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7 Tips for Washing Shirts with HTV

7 Tips for Washing Shirts with HTV

When working with HTV, one of the most frequently asked questions we see is “how you wash a shirt with heat transfer vinyl?”. Making sure that you or your customers are properly laundering your htv products is an easy way to make the shirts last.


When you are selling craft vinyl products, it’s important to provide your customers with a flyer, tag, or another source of information that tells them how to care for their products. After all, you want to make sure you are supplying your customers with a quality product, but they also have to take care of the product properly in order for it to last.


Download a free printable tag that you can cut out with your CriCut or Silhouette here


Happy Crafters has a few tips for you on the guidelines for washing, drying, and caring for your shirts or bags that have been made with htv.



  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

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