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DTG vs screens longevity

6402 Views 7 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  dmfelder
besides the obvious benifits of DTG vs the original way of silk screen , does the product last as long
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We have had our printer two years so our oldest prints are two years old. The last screen print we did was around the same time. The biggest difference between the two is that the direct to garment print shows a bit more of a fuzzy look to it compared to the screen print which is still smooth ( ink sitting on top of the shirt) but has developed some cracks and flaws. Both are still in the wearable and not worn out looking stage.

The sample print I have that was not printed by us with white ink is very cracked and looks far worse than the dtg on white or the screen print- but it may have been a poorly printed sample.

Hope that helps.
Hard to say on that because depends how it is washed
I would say thought that silkscreen does last longer because i got a Biohazard shirt(metal band) from early 90's and still in good condition after million washes

Silkscreen doesn't really fade over washes but it crack
DTG really don't fade but fibers raise, making the image look dull.
There is alot of variables to consider when asking this question but DTG should last 20 to 30 washes factoring in I washed a shirt i got in hash conditions (Guy wash clothe what a joke) over 12 times and shirt still looks good
My opinion is DTG is water based ink, Silk screened in plastosol ink (PVC) If both are printed and cured correctly they will both last outlast the shirt.
A screen printed shirt, if printed & cured correctly, should outlast the shirt. I have seen some of the shirts we printed 5 years ago, all faded, but the print bright as ever.
DTG printers use waterbased ink, which is thinner than plastisol, so while the DTG ink may not fade, the process of filabration, whereas the fibers of the shirt begin to come up thru the print over repeated washings, cause the shirt to appear faded. Also, there's still the issue of pretreatment on dark shirts. It has to be near perfert, or the print will begin to degrade sooner than it should, which would make it appear that DTG prints, especially on dark shirts, don't hold up.
The bottom line here is that DTG prints have not really been around long enough to make any real determination, but my opinion with 23 years in this biz is that traditional screen printing, using plastisol inks, done correctly, will hold up better over time.
<-- Novice speaking here. But I was under the impression that Pigment inks were superior to dye-based inks in the DTG world (I am working on a business plan and this is what I am basing my purchasing decision on) am I wrong? --Derrick
Direct to garment printers use pigment inks that are made for textiles. They are different then regular printer inks. That theory is true with people using transfers, that the pigment inks work better, but with dtg printers the inks are pretty much make the same for all the printers. Other then sawgrass that also makes a dye sub ink for their printer. Hope this helps, as I think you are talking about the way inks work on transfers, but this thread is about direct to garment printers and screen printing, which are not the same as the transfer process.
We do both screen printing and direct-to-garment printing at Great Apparel For You, and our washing instructions are the same: turn inside-out and wash in cold water. While screen prints do seem to last forever, DTG prints maintain a pretty high quality for at least 30 washes.

It's really more of a function of the quality of the print. If it's a "good" print with a good underbase and a good pre-treatment, it will look great out of the washer. If in particular the pre-treatment is poor, expect to see the ink wash right off.

Word to the wise about pretreatment on digital prints: don't expose it to UV light before it's been washed out. The garment will discolor and it tends to not wash out. Oh, also, be sure to print on 100% cotton for DTG.
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