How To Care For Your Gorgeous Batman T ShirtSome of our Batman t shirts are using a sublimated photographic printing process that captures in high resolution the brilliant colors and crisp detail of the original art. If you want to preserve that stunning shirt, we offer some simple ways to keep it looking great.These suggestions will help protect any printed shirt, but are especially important for sublimated prints. If you take a close look at one of these special shirts, you'll know why some folks are so keen in protecting them. Each one of these recommendations is by itself a good idea, and all or many of them can work in concert to make sure the shirt's printed area is protected during cleaning. The most harm can come from 3 risks: heat, physical damage, and unnecessary exposure to chemicals that could react with the inks and alter the colors or cause the inks to bleed.
First, do not wash your special shirt with other clothing, which carries 2 risks to the printed surface, (1) chemical - the dyes from other clothing, and (2) physical damage - from zippers, snaps, buttons, and velcro.
Second, always turn the shirt inside out before washing. This is so simple and the benefit it provides should be obvious - the printed surface never makes contact with anything else, like the sides of the washing machine, or other clothing which may have zippers and other scrach inducers. Sometimes shirts turn inside out when taking them off and get protected by default, but it's worth taking advantage of this little trick when the preserving the print is important (it always is).
Of course, a very gentle hand washing in cold water is best. If you go this route, the whole process has to be gentle - no scrubbing and no wringing. Because of the hassle involved with hand washing, a practical alternative is to machine wash in cold water in a gentle cycle. Some perfectionists don't spin dry. Do not use a dryer. Heat can degrade the colors and damage the detail of the art by causing the inks to migrate or bleed.
Hang drying creates the least amount of stress if not in direct sunlight. Bouncing a shirt around until it dries obviously generates more wear and tear on it, so tumble dry only if you have to. A great way to remove wrinkles without ironing is to very gently stretch dry the shirt. In every step of the cleaning process, avoid two things: physical stress and heat. Remember these easily forgotten no-nos: physical stress might be a simple wringing, and damaging ultra violet rays could come in the form of sunlight.
Use only a mild non-phosphorous detergent. The phosphates are known to interact with many of the inks used in the sublimation process. Any chemicals coming in direct contact with the printed surface should be considered a risk. Detergents are the one chemical that are actually needed to clean the garment but care must be taken to use one formulated for delicate items and then use the minimal needed to produce a clean shirt. And the use of bleach of any kind is not advised. Same for any other product, like fabric softeners, fragrances, etc. Chlorine bleach is especially harmful because it reacts with the inks and in addition weakens the t shirt fabric.
Don't hang your shirt on a metal hanger, especially if wet or even damp. Metal oxide stains, like rust, can be impossible to remove. This obviously also goes for hooks or racks in which metal directly contacts your shirt. The ideal way to store your Batman t shirt is to hang it on a plastic hanger - folding is ok if it doesn't crease the printed area. Store in a cool dry environment.
Using a dry cleaning service may carry more risk than the simple instructions above. Both chemicals and heat will be applied to the shirt somewhere in the dry cleaning process, along with the stresses that accompany the tumbling and washing in dry cleaning chemicals. This may be the worst option.
Remember, heat is bad, so no ironing if heat is involved. Putting a hot iron in direct contact with a sublimated printed surface is very likely going to damage the print. If you're going to ignore this suggestion and hot iron a shirt, use the lowest heat setting and a buffer fabric so the iron never comes in direct contact with the shirt, and never in direct contact with the printed surface. But, to repeat, it's better not to use heat - get the wrinkles out by cold pressing or during drying.
One last thought - in the event that you get a really tough stain on your shirt, like blood or grape juice - act immediately to rinse gently in cold water before the stain can set. If you do this right away the chances of completely removing the stain are best. Letting a stain set for any length of time may make it permanent.
We dream of amazing, and CLEAN Batman t shirts in such great condition that they could be appraised as valuable vintage collectable memorabilia by your grandchildren.