Wear, Not Tear: Preventing Your Custom Screen-Print Tees From Cracking

Posted on: 28 October 2016

T-shirts are a great way to express your personality and show people what's important to you – and customized t-shirts take this basic principle and run hog-wild with it. However, you've almost definitely owned a screen-printed tee that you absolutely loved, but that cracked or otherwise destroyed the picture when you'd only worn it for the second or third time – and that totally sucks. So how do you get your tees to stay picture perfect? If you're looking for a few tips for keeping your screen-printed t-shirts intact no matter how much you wear them, then here's what you need to know.

Iron On

When you've just bought the shirt – when you haven't even worn it yet, let alone washed it – is the perfect time to settle in the design with your iron. Turn the shirt inside out (so that the back of the design is facing up) and place within it a clean cotton cloth. Heat your iron up (though only to low) and use a gentle waving motion with it on the exposed inside of the shirt to more firmly attach the print to the shirt's fibers.

Inside Out

The best way to protect any shirt with a delicate exterior during washing is simply to flip the shirt inside out; this prevents the screen print design from taking most of the beating during washing, giving it a better chance for a perfect image over a long period of time. If the washer makes you nervous, you can hand wash the shirt as well – just make sure it's inside out.

Cool Down

The 'hot' and 'warm' settings on your washer can badly crack your screen print tees; because hot and warm water are far more drying than cold water and because ink tends to crack when it gets too dry, cold water is your best bet to keep your shirt looking just like new.

Hang Dry

Once again, heat is going to mean the death of the graphic on your tee, so putting it in the steaming hot drier is out of the question. Make sure to hang dry your tee in a non-crowded place (if you have a bar that your shower curtain hangs on, push the curtain aside and hang the shirt on a small, soft hanger (to prevent awkward poking marks on the edges of the shoulders of the shirt) to help ensure that the picture makes it through the cleaning and drying stages safely.


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