Preparing DTG Garments to be Washed and Worn

Terry Combs is a 35+ year veteran of the garment printing industry and has managed production shops large and small across the United States. His is currently in sales and training with Equipment Zone. Keep up with Terry's blog posts, speaking engagements, and other resources on his website:

After printing is complete, the ink needs to be heat set for wash-ability. You can use a conveyor dryer (screen print dryer) or a heat press. Nearly all decorators use the heat press as they can place it right by the printer. Cure times vary, but most manufacturers recommend about 330 F for the curing temperature.

When using a heat press to dry pretreat, use heavy pressure for about 20-30 seconds until the shirt is dry. You cannot print on a damp shirt without ill effect. When curing a printed shirt, you will use light pressure so as not to mix the white and color ink together for a dull finish.

You want to use a silicone-coated parchment paper to protect the heating element from a buildup on pretreat or ink. You don’t want to use the Teflon sheet that came with your heat press. Teflon holds in the moisture, which impacts your ability to cure a water-based ink.

—Terry Combs, Equipment Zone

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