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How Long Do DTG Printed T-Shirts Last In The Wash?

Last Updated: Thursday 20th November 2014

How long does a DTG digitally printed t-shirts last in the wash before it begins to deteriorate.

The answer depends on a few factors.

  1. The colour of the T-Shirt that has the print on it.
  2. How you care for the t-shirt when its being washed
  3. How the t-shirts is hung to dry.


In the next few paragraphs we will discuss these things in more detail, and give you a couple of links to get more information to help you get the best out of your printed t-shirt.

White or Light colours printed with NO white under-base.

This is the most durable combination with DTG printing. Coloured water based ink printed directly onto white or light coloured garments produces a very durable result. Just a durable as screen printed water-based inks.

White t-shirts printed with this method should last at least 30-40 washes before fading even begins, after this time the t-shirt itself will start to look a little worn and both the print and the t-shirt will fade together from this point on.

This print method could last as long as the t-shirt, if care is taken.

A major part of keeping your t-shirt in good condition will depend on how you wash your garment.

See: How to wash your t-shirt Blog post.

T-shirts printed with DTG should be washed inside out and hung inside out after washing as the sun will defiantly fade your T-shirt. This is critical to the long life of any printed t-shirt.

Dark or Black t-shirt that have white or a white under base

This is where DTG is a little less durable, when compared with screen printing.

A White ink layer is needed underneath printed colours, so the colours stand out against the dark backgrounds.

This white ink is thin and very liquid so it is able to pass though the print heads and needs pre-treatment on the garment to make this ink become thick and vibrant again.

A bad combination of white ink, pre-treatment, and chemicals in the garment can result in the white ink not bonding with the t-shirt in a durable manner.

In saying this, DTG is still an acceptably durable method, but screen printing is highly recommend in cases of hard wearing work wear, and items that are intended to be washed on a daily basis.

T-shirts that are printed with white ink or if white ink is used as an under base, need a little more care with the washing cycle.

T-shirts printed with white ink should last up to 20-30 washes before showing any visible signs of fading. This can be extended with care during the washing, by using a gentle wash cycle.

If no care is taken during the washing process, the life cycle can be reduced to 10 to 15 washes before fading and deterioration of the print begins.

In Conclusion

In summery, how you wash and care for your t-shirt plays an important role in the length of time you get to spend with you awesomely printed t-shirt.

See: How to wash your t-shirt Blog post.

All DTG digital printed t-shirts from T-shirt Printing Australia come with Washing and Care instruction so you get the maximum life out of your garment.


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