Last week, I was asked to assist someone in finding out why his DTG T-shirt ink had cracked. They assumed it was because of the clothes. I’ve never seen a shirt that causes the ink to fracture on its own. Cracking can always be solved with ink.
DTG T-shirt Ink cracking: What Causes It?
1)A moisture-wicking coating could be applied to the clothing.
2)There was too much pretreatment
3)The ink is not cured properly
Moisture-wicking — If moisture-wicking components have been applied to the garment, water-based pigment inks, such as those used in Direct to Garment, DTG T-shirt printing, will not adhere as expected.
Moisture in the clothing evaporates, causing it to chill. This is one of the most typical causes of ink failure. It’s difficult to notice because the moisture in the garment can’t be seen or felt, and no shop I’ve ever seen has devices to measure it. It’s a regular problem with shirts that arrive in rainy trucks, sit in damp warehouses, or are garment dyed (which can leave moisture in the shirt.) Thick shirts, especially canvas, are more prone to absorbing moisture. Dryers with insufficient air flow exacerbate moisture issues.
Application of Pretreatment – Using too much pretreatment reduces bonding between the fabric, pretreatment, and ink, resulting in poor washability.
Cure Temperature – Curing ink is similar to cooking; if the temperature is too low or the time is too short, the job isn’t done. It will burn if exposed to too much heat or for too long. Both of these can cause major wash concerns in printing. In the wash, under-cured ink will tend to stick to itself and peel or fall off completely. Ink that has been over-cured is likely to fracture.
Still having problems with your wash test?
We’ll be talking about DTG T-shirt white ink on dark clothing in this article. The ideal curing temperature is 330 degrees Fahrenheit. The chemical reaction required to cure the ink and achieve adequate bonding does not occur if this temperature is not maintained for the required time period.
Check Heat Press Precision
If your dark shirts prints are washing out after one (or a few) washes, the first thing you should do is check your heat press for precise platen temperature. Although the LCD indication may read 330 degrees, you can double-check its accuracy with a digital infrared thermometer. Adjust the thermometer if it is reading too low or too high.
Teflon Covers & Parchment Sheets
The type of cover sheet on your press could also be a factor in poor wash outcomes.
For example, parchment paper and Kraft paper may alter the fabric surface temperature by a few degrees, but this is insignificant compared to the curing temperature required for success. Teflon sheets and platen coverings, on the other hand, can prevent up to 30-40 degrees from reaching the garment/ink surface, affecting the wash outcome significantly.
Check your heat press or reconsider any changes and alterations you may have made, like as a new top Teflon platen cover, if washability of dark items has lately become a concern. These minor adjustments can have a significant impact on your wash test results and shirt life.