Iron on transfers is used to transfer a whole host of ‘messages’ onto fabrics, most commonly t-shirts. These ‘messages’ include pictures as well as printed text often in conjunction. The transfer process onto the fabric is done using an iron or heat press machine and lifespan of the print can vary depending on the quality of the transfer media and the method in which it was applied onto the fabric. Here are a number of tips designed to improve the longevity of the transfer.

Making your own design – If you decided to take the route of making your own design as opposed to buying a ready-made t-shirt, you can improve the lifespan immensely by following the instructions to the letter. The heat of the iron and the duration in which it is applied when ironing the print plays a major rule in the durability of the print on the fabric. A heat of at least 190 degrees for at least 5 minutes and strong pressure on a solid worktop (not an ironing board!) will ensure long lasting results. Be sure to iron all the surface area of the print.

Washing the fabric – Sadly, a quick way to shorten the potential durability is to wash the fabric in the wrong manner. This is applicable whether you have bought a ready-made iron on transfers or decided to design one on your own.  Correct washing tips include:

  • Turn the t-shirt inside out so that the print does not rub against the machine or other garments
  • Select a mild program of 30 to 40 degree cotton or fast wash with a full cycle
  • A full spin is necessary to ensure that the fabric does not remain socked in water
  • Do not use washing detergent which contains large amounts of bleach (which should not be used anyway on colour garments)
  • When ironing never iron on the print itself, always turn inside out

Improve the image – After some washes, the print might seem slightly faded and can be fixed quickly. The process involves ironing the print using the reusable silicon sheet that came with the pack. Simply place the silicon sheet over the print and iron completely. Lift the silicon sheet and that is it. It will improve the look of the print as well as improve the lifespan. If you don’t have the silicon sheet any more, any baking paper from your nearest supermarket will do the job as good.

Alternatively, if you have discarded the silicon sheet, you may use normal printer paper (not photo paper!) in the same manner. However, you must ensure that the iron is hot and that the paper is still very hot when it is lifted so peel the paper immediately with no delays.

Iron on transfers can last for an amazingly long time. Simply follow the tips above to improve their lifespan.