Washing and Drying Branded Clothing

The best way to safely wash your custom printed clothing is by hand. Turn them inside-out, mix cold water and a mild detergent in a small tub, let soak for 10 minutes or more, then gently agitate for a few minutes, rinse, and let them air dry.

Using a washer and dryer is not going to destroy your shirts– if you take proper precautions. Below are step-by-step instructions for the washing machine, dryer, de-wrinkling, and ironing, to help you keep your clothing looking good for a long time.

Always turn your printed tees inside-out, no matter how you wash them.

Machine Washing: Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Turn printed garments inside-out before washing.This will prevent other garments from rubbing against the print, as well help prevent “pilling” of fabric.
  2. Pre-treat areas with a stain remover spray.Do not add extra detergent. Fabric stain removal products are generally safe and work well.
  3. Gently buff stains with a clean washcloth. Do not use brushes or anything abrasive. Working the fabric against itself can also work if you don’t have a washcloth.
  4. Separate similar colours, weight, and textures. Avoid overfilling the washer or adding heavy materials such as jeans and towels, which can aggravate the fabric.
  5. Use mild detergent with cold water on a gentle cycle. Warm water, harsh detergents, and aggressive wash cycles are the number one reasons that could damage garments and prints.

Always use cold water, a gentle cycle, and avoid harsh detergents.

Hand Washing: Step-by-Step

  1. Fill a tub or a sink with cool water and add a mild detergent.
  2. Turn printed shirts inside-out before hand washing.
  3. Pre-treat areas with a stain remover spray.
  4. Gently buff stains with a clean washcloth or work the fabric against itself.
  5. Let the tees soak in the soapy water for 10 minutes or more.
  6. Rinse thoroughly with cool water and gently wring out.
  7. Hang on a rounded hanger to air dry.

Drying Printed Clothing

The second most important thing besides washing is drying, which if not done carefully can cause damage to your garments as well. Mostly because of the heat, but also if your dryer is a bit rough and tumble. Avoid the machine if possible.

Air Drying

  1. Hang the tees on a hanger to air dry. Air drying is the safest method to avoid shrinkage or damage. Line dry in the shade (not direct sunlight)
  2. Use a thick plastic hanger rather than clothespins. Wire hangers and clothespins can leave pointy shapes in the shoulder areas when it dries. Use the rounded kind.

Machine Drying (if you must)

  1. Turn printed shirts inside-out before drying. This will prevent other garments from rubbing against the print, as well help prevent “pilling” of fabric.
  2. Separate out similar weight, and textures. Avoid overfilling the dryer or adding heavy materials such as jeans and towels, which can aggravate the fabric.
  3. Use the lowest possible heat setting or Permanent Press. Heat damages and shrinks fabric and prints, including polyester Try to remove the garments early before the cycle ends.

Removing Wrinkles

Cotton garments are especially prone to wrinkles, and the safe washing instructions mentioned don’t have the benefit of the wrinkle-removing powers of a hot dryer. This is where ironing and steaming come in. Follow these steps to make sure your printed tee is clean, fresh, and smooth.


  1. Turn your tee inside-out and drape it onto an ironing board.
  2. Use iron on the lowest temperature setting, with little to no steam.
  3. Place a towel or cloth between T-shirt and the iron as your work.
  4. Continue to reposition the tee and towel as you iron the whole tee.


  1. Hang your tee up inside-out with a hanger and fire up a handheld steamer.
  2. Use the lowest temperature setting and move the steamer across the fabric.
  3. Avoid steaming directly onto the print– work around it or steam sparingly.
  4. Do both sides and the sleeves and put on right afterward if possible.

Tips and Care Instructions for Printed Clothing 

  • Don’t wash immediately after purchase. Custom printed garments require at least 24 hours to fully cure. So, if they’re hot off the press, give them a day or two to cure for a long-lasting print.
  • Ignore the tag. Most T-shirts and similar items– especially 100% cotton will tell you that you can wash them normally. And you can– but it may not be the best way to protect and care for your custom print.
  • Separate and sort your items to wash. Colours and darks can go together, with whites separate. You should also separate by texture and weight; heavy and abrasive items like towels and jeans can rough up your T-shirts.
  • Use a laundry bag for extra-special shirts. Laundry bags are specially made to keep pieces of clothing separate from the rest of the wash which gives you maximum protection.
  • Only use non-chlorine bleach. Nothing is harsher on your fabrics than bleach. It can sap the colour, fade the print, and even weaken the construction.
  • Avoid fabric softener. The chemicals in these products can degrade the ink of your print.
  • Remove T-shirts from the dryer early. The less heat that your custom printed garments are exposed to, the better. Remove them early, before the cycle is finished, and lay them out somewhere to fully dry.
  • When in doubt, get them dry cleaned. There’s no shame in letting the professionals handle your toughest stains or most valuable clothing. They have special techniques to lift stains without damaging or shrinking the fabric.
  • Use a quality, reliable printing company. The number one thing that can cause a print to fade after washing is not being properly printed in the first place. Think Uniforms provides quality prints you can trust.

Washing and Drying Unbranded Clothing

Garment Care