Tips for Washing Heat Transfer Vinyl
Here are a few tips for washing, drying, and caring for your shirts or bags that have been made with htv.
- Let your vinyl sit without washing for at least 24 hours. HTV needs time to cure. The adhesive on heat transfer vinyl is activated by heat. This heat allows the adhesive to sink down into the fibers of your shirts, bags, pants, etc. After application, the adhesive needs time to harden and cool without interruption. If you take that shirt and immediately throw it into the washer and dryer, there’s a good chance the vinyl could peel or crack.
- Do not dry clean. HTV should never be dry cleaned. The harsh temperature and chemicals that are used during dry clean just do not mix well with HTV. This typically isn’t something you have to worry about unless you are applying heat transfer vinyl to work uniforms or something similar.
- Wash and dry garments inside out. By turning the shirts, pillowcases, etc inside out, you’re giving the vinyl a layer of protection during the wash. While washing and drying clothes, they’re rubbing up against each other and that abrasion during washing can cause your vinyl to peel prematurely.
- Choose cold or warm water temperature settings for the wash. When washing shirts that have htv on them, you don’t want your water temperature to exceed 178 degrees Fahrenheit. High temperatures can weaken the adhesive on the vinyl which can cause the vinyl to peel or crack.
- Use mild detergent. Detergents that are “green” can be too harsh for the adhesive on htv. You should also avoid bleach and fabric softeners in order to make the vinyl last as long as possible.
- Dry on a low/tumble setting or hang dry. Just like when washing, you won’t want to dry your htv shirts on high heat. If you stick with tumble dry or low heat, you should be good to go. If possible, you can hang dry your htv garments for best results. Hang drying will minimize any wrinkles you see in htv after washing.
- Do not iron directly on a heat transfer design. Just like you never iron directly to the vinyl when applying, you won’t ever want to do that after laundering. The high heat on the vinyl will melt the vinyl and or burn the adhesive. Regardless, ironing directly on vinyl is a great way to ruin a shirt. If you must iron the shirt, make sure to use low heat and place a dish towel or cloth over the transfer.