DTG printing is common widely used in the texture market, and it is easy for the green hand to start a one-off printing business. The whole printing process is simple, and only one person can print the garments in a few minutes, which is quite efficient and convenient low-cost printing. You may ask why not use the screen printing? Screen printing has a lot of setup and breakdown involved. To overcome the cost of creating screens and then setting up those screens on the press, screen printers need to mass production to make the job profitable. Different from screen printing, DTG printing is easy to finish some small quantities orders. Do you know that in DTG digital printing, we have a special step? That is, before printing, Spray the pretreatment liquid onto the garment material. The concept is easy to understand. For example, drywall is primed with primer before painting because the primer allows the colored paint to stay on top of the drywall and not soak in. If the paint soaks into the drywall, the color selected will be blurring.
The same applies to the pretreatment of the DTG shirt. The pretreatment allows the white ink to adhere to and sit on top of the shirt. If the white ink soaked into the shirt, it wouldn’t be white – more of a grey, and not give a smooth surface for the CMYK inks to print on, resulting in a really bad looking, unsellable shirt.
Let’s get to know the component of this pre-treatment liquid first. The pre-treatment liquid is a kind of transparent or milky liquid, mixed with water to use, while some not needed. Due to its small molecular weight, it is easy to enter into the fiber, and it can modify the surface and the interior of the fiber uniformly and adsorb on the fiber through physical action. It can prevent ink and Pigment Molecules from penetrating into the fabric, leaving the color to cling to the surface of the cured layer. And then the colors look really vibrant.
How to use the Right DTG Pretreatment?
It’s very common for new DTG users to be confused about whether to use light pretreatment or dark pretreatment. With a light pink shirt, you would us light pretreat, right? In most cases no – but it does also depend on the color of the image you are printing.
There is a very simple rule to remember: If you are printing any white ink you have to use dark pretreatment no matter the color of the shirt. In a way it should be called “White Ink” pretreatment but then it would get confused with white shirts. Let’s take a look at when, why, and how to use Light and Dark pretreatment.
By pretreating a white shirt with light pretreat you will see a giant difference compared to no pretreatment. The colors will be much more vibrant and darker colors more solid and rich. You will also notice a higher quality of detail and no blurring pattern. The pretreatment will also act as a bonding agent when heat pressed and increase the washability.
Light garment pretreatment is on white t-shirts or white material. Let’s begin with some history and understanding about printing on white shirts using DTG printers. Something you may not already know is that you do not really need to pretreat a white shirt. You will still get a relatively perfect print without pretreatment and some companies even use this as a selling point. Any machine can finish this. However, you should see the difference between the two shirts, which one is pretreated and the other is not. And you will get to know the importance of pretreatment.
When to use dark pretreatment?
Take notice: The factor is not the color of the shirt but the colors in the graphic you are printing.
By now you should be very clear that Dark Pretreatment is used whenever you are printing white ink. Dark pretreatment is a different formula than light and performs a few more tasks. The first job of dark pretreat is to create a surface that white ink can be printed onto. Without pretreat, white ink would absorb into the fabric, as pouring milk onto a t-shirt and that would be similar. When printed the white ink lands onto the shirt and starts to gel up when in contact with the pretreatment. This stops the ink from staying wet and forming puddles giving the color ink a surface to print on and not bleed or mix.
In summary, light pretreat is really only for white garments and dark pretreat is for any time you print white ink regardless of garment color. One last point I would like to make is always using the brand of pretreatment that matches the brand of ink you are using. This is the only way to guarantee quality prints and good wash results. Purchasing inks and pretreatments from the manufacturer of your printer will also guarantee that the product is a 100% real branded formula. This will become very important to the longevity of your printer and your product. After reading the article, have you had an inkling of the DTG pretreatment?