How to Wash Graphic Tees Without Cracking or Fading

How to Wash Graphic Tees Without Cracking or Fading

by Joe Price
January 26, 2021

how to wash graphic tees

There is no pain quite like watching the graphic on your favorite t-shirt slowly fade away. The truth is, the graphics on your clothing are doomed to the entropic forces of the universe, especially on already worn down vintage clothing. This means dull graphics, and sad t-shirt owners. Clothing does need to be washed, but it can be done in a way to help preserve the garment. After 67 years in the graphic tee biz, we at Ragstock are experienced pros when it comes to cleanliness and quality. Now we’re passing the knowledge to you, dear reader. Here are some steps you can take on how to wash graphic tees without cracking or fading the art.

On the hunt for some sweet graphics? We’ve got you covered. Shop new graphic t-shirts here. If you’re into the classics, shop vintage graphic t-shirts here.

1 Wash the shirt inside out. This is a vintage lover’s Hail Mary and the oldest trick in the book. The idea is the graphic will encounter less friction and subsequently less damage in the wash. More friction can cause the ink in the graphic to flake off or loosen. Less friction in the wash prevents graphics from peeling or cracking, as well as the shirt from pilling or fading. Don’t worry, the shirt will still get clean. If you only take away one tip from this blog, this is it. Your graphic tees will thank you.

2 Use cold water. Using hot, or ever warm water can increase the fade of the colors on your shirt. Heat, no matter how it is applied, breaks down the fibers in your shirt and on the graphics. Minimizing contact with heat can increase the longevity of your garment. Graphic tees don’t like boiling hot water. Plus, washing with cold water is better for the Earth and saves on the energy bill!

3 Avoid using the dryer. Echoing the whole ‘hot = bad’ notion, try not to throw your graphic tees in the dryer. This is can be very important depending on how the graphic on your tee is applied. If the graphic is an iron on, chances are you will see peeling or cracking after the first run in the dryer. Screen printed graphics do better in the dryer, but are subject to cracking over time. We recommend the old fashion hang-dry technique. But if you’re in a pinch, dry the shirt inside out, too.

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4 Don’t clean with bleach or harsh detergents, including fabric softeners. These products dissolve the adhesive under the graphics on your t-shirts. Try using a mild soap or detergent. Sometimes you may want to skip throwing your graphic tee in the washer with the rest of your laundry and go the hand washing route instead. It may be a hassle, but your graphic tees stand a better chance at a longer lifetime.

5 Keep away from clothing irons. Or heat in general… Using an iron can significantly dull graphics on clothing over time. Applying heat and friction in this way impacts the longevity and quality of the graphic on your shirt. Just remember, all heat is bad heat when it comes to your beloved graphic tee.

flatlayed graphic tees
Find great graphic tees at Ragstock.com

In tandem, these steps will prevent your graphic tees from fading or cracking. However, fading and cracking is never fully preventable, unless you never wear your t-shirt. It’s bound to happen. These tips serve as a line of defense against wear and tear. When your graphic tees do eventually fade and crack…that’s a look too. Distressed clothing is like super in right now!

Shop Ragstock’s huge selection of graphic tees at the link below. They are already washed, don’t worry.