How to Make Printed Graphics on T-Shirts Last Longer
Many people have printed graphics t-shirts that have cracked and split, making the t-shirt look terrible. Some people have had their clothing specially made or bought it from a concert or other occasion to remember it. These items of clothing can be expensive and will not last very long if you do not know how to properly care for them. Getting the most out of your graphic tee is not an issue if you follow a few rules when cleaning and wearing it.
The first thing to do is to buy detergent that will not harm your clothing. Look for detergent that has been made to be gentle on colors or generally delicate on clothing. Some laundry detergents are very harsh and will fade and destroy custom clothing very quickly. The detergent may be more expensive than what you are used to, but if you only use it on certain clothing then it will last for a longer period of time.
Set your washer on a delicate setting for your clothes.
Your washer should have a gentle or delicate cycle that can help you to preserve the graphic on your clothes for a long period of time. Some people have a hand wash setting on their washer that they use for printed graphic clothing. If you take your clothes to a Laundromat, you should not have any trouble finding a washer with a gentle or delicate cycle.
Make sure you are color separating the clothes before washing. You do not want your t-shirt to look dingy or have other colors bleed into it. You don’t want the colors from it to bleed onto your other clothes, either. Separate the darks from the lights and wash them accordingly. All of your clothes will benefit from the color separation before washing.
It can be tempting to throw everything together when you don’t have a lot of time, but if you plan ahead and have two hampers, you can make the separation a lot easier. As soon as you take your clothes off, separate them between the two hampers according to light and dark colors. If you don’t have hampers and throw all of your clothes down a laundry chute, you may want to at least get a laundry basket and keep light or dark clothes aside.
Wash your clothes in cold water and make sure the t-shirts are inside-out. Cold water prevents peeling and shrinking of the clothes and graphic, and it will save you a little money on your energy bill. Make sure your graphic t-shirt is inside-out to further protect the graphic from cracking and other damage. Again, as soon as you take the shirt off, turn it inside-out to save time later.
Hang your shirt to dry. The heat from the dryer can severely damage your graphic t-shirt. The signs of damage may not be visible at first, but eventually you will see what the heat has done to destroy your clothes. You can hang your shirt on a wooden hanger anywhere that you have the space to hang it; you do not need a clothesline to do this.
Only wear your printed graphics t-shirt when you know you can protect it from stains and other wear and tear. You may be tempted to wear your favorite clothes to certain events, but if your clothes stand the risk of getting very dirty or damaged, it is best to rethink what you are going to wear that day. Save your good clothes for days that run little risk for damage, and if you have to wear them, use aprons and smocks to protect them.