Graphic Tee Care: Washing Tips To Preserve Your Prints

Taking care of your graphic tees is essential to make sure they maintain their vibrant colors and eye-catching prints wash after wash. 

At Steel City, we understand the value of quality tees that last — which is why we're dedicated to providing not only stylish designs but also guidance on how to care for them properly. 

Let’s take a look at some of the dos and don'ts of washing your graphic tees to help you prolong their lifespan. From understanding fabric types to choosing the right washing methods, we've got you covered.

What Should You Know About Graphic Tee Fabrics?

When it comes to graphic tees, not all fabrics are created equal. Understanding the composition of your tee's fabric is crucial for determining the best washing and care practices. Most graphic tees are made from cotton or polyester blends, each with its own set of characteristics and requirements. 

Cotton tees are breathable and soft, but they may shrink if not washed properly. On the other hand, polyester blends offer durability and stretch but require special attention to prevent pilling and fading. Regardless of the fabric type, always check the care label for specific instructions tailored to your tee.

What Are Some Washing Dos and Don'ts for Graphic Tees?

Proper washing techniques can make all the difference in preserving your graphic tee prints. Here are some dos and don'ts to keep in mind:


When it comes to best practices, try these steps:

  1. Wash Inside Out: Turning your tee inside out before washing helps protect the prints from friction and abrasion during the washing cycle.
  2. Use Cold Water: Cold water is gentler on fabrics and helps prevent colors from fading or bleeding onto other garments.
  3. Use a Gentle Detergent: Opt for a mild detergent specifically formulated for delicate fabrics to avoid damaging the prints or causing them to peel.


To keep your graphic tees in mint condition, avoid the following:

  1. Hot Water: Hot water can cause colors to fade and may shrink cotton tees. Stick to cold or lukewarm water for best results.
  2. Bleach: Bleach can weaken the fibers of your tee and cause the prints to deteriorate. Avoid bleach entirely when washing graphic tees.
  3. Dryers: High heat from the dryer can warp prints and cause them to crack over time. Instead, opt for air-drying your graphic tees to preserve their quality and longevity.

These simple guidelines can keep your graphic tees looking fresh and vibrant for years to come.

Is Hand Washing or Machine Washing Better for Graphic Tees?

When it comes to washing your graphic tees, you have two primary options: hand washing or machine washing. Each method has its own set of pros and cons to consider.

Hand Washing

Hand washing your graphic tees allows for more control over the washing process and minimizes the risk of damaging prints or fabric. Just fill a basin with cold water and a small amount of gentle detergent. 

Gently swirl the water to create suds, then dunk the tee and gently massage it to remove dirt and grime. Rinse with cold water and gently squeeze out any excess water before air drying.

Machine Washing

Machine washing is convenient and efficient, but it's best to take precautions to avoid damaging your graphic tees. 

Always wash your tees on a gentle cycle with cold water to minimize friction and prevent colors from fading. Also, turn your tees inside out before washing to protect the prints. Don’t overload the washing machine to allow your tees to move freely during the cycle. Once washed, remove your tees and air-dry them to maintain their quality.

What Are Some Drying and Ironing Tips for Graphic Tees?

Proper drying and ironing techniques are crucial for preserving the quality of your graphic tees and preventing damage to prints.


Air-drying is the gentlest method for drying graphic tees and helps prevent shrinkage and distortion of prints. Simply lay your tees flat on a clean towel or drying rack in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight. 

Try not to hang your tees by the shoulders, as this can cause stretching. Let your tees air-dry completely before storing or wearing them.

Alternatives to Air-Drying

If there isn’t time to air-dry, you can use a drying rack or hanger to speed up the drying process. Avoid using a dryer, as the heat can warp prints and cause them to crack over time. If using a drying rack, make sure your tees are laid flat to maintain their shape and prevent stretching.

Ironing Guidelines

If your graphic tees are wrinkled after washing, you can gently iron them to smooth out creases. However, it's essential to iron your tees inside out on a low-heat setting to avoid damaging the prints. 

Use a pressing cloth or parchment paper between the iron and the tee to protect the prints from direct heat. Don’t iron directly over the prints – this can cause them to melt or peel.

How To Store Graphic Tees

Proper storage is key to maintaining the quality of your graphic tees between wears. Follow these recommendations to keep your tees in top condition:

  • Folding Techniques: Fold your graphic tees neatly to avoid creasing the prints. Lay them flat, fold the sleeves inwards, and then fold your shirts in half or thirds, depending on the size of the tee.
  • Storing: Store your graphic tees in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid hanging them for long periods, as this can cause stretching and distortion of prints.
  • Organizing: Rotate your graphic tees regularly to prevent excessive wear on specific tees. This helps distribute wear and maintains the condition of your entire collection.

What Are Some Common Issues With Graphic Tees?

Despite your best efforts, you may encounter some common issues with your graphic tees. Here's how to troubleshoot and resolve them:

  • Color Bleeding: If your tee's colors bleed during washing, try washing it separately or with similar colors in cold water to prevent further bleeding. Avoid using bleach, as this can exacerbate the issue.
  • Print Cracking: To prevent print cracking, avoid exposing your graphic tees to high heat during washing and drying. Turn your tees inside out before ironing, and use a low heat setting.

If you have questions about caring for your graphic tees, don't hesitate to reach out to Steel City's customer support team for assistance. 

Keep Your Tees in Tip-Top Shape

By following these storage recommendations and troubleshooting tips, you can prolong the lifespan of your graphic tees and continue to enjoy them for years to come.


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