Can You Tumble Dry Shirts With Prints? (is it safe or will it damage it)

There are so many printed T-shirts available now, all made by different companies. If you’re reading this article then you want to look after that special shirt with its printed design.

To keep your printed shirt looking at its best, it should be kept out of the tumble dryer.

Tumble drying could;

  • Shrink Your Shirt
  • Damage The Printed Design
  • Stretch Your Shirt
  • Cause The Shirt To Age Prematurely

If you really must use a dryer, it should be set at the no or low heat setting to limit any damage to the shirt.

What The Tumble Dryer Symbols Mean On Shirts With Prints

Tumble Dryer Symbols On Clothes

There are 6 symbols used on wash care labels in the UK that relate to tumble dryers.

Not all of these symbols will be relevant to printed shirts but we have included them all for your future reference.

Square With White CircleYou can tumble dry
Square With White Circle, One Black Dot In CircleYou can dry on a low heat setting
Square With White Circle, Two Black Dots In CircleYou can dry on a medium heat setting
Square With White Circle, Three Black Dots In CircleYou can dry on a high heat setting
Square With Black CircleYou can dry with no heat
Square With White Circle And A Black X On TopDo not tumble dry

How To Dry Printed Shirts Without A Tumble Dryer

Although many printed shirts will say that it’s OK to tumble dry, it’s not really great for the fabric or the print to be exposed to high heat or the rough action of the tumble dryer.

The best way to dry printed shirts is to air dry them and we have found the following to be the best ways to dry your shirts with prints. You can;

Use A Washing Line To Air Dry Your Printed Shirts

Using a washing line, rotary clothesline or retractable clothesline to air dry your printed shirts is the best way to get them dry.

You should never use clothes pegs to hang your shirts on the line. It is far better to put the shirt on a hanger and secure the hanger to the line.

This helps the shirt to keep its shape and allows it to dry without any marks from the pegs.

Turn your shirt inside out to dry so that the print is protected from the sun’s harmful rays.

SEE ALSO: Our Top Retractable Washing Lines For UK Homes

Using A Clothes Horse (Airer) To Dry Your Shirts With Prints

Clothes airers are great because they’re so versatile. They can be set up out in the fresh air, or indoors on cold, wet days.

You can either lay your printed shirts flat on the racks of the airer or put your shirts on hangers and suspend the hangers from the bars of the airer.

If you use the airer indoors it should be set up in a well ventilated room away from any heat source and out of direct sunlight.

Getting Shirts Dry Quicker Using An Electric Fan

When drying your printed shirts indoors you can decrease the time it takes to dry them by placing an electric fan in the same room.

Ensure there is a window open to allow a steady airflow and you will seriously reduce the drying time of your shirts.

For our recommendations on the best bladeless fans you can get today, check out this page.

Dehumidifiers Help Dry Shirts With Prints Faster

By placing a good dehumidifier in the same room as your drying printed shirts you can reduce the drying time significantly.

Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the room which allows your shirts to dry faster.

What Happens If You Tumble Dry Shirts With Prints?

Always check the wash care labels

It is recommended that you air dry your printed shirts and even if the care label says it’s OK to tumble dry them on a low heat you can still cause them damage.

If you tumble dry your shirts with prints you can expect;

The Print To Degrade

Subjecting the print on a shirt to high temperatures will cause it to become damaged. It can disappear in places or fade considerably, or the design gets ruined by the heat.

The Shirt Can Shrink

As printed shirts can be made from blends of many materials, they are liable to shrink if tumble dried.

This shrinkage is often irreversible and would mean the shirt is no longer wearable.

The Shirt Can Stretch

Some materials will become stretched if they are heated and pulled about. Which is exactly what happens in a tumble dryer.

If you want to keep your shirt fitting you comfortably, it should not be tumble dried.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to put shirts with prints in a tumble dryer?

You will need to check the wash care label because shirts with prints are made from many different fabrics. As a general rule it is not safe to subject printed shirts to high heats or rough tumbling action. This means that generally, it is not safe to tumble dry printed shirts.

How do you dry a shirt without ruining the design?

The best way to dry a shirt without ruining the design is to air dry it. This can be done on a washing line, rotary line or retractable clothesline or on a clothes horse (airer).

How can I dry shirts with prints without a tumble dryer?

Without using a tumble dryer, you can dry your shirts with prints on a clothesline or on an airer.

How long do printed T-shirts last?

Generally, printed T-shirts last for around 40 to 50 washes before the design begins to fade.

How many times can screen printed t-shirts be washed before the design fades?

As a general rule, screen printed t-shirts can be washed around 40-50 times before the design fades. Less if you use a tumble dryer.

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