T-Shirt Articles Of Interest

You Can Cause More Wear And Tear Washing T-Shirts Than Wearing Them!

Everyone usually has that favorite T-Shirt that they love wearing. Unfortunately, the more you wear your T-Shirt, the more you need to wash it. And therein lies the real problem of damaging your favorite.

I have to thank my first girlfriend in college for teaching me these tricks of the trade to help preserve my favorites. She saw me throw all of my clothes wadded together in a huge laundromat washer, flip it to hot, and pour in some highly caustic laundry detergent and rock and roll. She looked at me like I was crazy and explained to me that this was a really bad idea if I wanted my clothes to last very long. And I have to give her credit, she kept it simple and easy so there was really no reason not to do it.

Think about it for a minute. All washing machines use some type of process to move the clothing around during the wash and rinse. Many have adjustments for different clothes but even then they can still damage your printed T-Shirts.

Add in the hot water and strong detergent and you have the perfect storm of wear and tear during washing. Then there is the drying. Talk about heat and punishment, that’s often the coup de grace of the washing process. This process impacts all clothes but especially any that are on light material and have printed images. Large image areas often can crack and peel at some point. And this can also damage the original garment too.

So How Do You Wash Your Favorite T-Shirt For Minimal Damage?

The first thing to do is sort your laundry into compatible groups. Don’t wash items with rivets and zippers with your lightweight clothes that are made using screen printing, embroidery, POD/DTG, and heat transfer T-Shirts.

After you sort your T-Shirts, turn them inside out so the image areas don’t get damaged by the agitation in washing or the tumbling in the dryer.

Don’t use a detergent that has corrosive additions like bleach or heavy-duty soap. Pick a gentle wash cycle and cold water too.

The best choice for drying is using a drying rack that you can spread the T-Shirt out and let it air dry. If you don’t have the time, space, or patience for air drying then barely tumble on a no heat setting on your dryer. The lightweight material can also stretch if hung during the drying process so that’s not the best choice either.

Once the T-Shirt is washed and dried, fold rather than hang if possible. And of course store in a dark and dry area.

Some people want that absolute wrinkle-free look so they reach for an Iron. That’s fine but keep the temperature low and don’t let the iron contact any printed areas.

A few extra minutes spent on the washing and drying will make your favorite T-Shirts look better and last longer!

What Are The Most Popular T-Shirt Printing Methods?

There are several ways to print on T-Shirts and each have strong points and some requirements. Most buyers might not even know how the T-Shirts are printed and that’s fine for the most part. Although it never hurts to be a knowledgeable buyer so you get the best deal and end result. We use three of the methods below, depending on the requirements of the order. Most T-Shirt or Clothing companies use several methods depending on their business model. Our primary is method for one or just a few is DTG. From there we go to Silkscreening, then maybe Plastisol for special scenarios.

Silkscreen Printing

The oldest and most popular method of printing on T-Shirts. Many moons ago I used to teach Graphic Arts in a Midwestern Community College and the Silkscreening Classes were very popular. From hand cutting stencils to photo halftones, you can create a very professional looking result. And for long runs (over 10 or 12), you can’t beat the cost of manufacturing.

The biggest drawback is that there is considerable make ready and the time and money it costs for one T-shirt is not very good. Each color requires it’s own screen and must be exactly placed. And it can get challenging if the image is very complex, registering each color by hand takes considerable time and effort. But once you are setup, you can print large quanities fairly fast and at a very low cost compared to other methods.

This is the best method for high quality and long lasting images. But it is not good economically for small orders due to the setup costs.

Direct To Garment (DTG)

This is the second most popular due to the ease and quick production. Although you will pay more you can get great quality for a little higher cost. The actual printing equipment looks a lot like a big laser printer. It has a moving flat platform that you place the T-Shirt on and it prints directly on the T-Shirt.

The cost of the equipment (up to $25K) and the ink get very pricey though for doing long runs. It is fairly fast but for large quantities it can’t touch the Silkscreen method in time or cost. So the prices don’t go down according to the volume (number of shirts).

And you do have to be careful on the designs due to the equipment, it literally takes a copy of the image and if there are a lot of tones or solids it can get challenging. Plus you do need some working knowledge of the printer, inks, and resolution. You also may want to test any T-Shirt material since cotton seems to get the best results so any that have different materials could impact the quality and lasting of the print.

Dye Sublimation

This process works well on light colored T-Shirts and different types of materials like polyester. 100% cotton shirts don’t do well with this process. And it is a multi-step process that can be a little intimidating for beginners.

It also requires some knowledge of the Dye Sublimation, the ink is liquid and needs to have both heat and pressure to allow the colors to be absorbed into the material. The T-Shirts produced with this process can be very impressive but the design usually is simple due to the nature of the process.

The prints are pretty durable but the cost is higher than most of the other methods.

Heat Press

This is a great way for hobbyists and small run jobs. The process requires you print to a transfer paper first, then the images are transferred from the paper to the T-Shirts with the heat press. This method is more expensive than silkscreening but less than the DTG supplies.

This process does work well with light colored T-Shirts but not so good with black or dark color T-Shirts. The inks are translucent so the color of the T-Shirt can impact the quality of the prints. And once again the type of cloth used for the T-Shirt can impact the print quality.

Vinyl Cutting

Vinyl cutting is great for one color T-Shirt printing and is quite durable. You can manually cut out the image or use a machine to do it for you. Once you have the vinyl image you use a heat press to glue it onto the T-Shirt. Some designs may not work well if a lot of fine lines or decorative fonts are used.

You can do multiple colors but that requires a little more skill and you need to do each color in a different layer. This may not work well for some designs and it does require a little more precision

to get a good result. They now have automated machines that can speed up the process but this equipment can get expensive and also may require some maintenance.

Plastisol Transfer

This is very similar to the Heat Press method but the prints are made by outside vendors and then shipped to the buyer. These prints come on a transfer paper that has the image printed using similar high quality inks like in silkscreening. Many T-Shirt shops use this method due to the lower cost and higher quality result.

The T-Shirt company receives the images and then uses a Heat Press on blank T-Shirts they have on-hand. This makes it much easier on the T-Shirt company since they don’t have to have printing equipment or all the chemicals and ink. And this is a cheaper method to print than the DTG printers.

The only real catch is that you depend on someone else to make the transfer prints so time can be an issue. Especially if there is a problem with the prints, whether it be from the design or nature of the prints. And you also have to deal with inventory (having the right sizes and colors) is not always easy.

So What Does This Mean To The Buyer?

So choosing the right method depends on several factors. The quantity, the T-Shirt material, costs, and time to delivery. And luckily most of these decisions are made for the buyer so they don’t have to worry about it. But it’s good to know about the quality and cost when you order printed T-Shirts and hopefully can allow you to stay on budget and meet the quality requirements.

And if you have any questions, just message us through our stores and we’ll be happy to provide any additional information.

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