How to Wash Screen Printed Shirts & The Best Way

I am sure you have seen or must have seen how your favorite shirt is fading and paper to have a crack after several wears and washings. You may feel bad about it, but you need to realize that durability depends on the design and type of fabric used and the expert level of the screen printer.

Whether you bought a custom-made shirt and spent a lot of money on every item, so when you take it upon yourself to protect the quality means you are saving money spent.

The first precaution is to make sure they do not fade by washing them carefully.

How to Wash Screen Printed Shirts

Tips for Washing Screen-Printed Shirts

Use Coldwater

It is common sense to wash all your clothes in warm or hot water. However, some hotels, hostels, and inns use hot water to help disinfect sheets and towels. Using hot water on screen-printed fabric will interfere with the fabric, which in the end destroys it.

Cold water is gentle on fabric, and it gets your clothes perfectly clean.

Avoid Bleach or Strong Detergents

Bleaches are effective in stain removal but harsh on clothes. We would recommend that you use light stain removers when you want to get rid of harsh stains and tough spots. Detergents also need to be mild on the fabric.

Also read: Screen Print Vs. Vinyl T-shirt Printing – Which One and Why?

Wash Shirts Inside Out

Turn all screen-printed shirts inside out and do the same before ironing them. Working with shirts turned inside out lessens the fading and preserves the design. If you value the design on the shirt is everything to you make sure it does not get into contact with the washing machine to make sure the ink is not strained.

Do not wash the shirt after every use. This approach should be encouraged for those who wear shirts for minimal time and do not leave so much dirt to show.

Do not Use a Hot Dryer

When drying your shirt, remember not to set the hot dryer to the highest heat level. Always remove it when it is almost dry and air it on the cloth line outside to let it dry naturally. Remember high heat will hasten the design peeling process.

Wash Similar Clothes Together

Isolate shirts with the same color and wash them together to avoid clothes with running colors ruining design and prints on your shirts.

Sometimes the reason why you should wash similar colors together because the type or nature of fabric also may force you to wash matching clothes together. Washing fabrics with varying texture together, they may rub against each other causing cracks to ruin the design.

Picture rubbing sandpaper on your wrist and imagine the result that is how shirts feel when washed together with different materials.

Stay Away From Irons

As already stated that too much heat is not a good thing, however, if you must use an iron, use the lowest setting, and make sure the shirt is turned inside out.

When Dry Cleaning

Screen-printed shirts may undergo dry cleaning, however; you need to exercise caution when dealing dark shades to avoid spotting. Chemicals used in dry cleaning may also cause spotting and spreading of ink

Common Issues


Shrinking can cause you frustration when the garment no longer fits. Most manufacturers prefer to pre-shrink their fabric before sending it to the printer. Shrinking is caused by heat from the dryer and hot washing during the printing. The standard rule is that if your garment is 100% cotton always knows that there is a real potential to shrinkage.


Pilling does not only affect clothes of poor quality because all fabrics are prone to pilling. The friction that come from wearing and washing the also causes pilling. Such friction loosens the fabric by pulling fibers away. You will notice fibers in the form of fuzzy balls or pills on the surface of the cloth.

You can use a handheld fabric shaver to eliminate pills, but the best way to prevent them is to wash garments inside out.

Related article: How much does Screen Printing Cost

Hard Water

Hard water contains minerals that can ruin screen-printed garments. These minerals will deposit in the fabric leading them into stiffen. Hard water also degrades the dye used in screen-printing and colors may start to fade. You can opt to buy a water softening system or soak the clothes in a mixture of white vinegar and water before washing.

Prevention of potential laundry problems that may ruin printed garments is not a difficult thing to do. All you have to do is paying attention to details. Make sure you follow on these tips and maintain the quality of your shirt.


The quality of the shirt will also affect the duration of the print and how it reacts to soap and water. The higher the quality of the fabric the longer the design will last. Before deciding to wash your cloth, ensure that you read the care label because of the important information on how to handle the material.

1 thought on “How to Wash Screen Printed Shirts & The Best Way”

  1. It’s helpful to know that hard water can cause damage to screen printed clothes. My uncle is interested in having some custom screen printed shirts made to hand out to employees of his local business next month. I’ll share this info so he can let them know about the best way to care for their new shirts as well!


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