We get this question all the time from our customers, and while we do not pretend to be Susie/Stanley Homemaker, we do know a thing or two about how to care for custom apparel after being in this business for nearly a few years now!
Of course the quality of the shirt or other apparel item is very important to it's wearability over time and that's why our custom apparel items are sourced from some of the best manufacturers in the business such as Pennant, Augusta, Gildan, and Adidas to name just a few! (Don't you just hate it when you get a new t-shirt and then take it out of the dryer after the first wash and find that it will only fit your daughter's stuffed teddy bear?) There really is an art to washing (and drying) custom printed apparel and we have a few tips to share!
First, always use cold water. There's really no reason to wash clothes in hot water unless you're a hospital or a hotel laundering sheets and towels. Cold water will get your clothes clean and it's certainly gentler on the fabric.
Second, don't use bleach or other strong detergent products. Like using hot water, there's no good reason to use harsh cleaning products on your clothes. Use a stain remover on spots but try to stay away from bleach all together. You don't have to use Woolite but use a mild detergent on your clothes.
Third, turn your clothes inside out before you wash and dry them. Most people already do this with t-shirts and jeans, but all of your clothes will benefit from the inside out maneuver to prevent fading and to protect printing and embellishments.
Fourth, do not put your clothes in a hot dryer. We cannot stress enough this point about hot air and your clothes. Never set the dryer on its highest heat settings when you want to dry clothes (towels don't mind being cooked in the dryer!), and always remove them from the dryer before they are completely dry to hang up or lay out to finish drying. High heat is probably the worst enemy of custom printed apparel (and most clothes).
Fifth, wash similar clothes together and we're not just talking about colors! We all have had the occasional "pink" socks, t-shirts, and underwear due to an errant red clothing item sneaking into the white wash, but color separation is not the real issue. You want a load of wash to have similarly textured clothes to limit the amount of rubbing each item receives. Fabric rubbing is a quick way to create pills (even if you have a cloth shaver it's a pain to have to use it!), and custom printed items could crack and peel from too much friction. Just imagine rubbing a piece of sandpaper on your skin. That’s how a t-shirt feels when it’s washed with towels.
Yes we really are writing about how to do laundry but we are because it is important to take good care of your clothes and especially your favorite custom printed apparel.