Images_December_2019_Digital Edition 28 images DECEMBER 2019 Margareta Fuchs and Everson Scheurich of DTG Merch explain how to wash test your DTG prints What influences washability? There are numerous external and internal factors that can influence washability: ■ The garments Washfastness can vary between different types of garments. T-shirts may have different fabrication, thickness and surface characteristics, all of which can influence washability. ■ Inks There can be huge differences between inks and all of them need to be cured within the proper parameters. ■ The process The typical DTG process consists of three steps: pre-treatment, printing and curing. ■ Equipment The type of equipment you use, along with whether you spray too much or too little pre-treatment, can have a huge effect on the printed colours as well as the washability of the print. Additionally, all your print settings – especially the amount of ink you lay down – may require you to fine-tune your settings for curing. ■ Curing This is the final part of the process where you ‘bake’ the ink into the garment. This is usually done in a tunnel dryer, on a heat press or using a combination of both. Selecting the correct temperature and applying heat for the appropriate amount of time is essential for best quality results, otherwise the ink may not adhere to the garment sufficiently. ■ Washing Another factor that can influence washability is how (and how often) the end user washes their garments. What equipment do you need to do a wash test? You’ll need a washing machine and a dryer. If you don’t own a dryer, you can also hang dry your garment. If this is the case, wash the garments a few more times before evaluating the results. This is because a dryer exposes your clothes to more wear and tear, which influences the final result. (However, If most of your customers are likely to be using a dryer, then it is worth also using a dryer in your testing.) While you can use any image you want for wash testing, we recommend adding some solid blocks of colour to make the results easier to compare. Remember to keep one unwashed, printed T-shirt aside as this will be your control sample. F laking inks and fading colours are a nightmare for any print provider, but especially for DTG printers. The good news is that this is often preventable by simply fine-tuning your process, and a simple wash test is an easy way to keep an eye on your output. What’s more, wash testing not only can help you to avoid rejects, it is also an excellent tool for helping you to adjust the settings in the print process to get higher quality results. The wash test outlined below doesn’t resemble any of the numerous official wash test standards, but it will give you many valuable insights into the process. Everson Scheurich and Margareta Fuchs