It’s a common question we get from our customers: how do we wash our screen printed or embroidered clothing? While you may be used to getting your laundry tips from Good Housekeeping, who else knows more about caring for custom apparel than us? After all, we’ve been screen printing and embroidering custom apparel for nearly 20 years!
We’ve put together a list of our top tips to help you preserve your custom clothing.
Wash in Cold Water
Unless you’re laundering hospital bed sheets where sterilization is important, there’s no reason to wash your everyday clothes in hot water. Cold water will sufficiently get your clothes clean, and it’s gentler on fabric. Hot water weakens the fibers in your clothing and will cause it to show signs of wear faster. Screen printed or digital heat transfer designs will not stand up to the heat. Washing in cold water is the best way to preserve your decorated printed apparel.
Wash Embroidered Items by Hand
To maximize the longevity of your custom embroidered apparel, get your hands dirty (or rather, clean) by hand washing. Machine washing can cause embroidered designs to curl. This is especially true if your embroidered design is a thick logo or a crest, or covers a large area. When squeezing water out, be sure not to squeeze over the embroidered area as this can also cause your logo to curl and look wrinkled when it dries.
Even colour safe bleach is a no-no when it comes to washing screen printed or digital heat transfer designs. Colour safe bleach may cause the ink to be diluted, making the colours appear dull.
Wash Clothes Inside Out
Did your mother ever yell at you for throwing your clothes in the dirty clothes hamper inside out? You’ll only hear us say this once: don’t listen to mom! Washing your clothes inside out is the best way to protect your print or embroidered design as it prevents the design from rubbing up against other fabrics and damaging the print.
Hang to Dry
To be safe, forget using the dryer all together. Hanging your custom printed apparel items is always the preferred method of drying.
We know now that high heat settings cause the ink on printed designs to fade, but tumble dryers are also dangerous for embroidered items as the vigorous drying method can cause embroidered designs to curl and look wrinkled.
Read the Label
Cotton, polyester and blended fabrics all need to be treated differently. To ensure the longevity of your custom logo apparel items, always be sure to read and follow the washing instructions on the label.
Avoid High Heat
The dryer is your custom clothing’s worst enemy. Heat can cause screen printed and digital heat transfer designs to fade and crack. If you do need to use the dryer, set it to low heat.
Take Care When Ironing and Steaming
We know high heat is not custom apparel friendly, but that doesn’t mean you can’t iron your clothes. To protect the print, we recommend placing a thin cotton material over the decorated area as direct heat from the iron can dilute the brightness of the ink and cause it to crack. Plus, ink can stick to the iron and damage other clothing items.
When steaming items, steam the decorated garment from the inside out. Placing steam directly onto the decorated print may cause the ink to run. The iron is safe to use on embroidered items, however, we recommend ironing your items inside out to preserve the quality, brightness and colour of the threads.