8 Ways to Wash Your Graphic Tees

8 Ways to Wash Your Graphic Tees

Have you ever worn a t-shirt that loses its integrity after being washed? You’re not alone. Most graphic tees experience this same problem, which can be frustrating if you like your shirts to maintain their vibrancy. Washing graphic tees is not as simple as putting them in the washing machine and turning it on. Your favorite t-shirt may not be so favorite after being washed incorrectly. Our fine quality graphic tees are made to last, but the question arises: What are the best ways to clean these graphic tees?

1. Read the Instructions

Our brains love that because not only does it save a ton of time for our tiny little brains, but it saves energy as well because energy is always at a premium. Unfortunately, there are times when you need to get out of the “assumptions box” and use your eyes instead. And I think wearing an extremely comfortable t-shirt falls under that must-use-the-eyes category. If you really want to find out what awesome things your shirt can do, you need to read the darn care label and use your eyes to look for the wash settings (such as cold water and whatnot).

2. Wash it Separately

If you love graphic t-shirts, you know just how comfortable it feels to wear one. You also know that washing them in your washer tends to fade or remove the print on them. Don’t throw your graphic tees in the washer with the rest of your clothing. Hand wash them separately... If you have ever washed a graphic tee in the washing machine, you may have noticed how quickly it loses its bright colors and becomes faded or completely blank.

3. Avoid Using an Iron

Keeping your shirts looking new for as long as possible may seem like a difficult task, but this guide should help you determine the best way to wash and dry those beloved graphic tees. If you have a graphic t-shirt, you’re probably really attached to it. One of the most common mistakes in caring for these types of shirts is using a clothing iron on them. Using an iron can significantly dull graphics on clothing over time and applying heat and friction in this way impacts the longevity and quality of the graphic on your shirt.

4. Use Cold Water

So you got a cool graphic tee that you really love, but often wonder how to wash graphic tees without it ending up like an old rag? Hot water is the downfall of many a great graphic tee. Hot and warm water can damage the application and crack or fade your colors. Using cold water will prevent any rapid damage to your shirt as well as significantly extend its lifespan. Also, remember that the Earth will thank you for turning off the hot water (and save on those energy bills). Cold water should be used for all light colors and white toned shirts.

5. Avoid Using a Dryer

Ok, so graphic tees can be great. They come in awesome colors, have cute graphics and make you feel kinda badass. And we almost always wear them with jeans or shorts because, well, that’s where they look best! So, how do you wash them? While fabric softener may keep your clothes feeling nice and smelling fresh, it can actually ruin your graphic tees. Ok, so graphic tees can be great. So, how do you wash them? While fabric softener may keep your clothes feeling nice and smelling fresh, it can actually ruin your graphic tees. Also, using a dryer to dry your tee might not be a good idea.

6. Wash it Inside

Hey ya’ll. I’ve spent a lot of time on the Internet looking at graphic tees and there are a few I like to wear over and over. But sometimes what I want isn’t in stock anymore – or it was never really there to begin with. Being an active vintage lover, this is where I get all my graphic tees from: thrift stores. Oh graphic tees, we love them but we really hate you. So many of us are guilty of a drunken night downed with a graphic tee. And even though most of us do not wear these shirts more than a couple times, they get dirty and then stay dirty. Here is how to wash your graphic tees so they are always ready to party. And that is why you need to wash your vintage tee inside out.

7. Avoid Tumble Drying

Did you know tumble drying can be harmful to your t-shirt? The heat from the tumble dryer can damage elements of your design, particularly if there is a lot of shading. It can also reduce the life expectancy of your t-shirt. Please also be aware that high heat shrinks cotton fibres. We recommend you hang it out to dry naturally instead, out of direct sunlight and turned inside out. Line dried t-shirts smell better too. In direct sunlight the heat may fade your graphic t-shirt so please line dry to prolong the quality and longevity of your design or instead pop it in the washing machine on a low temperature.

8. Use the Proper Detergent

Do graphic tees need special washing instructions? It’s often mentioned in the product descriptions for cheap t-shirts that you shouldn't use it for machine washing. I'm here to tell you how to properly wash your t-shirt and why using high quality detergent is the key to a long lasting tee shirt. A bit of advice for you, graphic tee owners – if you want your t-shirt to last, you should probably use a proper detergent when you wash it. Don’t just use whatever you’ve got in the door.


But the truth of the matter is, the graphic on your clothing is truly doomed, especially on already worn-down vintage clothing. Clothes do need to be cleaned and laundered regularly, and it can be done in a way to help preserve the garment. After years in the tee shirt biz, we at Artist Tees are experienced pros when it comes to cleanliness and quality. Now, some of our best tips have been compiled here for all things how to wash graphic tees, including care instructions and rules for washing them in cold water.

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