How to Care for Your Printed T-Shirt: Essential Maintenance Tips

Getting custom-printed T-shirts can add a whole new level of flair to your wardrobe, help you spread a message, or even market your business efforts. However, they tend to require some special maintenance requirements to keep them looking fresh for years to come. 

Today, we’re going to go over all the essential tips for maintaining your printed T-shirt and getting the most out of it.

Let’s dive in!

1: Avoid the Dryer

First and foremost, it’s your first instinct to grab all your wet clothes on laundry day and toss them in the dryer. Nobody has time to wait for their entire wardrobe to air dry, after all. 

However, you need to take the time to pick out your printed shirts and set them aside. Many printing techniques can create stunning designs, but they don’t hold up when exposed to high heat for long periods.

Instead, always air-dry your printed T-shirts. If it’s a sunny spring day, hang them up outside for a quick dry. If it’s too cold for that, you can always hang them in your home in an area where they’re not going to drip water everywhere. It takes a while, but it will protect the design printed on the shirt. 


2: Don’t Use an Iron


No matter how badly you want to iron out wrinkles, do not use an iron on printed shirts. Just like the dryer, an iron can ruin the graphic printed on the shirt. They simply don’t respond well to high heat. 

Instead, you can use other methods to avoid wrinkles such as folding your shirts and storing them in a drawer rather than hanging them with lots of other clothes, use heat-free wrinkle removal methods, etc. 


3: Use Cold Water


This is another heat-related tip for taking care of your printed T-shirts. Don't use a hot water cycle when you’re washing printed shirts. If you have a lot of printed shirts, put them all in for a load, run them all in a cold cycle, and then air dry them.

If you only have one or two and it doesn’t make sense to do them separately, put them in with other clothes that are good with cold water. Usually, your delicate pieces are best washed in cold water


4: Avoid Harsh Chemicals


You need good detergent and cleaning chemicals to wash your clothes, but that doesn’t mean you have to use harsh chemicals such as bleach. Try to pick a mild option

This is for two reasons. 

First, you won’t have to worry about discoloration, and the fabric will stay nice and soft. It won’t be slowly damaged by the chemicals. 

Second, some chemicals can affect the graphic printed on your shirt. Bleach can wash out the colors, some types of prints can start to peel and flake off, etc. 

This is a good idea with most of your clothing. Remember, the chemicals you wash your clothes with eventually end up on your skin. Milder options are way better than strong chemicals that corrode materials


5: Flip Your Shirts Inside Out


Printed shirts apply a graphic to the fabric. The fabric itself isn’t one piece with the graphic. As such, you want to avoid creating a lot of friction or letting it get jostled all over the place against hard metal grates like in a washing machine. 

Luckily, this doesn’t involve any big changes as some of the other tips might, depending on your habits. All you need to do is flip each printed shirt inside out before you chuck them in the wash

Once they come out of the wash and are ready to air dry, you can flip them back out like you normally would. 


6: Don’t Pick at Peeling or Flaking Bits


If you follow all the other tips we give for maintaining your printed T-shirts, you’ll have them for years even if you wear them frequently. However, you’ll eventually notice the graphic starting to peel or flake. 

Do not pick at it. If you do, you’ll just accelerate the process, and the shirt will get worn out faster. 

There isn’t much to do in this case. If the shirt has a lot of sentimental value, you might want to retire it and keep it as a keepsake. 


7: Follow the Care Label


Any shirt you get is going to come with a care label. This can be an actual cotton tag, or it can be a printed label on the inside of the collar on tag-free shirts.

How to care for your printed T-shirt - follow the care label.

If you buy a printed shirt from a random fair booth or something like that, the care tag will likely have instructions for the base shirt they used, but it won’t account for the graphic they printed on it. In that situation, following our tips is a great idea, but you can also ask the person making it if there are any special care instructions.

Even if the tag says it’s dryer safe or to use warm water, that might just be because it was a standard blank T-shirt. 

If you buy your shirt from a reputable custom shirt company, it might be a different situation. Either tag will reflect the special care that needs to be taken, or the team doing the work will fill you in. 

When purchased online, it’s standard practice for care requirements to be somewhere on the site

Do These Tips Work for All Printed Shirts? 

Every tip for taking care of your printed T-shirt we’ve given here is universal. Some printing methods respond differently to different levels of heat, and you might be able to get away with using a dryer and other heat sources, but it’s always safer to follow our care tips. 

Where to Get the Best Custom Printed T-Shirts

Now that you know how to take care of your printed T-shirts, why not add a new custom-printed T-shirt to your wardrobe?

AA Custom T-Shirt Printing has you covered! We can turn your design into the perfect custom shirt with a variety of shirt options to choose from.

Explore our collection and create your custom T-shirt today at AA Custom T-Shirt Printing!