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I was curious about the science (I use that word loosely) of t-shirt fading and found a series of articles about that, all seemingly from the same source in 2008 and 2009. I list some of the more interesting tidbits I learned as well as the links to these articles in case anyone is interested. There's nothing earth-shaking about this stuff, but maybe you'll find it good to know.

As you sort [in the laundering process], be sure to read the label of each garment. If your t-shirt says that it needs to be washed in only cold water, you will already be prepared.

Overstuffing the dryer can cause severe damage to clothing so avoid putting too much in at one time. Do not over-dry the garments. Too much heat causes damage resulting in faded clothing over time. Setting your timer and pulling clothes out while still slightly damp will help prevent fading.

Certain fabrics tend to hold dye better than others. Cotton, the most common fabric of T-shirts, is not one of these fabrics. In fact cotton is notorious for fading quickly in color.

Color cotton tees have a tendency to fade with washes and especially when dried in the dryer, because the T-shirt fibers break down over time.

Cottons that have been dyed using hot, longer processes will have more resistant color than other processes, as the chemical process needed to bind the dye to the cotton will be better activated.

The first time you wash a new vividly colored T-shirt, add a cup of vinegar or some table salt to the water with the detergent. This will help the dye to set in better.

Using a dryer does make clothing feel softer but it strips it of many of the fibers of the clothing. If you’ve ever noticed the lint that comes out of a dryer lint trap, you’ve seen where those fibers end up. That lint is largely small particles of the clothing that was dried in the machine.

Often T-shirts that are cheaper and of less quality will fade much faster than others. This is often because the production methods were not good quality and attention was not paid to the colorfastness of the item.

How to Keep Your T-shirt from Fading | Wardrobe Advice

Why Do T-Shirts Fade In Color? | Wardrobe Advice

How to Keep T-Shirts and Clothes Looking New | Wardrobe Advice

How to Make the Print on a T-Shirt Last Longer | Wardrobe Advice
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