If you're anything like me, you want your favorite t-shirts to last a very, very long time. This sentiment applies to all clothes, actually. Whether it’s your everyday work clothes, favorite jeans or newly purchased fleece, the money you put into your clothing can last significantly longer than you might imagine.
I used to hand wash all my screen-printed tees. No joke. You can imagine how time consuming that ended up being. You definitely don't have to hand wash all your apparel for longevity, or purchase fancy detergent; but there are some things you can do to help give your clothes the longest life possible.
Detergent has come a long way in the past 30 or so years. It's no longer necessary to wash your clothes in hot water unless you’re concerned with sterilization, a possible concern if in hospitals or maybe hotels. Hot water can really weaken clothing fibers, and this can reflect how your garment looks. All of your washables will get just as clean if using cold water.
No Bleach or Strong Detergents
Again, most detergents on the market these days clean very thoroughly. Bleach and other strong detergents are not always necessary, and can actually be chemically harmful to your clothes. I like the Method brand that can be bought at Target, because it's friendlier for the environment via ingredients and packaging. There's plenty of information online about eco-friendly detergent options. You might even want to make your own detergent!
Again, stay far, far away from hot settings. Hot dryers are the number one enemy of screen printed t-shirts and other clothes. It definitely can cause shrinkage, mis-shaping, and/or damage such as flaking to the graphic. For best results, remove your clothes just before they are completely dry, and hang or lay them flat to dry.
Turning dark jeans inside out to keep them dark was one of the very first laundry lessons I ever learned. Turning screen-printed tees and other garments inside out can help keep the print like new by reducing wear in the wash. Fact is, almost all clothing benefit from being turned inside out prior to washing.
Clothes That Play Together, Stay Together
By play together, I mean tumble around in the washer and dryer, and by stay together I mean construction wise. Sorting clothes by color is important (hello, Mr. Pink Sock!) but it is also important to sort clothing by fabric texture. Clothes rub together in the washer and dryer. We tend to think of clothes as being soft for the most part, but the texture creates friction. Your screen-printed tees may crack and peel if washed with towels.
Fact is, we're all trying to make the most of what we have. If you have any tips for keeping your screen-printed apparel in great shape, please share!