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How to Wash Your Custom T-Shirt to Ensure the Colors Don't Fade

Have you ever noticed that the once-bright colors of your t-shirts will start to fade after a few weeks to a few months of usage? That’s not due to the quality of the shirt, but rather how you take care of them. A washer and dryer can be both your best friend and worst enemy at the same time. If you launder your clothes improperly, it can not only fade the shirt but severely crack the custom logo or lettering as well. No matter if you’re rocking an old school Maytag washing machine from the 1970s or a high-tech one that will make you a cappuccino while it launders your clothes, there are a few simple steps that you can take to help ensure that your colors and logos won’t crack or fade. We’ve created this guide to help you launder your custom t-shirts and ensure that they’ll last for a long time and look as new as the day you first tried them on.

Turn Your Shirt Inside Out When Washing

You should always turn your shirts inside out when washing them. This is due to the extreme forces that occur when you close the lid and push the start button. Washing machines are designed to agitate the water and move the shirt in such a way that every last bit of dirt, sweat, and body odor gets released into the water. By turning your shirts inside out, the interior of the shirt will take the brunt of the mechanical forces that can cause colors to fade and logos to crack. They will get just as clean when they’re inside out as they do the other way around.

Always, Always, Always Use Cold Water

The only reason to use hot water is to disinfect clothing, and that’s usually for hospital bed sheets, bathroom towels, and cloth baby diapers. Hot water is very rough on fabric, especially thin t-shirts. It will ultimately destroy not only the colors and logos but can even cause the shirt to shrink due to the material it’s made out of. Hot water also causes colors to bleed out, stains to set, and if you’ve made the mistake of washing a white t-shirt with a red one, you probably won’t enjoy the new pink shirt that emerges when the washing machine cycle is finished. As an added bonus, washing your t-shirts in cold water will help save money on your monthly electric or gas bill as it won’t require your hot water heater to start up.

Don’t Use Bleach and Beware of “Stain Removers”

In addition to turning your clothes a shade of yellow that looks as attractive as the teeth of a 90-year-old smoker, even a small amount of bleach can harm the adhesives that adhere to the logo and lettering to your custom t-shirts. The stain removers you can get at any grocery store also hold a hidden danger. They sometimes will use harsh chemicals that are designed to release stains. If you look at the warning label on the back of stain remover spray products, you’ll notice that they suggest you test it out on a small area of the shirt.

Wash Like Clothes Together

Your family members, girlfriend, or boyfriend have probably drilled this little tip into your head so many times that you’re wondering why we’re even mentioning it. When people say, “wash like clothes together,” they don’t just mean like colors, but textures as well. A sweater that’s made out of a harsher material will inevitably rub up against a cotton t-shirt in the washing machine. This can cause logos and lettering to start to peel and come off.

Don’t Use a Dryer

No matter how tempting it is to throw your t-shirts into the dryer, don’t. Heat is the #1 enemy of your t-shirt, and even the low heat or delicate cycle can cause colors to start to fade and logos to peel off. You should only use the dryer for things like towels and bedsheets. The same goes for taking your t-shirts to a dry cleaner. They’re not going to perform some ancient t-shirt washing ritual to get them clean—everything gets thrown into a massive industrial size washing machine that uses category 5 hurricane forces to wash the clothes.

Hang Dry Your Clothes

The best way to dry your t-shirts is to hang them on a clothesline somewhere outside that doesn’t get any direct sunlight. The UV rays from the sun can cause colors to fade quickly and logos to crack. If you live in a climate where drying your clothes outside is impossible due to humidity or cold, you can always buy some cheap clothesline and dry them in your shower or bathroom. Just make sure that you do it before, or long after you’ve taken a shower as they will take a lot longer to dry in a humid bathroom. By taking these tips into account the next time you need to wash your custom t-shirt, you can ensure that the colors won't fade and will continue to shine bright for years to come.
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