach can dissolve the adhesive under the garment print. Instead, it is best to use a mild or eco-friendly detergent that will be gentle on the fabric and print.

Moreover, while softeners may help maintain the fabric’s appearance, overuse often can have the opposite effect. In this case, substituting the fabric softener with white vinegar may be a good idea.

With white vinegar, you won’t have to worry about any residue like the softeners leave, affecting the print quality.

Air dry only 

As we mentioned, heat is detrimental to print quality, so avoid dryers. If possible, you should air-dry your printed shirts. Before you let your garments to air dry, do the following:

  • Shake the printed shirt gently after washing to smooth out any creases and wrinkles
  • Ensure you lay the shirt to dry in a shaded space to avoid fading from the sun
  • Let your shirt dry before you fold it or wear it fully

If you use a dryer, we should mention that the potential damage to the printed garment also depends on the printing method. For example, if the print is an iron-on, the graphic will probably start peeling and cracking after a single cycle in a dryer. 

In contrast, screen-printed shirts may be able to endure dryers better. Still, the best method is to hang dry printed garments. Use the dryer only if you are in a hurry, and be sure to turn the shirt inside out.

Low heat iron

After your printed shirt is dry, you may want to iron out any creases that may appear. But because heat is damaging, you must avoid ironing over the graphic print. 

So, while it is best to avoid clothing irons altogether if you must use one, keep it on low heat. Also, turn your shirt inside out before using the iron so that it does not come into contact with the print.

As an additional precaution when ironing printed garments, you may place a thin cloth between it and the iron. This way, the iron does not directly contact the fabric. 

How to Wash Printed Shirts


If you want to know how to preserve printed shirts, you must learn to care for them properly. As we mentioned above, for graphic prints to last, you must wash them in cold or mild water.

You must avoid exposing them to heat and excessive sunlight. Do this by storing them in shady and well-ventilated spaces. Plus, if you wash them in a washing machine, only group them with similar fabrics.