Clear cast printable vinyl is the perfect way to get crafty with your clothes, but one of the most common concerns crafters have is: Does printable vinyl wash off? 

The simple answer is no–because printable vinyl has permanent adhesive, it can stand up to washing well. However, there is a proper way to wash and care for your garment to extend its lifespan and keep your design looking fresh and new. 

Below, we’ve compiled handy tips on how to properly wash, dry, and care for your printable vinyl shirts. 

How to Properly Wash Printable Vinyl Shirts

  1. Do Not Wash Immediately 

Printable heat transfer vinyl needs time to cure, so let your vinyl sit for at least twenty-four hours after printing without washing it. 

The adhesive on heat transfer vinyl is activated by heat, and it needs time to cool and harden properly after application. If you throw your shirt into the washer or dryer immediately after printing, the adhesive will not have dried properly, and your vinyl design could crack or wrinkle. 

  1. Wash and Dry Inside Out 

Turn all your printable vinyl clothes inside out when washing or drying. This gives the print an extra layer of protection during the wash. Otherwise, your vinyl design could peel prematurely when clothes rub against each other in the washer. 

  1. Do Not Dry Clean 

You should never dry clean any clothes with printable heat transfer vinyl designs. Dry cleaners use high temperatures and harsh detergents when cleaning, which can cause your design to fade or lose color quickly. 

  1. Use Mild Detergent 

Avoid using harsh detergents and bleach when washing printable vinyl clothes. Detergents labeled “green” are typically too harsh for the adhesive in heat-transfer vinyl. Stick to mild, effective detergents, and try avoiding fabric softener. 

  1. Hang Dry or Dry on a Low Setting

The best way to dry your vinyl shirts is to hang dry them on a line or use a clothes hanger–this will keep your design intact and also remove wrinkles while drying. If you wish to use a dryer for the convenience, use only the low or tumble dry setting.  

  1. Choose Cold to Lukewarm Water 

When washing shirts with printable heat-transfer vinyl, make sure you use only cold to lukewarm water, and don’t exceed temperatures of 178 degrees Fahrenheit. Washing with hot water can weaken the adhesive in the vinyl, causing it to peel or wash off completely. 

  1. Do Not Iron Directly on the Design 

Just like you should never iron directly on the vinyl while applying, avoid ironing on the vinyl even after it’s been applied. The high heat on the iron can burn the adhesive or melt the vinyl, or the design can peel off and stick to your iron. 

If you must iron the shirt, turn it inside out and iron with low heat. You can also place another cloth or protective sheet over the design to avoid direct contact. 

Is Printable Vinyl Waterproof? 

Yes–the adhesive in printable vinyl is water-resistant and waterproof, making printable vinyl shirts suitable for indoor and outdoor use in all weather conditions. 



How Many Washes Does Printable Vinyl Last?

With proper care of your garment, printed vinyl lasts up to fifty washes, after which it can begin showing signs of wear and tear, such as chipping or peeling.  

How well the vinyl design stands up to washing also depends on the quality of the vinyl and the garment of your shirt. However, printable vinyl is designed to be durable, and as long as you care for it the right way, you can wear your artsy shirts for years to come!

Wondering how best to print on vinyl sticker paper? Be sure to read our latest article!