Most print used on t-shirts today is superior to the print used decades ago. That print wore off easily, leading to the crackled appearance that appeared after just a couple of washings. Today’s t-shirt print can still fade after a number of washings. The print can be made to last longer with a little bit of extra care.
The print on a t-shirt usually fades from being washed. The key, then, is to take care during each washing and to make sure that the t-shirt is washed as gently as possible. Rubbing up against other clothing in the wash is one of the causes of fading during washing. The repeated friction of the t-shirt against other items can be avoided with one simple step. Start the special treatment by turning the t-shirt inside out. This will minimize the contact that the printed area has with other items in the same load.
The temperature of the water when the t-shirt is being washed is also a factor. For an especially dirty shirt, most people want to wash it in hot water to get rid of all the dirt. This hot water, however, can contribute to the print fading before it should. Hot water is hard on clothes of any type, and printed clothes can particularly feel the effects of it. Try washing the t-shirt in cold water instead. If this isn’t enough to get the dirt out of the t-shirt, try to soak the shirt first to loosen the dirt. You might also try a pre-treatment that is rubbed into the fabric to help fight the stains. A pre-treatment will not be as hard on the t-shirt as hot water and may actually lead to the dirt coming out of the shirt more easily.
Drying clothes in a clothes dryer is one of the fastest ways to break down the print. The dryer uses heat and movement to dry the clothes. Not only will the heat start to break down the print, the fast tumbling creates a friction that can help wear it out faster. To prevent this, try tumbling the shirt without the heat setting. You might also try lying the t-shirt flat to dry or letting it drip dry instead of putting it in the dryer at all. Hanging it to dry may change the shape of the shirt, however, so many people prefer to let their t-shirt lie flat.
A printed t-shirt that is often exposed to direct sunlight will also fade faster than one that isn’t. To some extent, this can’t be helped. There will certainly be times when a t-shirt is exposed to sunlight. And normal sunlight in the course of an outing won’t fade the lettering. However, a t-shirt that is often worn to outdoor sporting events will look faded before it ordinarily would. The key for thee occasions, then, is to rotate the t-shirts that are worn to these events. Having two t-shirts for weekend baseball games, then, is a much better way to preserve the print than wearing the same one each week.