How to Wash a T-Shirt
Cotton & Polyester
Turn your t-shirt inside out before you place it into the washing machine, to protect the fibers and colors on the outer surface of the shirt. Place the shirt into the washing machine and add laundry detergent. Adjust the settings on the washing machine to delicate, as well as to cold water. Run the wash cycle and dry your shirt appropriately once finished.
This is How to Wash a T-Shirt: Maintain Your Shirts for Longer
Welcome to our guide on how to wash your t-shirt. Below, we will teach you how to make t-shirts last longer, how to wash shirts by hand, how to wash printed shirts and the overall care you need to give during the whole process.
Using the proper methods to wash your t-shirt can help to maintain the look and feel your shirt for a much longer period of time. This will allow you to save money and enjoy your favorite shirts for longer.
Most t-shirts are made from cotton or polyester blends, which means that they must be washed in cold water to not shrink your t-shirt, damage, or melt it. Learn how to wash cotton t-shirts with our steps below.
To properly press your t-shirts, use the lowest heat setting possible on your iron before you apply it to the surface of the garment. Both cotton and polyester are non-resistant to heat, which means that an iron that is too hot could potentially do damage to your t-shirt. Learn more on polyester, read can you shrink polyester?
Use our detailed guide to learn how to wash a t-shirt properly!
How To Wash A T-Shirt
The high majority of t-shirts are light and made from either 100% cotton, a cotton blend, a polyester blend, or a cotton polyester blend. All of these fabrics should be washed in cold water to avoid shrinkage, melting, or damage to the fibers.
Machine washing is the most convenient way to wash your t-shirt, but hand washing is the most gentle way.
If you read this and decide you don’t want to chance ruining your shirt, you can take your shirt to the dry cleaners instead. These people are professionals and have dealt with 1,000,000’s of shirts. Learn how long a dry cleaner takes and how much a dry cleaner costs per t-shirt.
Find our step-by-step instructions for both machine washing as well as hand washing t-shirts, below.
1. Sort your laundry
Begin by making sure that you are washing your t-shirt together with other similar types of clothing. Sort your laundry according to texture, weight, fabric, and color.
2. Turn the t-shirt inside out
Next, turn the t-shirt inside out. Turning your shirt inside out will help to protect the garment’s outer surface as well as any printed patterns or designs
3. Add laundry detergent
Place your t-shirt into the washing machine and add the appropriate amount of laundry detergent. Check the instructions on the detergent container, and be sure to add only the recommended amount or less. Do not overpour the detergent.
4. Adjust settings
Adjust your washing machine to the delicate or gentle setting and wash with cold water. The high majority of t-shirts are made from either cotton or polyester, which means that they need to be washed in cold water in order to maintain their shape, size, and quality. Hot water will shrink the fabric.
5. Push start
Push start on the washing machine (how long does a washer take?).
6. Remove and dry
Once the cycle is completed, remove the t-shirt from the washing machine and dry it in the dryer or let air dry. Air dry your t-shirt if you are worried about it shrinking.
How to wash a t-shirt: quick tips
- Separate your t-shirts into light and dark colors to avoid color bleeding during washing.
- Before placing the t-shirt in the washing machine, turn it inside out. This helps preserve the print or design on the front.
- Select a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine to minimize wear and tear on the fabric.
- Wash the t-shirt in cold water to prevent shrinking and preserve the color vibrancy.
- Instead of using a dryer, hang the t-shirt to air dry. This method prevents excessive heat from damaging the fabric and maintains the shirt’s shape.
How To Wash A T-Shirt By Hand
Hand washing is the most gentle way to wash your t-shirt, and if you have a particularly delicate, important, or expensive t-shirt, then you may choose to hand wash instead of using the machine.
1. Fill basin with water
Fill a basin with cool to lukewarm water, no hotter than 88°F/30°C.
2. Add liquid laundry detergent
3. Turn t-shirt inside out
Turn the t-shirt inside out so the liquid detergent does not set into the fabric leaving stains on the outside of your t-shirt.
4. Submerge the t-shirt
Submerge the t-shirt in the water and allow it to soak for 3 to 5 minutes.
5. Agitate the t-shirt
Once 3 to 5 minutes has passed, use your hands to agitate the t-shirt for another 2 to 4 minutes or until the shirt has been cleaned appropriately.
6. Remove and rinse
Once completed, remove the shirt from the basin and rinse under cold water until all the soap has been removed and the water runs clear.
7. Remove excess water
Squeeze the excess water out of the shirt, or use an absorbent towel to roll the shirt.
8. Dry t-shirt
Put your t-shirt into the dryer or hang it up on a clothing line or drying rack to dry.
How to Dry a T-Shirt
If you want to maintain the look, fit, and feel of your t-shirt for a much longer period of time, then it is recommended that you air dry your shirts instead of using a dryer. Cotton as well as polyester fabric will both react negatively if they are placed into the dryer on high heat settings. Clothing made from cotton will shrink, while polyester garments will lose their fit and quality over time if dried in the dryer using tumble dry medium or tumble dry high.
If you are using the dryer to dry your t-shirt, then adjust the settings to air dry or tumble dry low before you begin and understand how long a dryer takes. If you are able to naturally dry your t-shirts without using the dryer, then hang, lay flat, dry flat, or line dry your shirts in a clean, cool place with moderate temperatures.
Avoid using the dryer to prolong the useful life of your cotton and polyester t-shirts. A dryer gets hot … how hot does a dryer get?
Air drying is a much more gentle way to dry your clothes than tumble drying is.
How to Iron a T-Shirt
When ironing your t-shirts, it is important to use the iron on low heat settings so that you don’t burn, shrink, or damage your clothes. Follow the instructions below in order to properly dry your 100% cotton, or cotton/polyester blended t-shirts.
- Turn the t-shirt inside out so that you can iron from the backside and protect the front side of the fabric.
- Lay the shirt flat on an ironing board.
- Turn the iron on and adjust to the low heat setting possible.
- For ultra delicate t-shirts you may want to use a spray bottle to add moisture to the fabric before ironing, or cover the wrinkled area with a press cloth so that you do not need to apply the iron directly to the fabric.
- Gently and smoothly slide the iron over the surface of the t-shirt.
- Continue until your t-shirt is completely wrinkle free and allow to dry.
Wash your t-shirts together with other clothing of the same texture, fabric, or color. Turn the t-shirt inside out and place it into the washing machine. Add a few drops of liquid detergent and adjust the settings to delicate and cold water. Press start to run the cycle, and dry appropriately once finished.
Use cold water to wash your shirts and use the correct laundry detergent, and there will be no risk of ruining them. The only way to ruin shirts is to wash them in hot water, or to use bleach or other inappropriate cleaners while cleaning in the washing machine.
Cotton and polyester shirts can be washed in the washing machine using the delicate and cold water settings. Turn your t-shirt inside out before placing it into the washing machine, and use gentle washing detergent.
Turn the t-shirt inside out and wash it with similar types of garments. Place the shirt into the washing machine and add a few drops of laundry detergent. Adjust the settings on the washing machine to cold water and delicate, and push start. Once the cycle is complete, take your shirt to a clean cool place to hang or lay flat to dry.