Whether you’re a lover of graphic tees or are addicted to band t-shirts you will know how frustrating it is watching your favorite prints fade into dust. Fortunately, there are ways you can take care of your printed garments to prolong their vibrancy. With these 8 simple and easy to follow tips you can keep your favorite printed garments looking their best for longer.
1. Wash your printed garments inside out
Many printed garments are a work of art and need treating with special care and attention. Which is why, before chucking them into the washing machine, turning them inside out is always a good idea. This not only helps prevent the colors from fading, it also protects the prints from being damaged by other items in the machine. A loose button or toggle can be lethal to your printed garment so this step can help your printed garments remain flawless.
2. Keep your fabrics separate
Unless you’re a complete novice when it comes to washing you will know to keep your colors separates from your whites. However, did you know that it is also beneficial to keep your fabrics separate? Particularly when it comes to delicate items such as printed garments (which will usually be made out of cotton) these should be washed with other items of the same or similar material. If your printed t-shirt was washed with your jeans, for example, this could cause abrasion on the surface of your design. So, if you can, keep your printed garments reserved for a delicate wash.
3. Go light on the detergent
Printed garments need to be treated with care so opt for a mild detergent when washing them. Consider choosing an eco-friendly detergent which is not only better environmentally, but is also absent of the harsh chemicals of regular detergents and kinder to your favorite prints. Also, avoid using fabric softeners when washing your printed garments as these can also contribute to premature fading by degrading the ink used in the design. No one likes faded prints!
4. Turn the temperature down low
When it comes to washing printed garments, the cooler the better. Hot water can not only shrink your garments and cause the design to fade, it can also cause the ink in the design to dry up and crack. You may have noticed your printed garments ‘crack’ in the past, making them look worn and tired before their time. By washing in cold water you can give your printed garments extra protection from unnecessary heat damage in the washing machine.
5. Resist the temptation of the dryer
While you may be desperate to get your favorite graphic tee dry in time for a night on the town, be sure to resist the dryer as this can cause irreparable damage to printed garments. The heat from the dryer is every printed garment’s worst enemy as it causes the printed design to peel away and crack. Even after just a single tumble in the dryer a beautiful printed design can be ruined. Be sure to avoid this machine at all costs! Instead, let your printed garments dry the natural way and if you’re drying them outside keep them in the shade to avoid your prints fading in the sunshine.
6. Irons are the enemy
In case we haven’t already made this clear, printed garments do not like heat! This is why avoiding using an iron is a good idea to protect the printed designs on your clothing. If you are a stickler for crinkle-free garments, then only ever use an iron on its lowest setting when ironing printed clothing. Make sure the item of clothing is inside out and put the printed design between two pieces of cloth when ironing to protect it.
7. Consider hand washing
If you’re really concerned with protecting your printed garments then the best way to do this is to hand wash them. While the washing machine is often our best friend, it can cause damage to your printed garments over time even when you’re following all of the protective measures discussed above.
Hand washing isn’t as time-consuming as you might think. All you need is your kitchen sink, cold water, and some gentle detergent. Fill the sink with cold water, add a scoop of your chosen detergent and swish it all together. Then, turn your printed garments inside out and place them to soak in the soapy solution for around 20 minutes. When the time is up, give them a good rinse with cold water so that all of the detergent is removed and that’s it! Hang your garments out to dry and make sure you resist the temptation to wring them out as this will strain and damage the print.
8. Dealing with hard water
Unfortunately, you may take as much care as possible with your printed garments but you are unlucky enough to live in a hard water area. Hard water can interfere with the inks used in the print, changing their color and increasing the rate that they fade.
You can help to counter the effects of hard water with this simple trick: mix a gallon of cold water with a cup of white vinegar and soak your printed garments in this solution for a couple of hours before washing them. The white vinegar helps to neutralize the minerals and metal deposits in hard water making these less damaging when you wash your clothes.
Following these 8 simple tips will help to keep your printed garments looking fresh and vibrant, reducing the speed in which they fade and helping to avoid a premature cracking effect in the design. It’s also a good idea to follow these practices when washing your other clothes in general as it will help to prolong their life and be kinder on your pocket. Make sure you also check out the care instructions on your garments in case the manufacturer has any additional advice.