Clothing T-shirts

Best Way to Wash T-Shirts for Longevity

There’s nothing quite like putting on a fresh, brand-new tee for the first time. The bright colors. Super soft fabric. That beautifully crisp design. If only it could stay in perfect shape forever…

Good thing you’ve found the t-shirt experts at OneHourTees. We’re not only obsessed with printing incredible custom apparel. We also want nothing more than for them to last you a lifetime. Check out our ultimate guide on best ways wash t-shirts for longevity.

The absolute worst thing you can do to your precious tees is to throw them in the wash all willy-nilly. In fact, it’s mostly what you do BEFORE sticking them in the machine that’ll make those shirts last for ages.

Step 1: Wash with similar colours

White with white! Washing brighter colours together helps to maintain the fresh whiteness of your summer tees. By washing light colours together, you reduce the risk of a white T-Shirt becoming grey or even getting coloured (think pink) by another garment. Usually darker colours can be go into the machine together, especially when they have been washed already a couple of times.

Sorting your laundry by fabric types will further optimise your washing results: sport and workwear might have different needs than a super delicate summer shirt. If you’re unsure of how to wash a new garment, a quick look at the care label always helps.

Step 2: Turn Printed Tees Inside Out

Even though you’ve sorted all of your printed tees together, friction against any apparel can be bad for longevity. To minimize the impact against the actual design, always turn your custom printed tee inside out before washing it. This will help protect the artwork from washing machine wear and tear.

Also, since most of your sweat and smells come in contact most closely with the inside of your shirts, this allows for the stinkier spots to get the most thorough, direct clean.

We recommend washing apparel inside out for all of our custom shirts including DTG, screen printing, embroidery, and heat transfers.

Step 3: Use the right (amount of) detergent

There are now more environmentally-friendly detergents on the market that are based on natural ingredients, while avoiding chemical (oil-based) ingredients.

However, it is important to remember that even ‘green detergents’ will pollute waste water – and can damage clothes if they’re used in too high amounts – as they can contain a wealth of different groups of substances. Since there is no 100% green option, remember that using more detergent will not make your clothes any cleaner.

The fewer clothes you put in a washing machine the less detergent is needed. The same applies to garments that are more or less dirty. Also, in areas with rather soft water, less detergent can be used.

Step 4: Do not tumble dry

It’s worth noting that all cotton products will have natural shrinkage, which generally happens during the drying process. The risk of shrinkage can be reduced by avoiding a tumble drier and air-drying instead. While tumble drying might sometimes be a convenient solution, a T-Shirt is definitely best dried when hung.

When air-drying your garments, avoid direct sunlight to reduce unwanted fading of colours. As mentioned above: 100% cotton products generally do not like excessive heat. To reduce creasing and unwanted stretching, delicate cotton fabrics should be hung over a rail.

Skipping the dryer has not only a positive effect on the durability of your T-Shirt but also a massive environmental effect. The average tumble dryers needs up to five times the energy levels of a standard washing machine, which means that a household’s carbon footprint can be reduced substantially by avoiding tumble drying completely.