How To Pretreat Your Fabrics for DTG Printing

So, you’ve invested in a great DTG printer but your colors are still dull and lackluster. Do you need to change printers or change the way you prepare the garment for printing? DTG printing is also a cost-effective solution for smaller print runs or one-time direct to garment t-shirt printing so it was natural you invested in one. However, in order to print the most vibrant colors on t-shirts, pretreatment needs to be a part of your garment printing process. Pretreatment creates a surface for the ink to adhere to rather than being absorbed into the fabric. There are different formulations available for applying color inks to either light or dark fabric materials. The choice of the right pretreatment formulation depends on the color of the fabric and the graphics. Once the proper pretreatment is performed to the t-shirt, you need to let it dry completely before you begin the direct to garment printing process. 

Pretreatment for Direct to Garment Printing Made Easy

Check out these important DTG printing pretreatment steps:

  1. First and foremost, it’s critical that you make sure to use the right pretreatment solution for your garment choice. Dark pretreatment is used whenever you are printing white ink. Without pretreatment on a dark material, the white ink simply absorbs into the fabric, creating a washed-out version of your image. On the other hand, light pretreatment is mainly used on white fabrics. Pretreating your white t-shirts and other garments will give you stunning, vibrant colors.
  2. Once you’ve selected your type of pretreatment solution, you will need to heat the garment with a press or iron before applying the pretreatment. This step helps to reduce any excess moisture on the garment.
  3. Test your spray range before you start the pretreatment process. Testing your range gets the best fabric coverage without drenching the garment. Pro Tip: Spray from side to side in a downwards motion. 
  4. When it is time to finish the pretreatment process, hover the heat press over the pretreated area for 10-15 seconds. It is important that you do not press it to the garment. 
  5. Get printing!

Direct to Garment T-Shirt Printing and Beyond

Pretreatment is the foundation of superior DTG printing results. The process prevents the fading of ink colors as it acts like a primer to the colors that are being used. Since pretreatment essentially acts as a “glue-type” structure that protects colors and binds the ink to the t-shirt, pretreatment is an essential step in helping the color remain on a shirt for a long period of time. Direct to garment printing produces high-quality designs that are long-lasting on t-shirts and other types of clothing. The use of pretreatment prevents the early fading of inks and ensures they are vibrant and visible for the life of the garment. 

Contact us for more information about streamlining the DTG design cycle and proper ink choices.

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