It sounds like a stupid question, but so many people don't know. Often I hear; "I never touch the controls I just turn it on". So I thought I would take this opportunity to offer some advice on the best way to look after your printed or embroidered clothes.
As a general rule, all natural materials need more care than man-made fabrics. Polyester, for instance, needs less attention as the amount increases when mixed with cotton. The hardest of materials is 50% Polyester and 50% Cotton, known as 50/50.
I mean by this mainly 100% cotton t-shirts or garments where the cotton content is high. So here is my best advice;
turn the garment inside out, so the print is inside the garment this will protect the print from the other clothes in the wash.
Wash no higher than 40 degrees centigrade. 30 degrees Celsius will give the best results and is eco-friendly too using less energy to heat the water.
Use mildest detergents and conditioners, do not use any whiters. These are usually some form of bleach which will fade the dyed fabric and damage the print.
Do not tumble dry. The tumble dryer reaches very hight temperatures to dry the clothes and will shrink the clothes or remove the print from the garment. Also, the rolling motion of the drum will act as an abrasive on the print.
Let the garment dry naturally either outside on a washing line (do people have these anymore?) or on a cloth horse. Try to keep the garment as flat as possible; it will keep its shape better this way.
Ironing: if you must, turn the garment inside out and iron on the reverse side. Use a cold to medium temperature and avoid the print when ironing.
If you can do all this, then the garment will last as long as the print and may the spirit of Widow Twanky guide your hand while you are at your laundry.
Below is a PDF of all the washing symbols you see in shop bought clothes. To aid you in your good washing practice.
Author: Simon Burdge
this blog is about printing and special designing for garments. I have come to believe that designing of printing t-shirts is grossly misunderstood. I hope to offer a few pointers.