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White shirts washability

7951 Views 19 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  TitanGraphicsDTG
Hi Guys,

So Basically my company bought 2 brother GTX.
We had a 2 day training because we weren't active with the new DTG printing technique.
Now 1 month later we are having difficulties with printing on white shirts and their washability.
We tried all kinds of different brands in various quality.
for example: Sol imperial and Regent, Anvil, SGTee, Lemon and Soda, Fruit of the loom softspun, Gildan Heavy.
Untill this day we haven't find out how to get a better washability.
Our salesman from brother is currently testing the T-shirts aswel.

After reading a few topics i found out that printing without a white underlayer the CMYK inkts soak in to the fibers of the T-shirt.

Also that the white fibers are more visual after washing because their not flattened anymore.

We are using the following set-up:
1 Mark IV pretreater
1 Drylight 1700 oven
1 Press
2 Brother gtx's

We have the original Brother pretreatment
And the one selected for white garments.

Our working methode goes as following:
first we pretreat the white shirt with the information provided by our Brother sales guy.
then we let it dry for 90 seconds in the oven on a temperature of 160°C.
Then we press the fibers flat with a high pressure of 6 bar depending on which pretreatment we use. 8 seconds with the colorpretreatment.
The weight of the pretreatment is 15 grams.
Then we directly print our design on the shirt and put it back in the oven at 160°C for 210 seconds.

Once out of the oven it looks great! But after 1 time in the washing machine it looks like it's a old shirt washed 50 times.

If we use the pretreatment for white garments the methode is as following:

We pretreat it with 15 grams of pretreatment and then dry it 25 seconds under the press with 170°C.

directly after it we print it and put in in the oven for 210 seconds.

The results without washing are once again great! But then again after washing the same results.

Now my question for you guys:
Am i doing anything wrong or do you have a suggestion on what i can improve?

Does anybody have experience with the same problem?
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What is the problem with the wash exactly? If the print is sticking to itself and peeling, this means that the ink is not being cured all the way. A picture will help determine this.

It is also difficult to know what the temperature on the ink is actually reaching when using an oven to cure. Do you have access to a temperature gun to check the surface temperature of the shirt?

Are you weighing the pretreatment when it is still wet? If wet, 15 grams is probably not enough.
Yes we have a temperature gun and we tested the temperature it is 160 degrees. the temperature brother says the inkt need to cure.

And the problem is not that i can peel the inkt off but that it fading allot!
I want to add a picture of the results but for some reason i can't.

Thanks already for the quick response
Fading is probably being caused by too little pretreatment on the dark shirts. White shirts will fade without a light garment specific pretreatment.
Sounds like a few things. Is your pretreatment applied to the proper amount? If not covered uniformly it will cause issues. If you are using a spray gun or spray bottle, make sure you have enough pretreat and it is even everywhere. Use a foam roller to help with that. As for the ink washing out, check the date on your ink to start. Older ink doesn't work. Your cartridges or bottles should have a date on them. As for curing, you mentionned 160 degrees, is that celsius or farhenheit? If farenheit that sounds low??? If you are checking your heat press with the gun, you will get an off reading as the platten will reflect the gun's beam. You need to use the strips to make sure your press temp is correct. You can get the strips from your press supplier. Make sure the press has even heat and no cold spots. The outer edges will always be a little cooler.
Thanks for the response Alrozac!
We are currently using a special Pretreatmachine for this step of the proces. so normally it should be applied correctly.

Brother - Schulze Pretreat Maker IV.

I checked the date of the inkt and it's still good till the end of this year.
Speaking of temperature it is in degrees. so 160 degrees thats 320F.

After some tweaking and measuring we found out that the t-shirt didnt't reach their required curing temperature.
Now it's set properly but still is the inkt fading after washing.
I now contacted our salesman to come and check what's wrong.
So let's hope for the best!
You're printing white ink underbase on white shirts?
We owned a Fast T-jet 2 way back. We used to pretreat the shirt, press it, print on it , press it. Great results after 50+ washes. Inks and pretreat from equipment zone.

Dtg maintenance was way too high. We quit DTG in 2010.

Main printing is vinyl, dye sub, heat trans, plastisol , etc
I have some hate for the Brother pretreat on CMYK only prints as in it does not work, the only product I have ever had luck with is Firebird's Vivid pretreat. You need to use only 15gs or so of it and it works fine also you can take the GTX out of that double print mode it defaults to using the pretreat. Prints are perfect and they was awesome. I'm not trying to sound like an advocate for firebird or anything but when something works and does not stain like some of the other pretreats I have tried, then it works.
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I agree that I would try a different brand of pre-treatment for sure.

On the Epson F series DTG's (which I have) here are my experiences for best results on printing on white 100% cotton tees. Your Brother should act similarly.

1.) Double strike (prints the whole design twice) a white tee with no pretreatment (and no white ink printed at all) and the shirt holds up in the wash great. Colors are richer and maybe a little darker but this settles after the first wash. A one pass print only usually fades pretty bad on the very first washing.

2.) Pretreat a light coat on a white tee and print it in Graphics Lab as a dark garment. This will see the tee as a dark color and print white in the design as well as under the colors.

Set your white ink pass to print at the lowest quality (usually the fastest method too). This formula should give you a very bright print with amazing detail and it should hold up in the wash very well.
PlatoBrotherGTX said:
Hi Guys,
Does anybody have experience with the same problem?
We have the same issue here with our GTX and white t-shirts.
Prints fade away after first wash.

Did you find any solution for your white prints?
We have the same issue here with our GTX and white t-shirts.
Prints fade away after first wash.

Did you find any solution for your white prints?
Very likely to happen without a light garment pretreat. Black ink on white you can probably get away with, double striking helps, but pretreat is the best option for longevity.
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Apart from all the suggestions mentioned above, you can try to heat press after printing and after the tunnel dryer. Perhaps 30'' at 170°C with 2 bar pressure.
Very likely to happen without a light garment pretreat. Black ink on white you can probably get away with, double striking helps, but pretreat is the best option for longevity.
I have used Firebird Vivid and Image Armor Light for white shirts in the past and currently only use the Vivid because the Image Armor stains. When I use Vivid on the GTX I am able to turn off the double strike feature and I have had prints last in the wash for over 10 washes like a champ. Like FBNick says it is the only way to get a vibrant print with longevity. The normal Brother Pretreat is not formulated for just CMYK. So not only does the print was away it also stains in the sun after 15 mins or so before it is washed out. The vivid has none of these problems. And as of this weekend I learned that if I am printing JUST CMYK ink onto a white 100%polyester shirts it cures and does not wash off I did a test and made it to 11 washes and everything was fine. However the second you add white ink to Vivid it does not work. As Vivid is sold as a light garment pretreat this is not a surprise to me. I welcome everyone to do their own testing. I used to not pretreat white shirts at all back in the day then I tried vivid and I have not used anything since because it lowers my ink costs for light shirts and you do not need to spray more than about 11gs onto a shirt. I'm sure FBNick has more knowledge than I do about the product and he can correct me if anything I said is wrong but I have been getting great results since.
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Thanx a lot.
We will give the Firebird Vivid Pre-Treatment a shot.
I guess everyone has a different way of doing things on white tees. I have had excellent results with the double strike feature and NO pretreatment.
I guess everyone has a different way of doing things on white tees. I have had excellent results with the double strike feature and NO pretreatment.
Geno I did the exact same thing for years and on occasion I still do. But a long while back I had a customer that knew some about DTG and wanted some white shirts done but he demanded they be pretreated so I started to experiment with light pretreat and I kinda was amazed at the difference plus it over all saved me print time. I was also amazed at the level of fine detail I was able to get using Firebird Vivid. But If I have something simple and very basic and only a couple I won't bother pretreating but a large job and something colorful and complex I will pretreat it. And because you use so little the pretreat drys so fast I just toss it on my conveyor and just crank them all out. I say it is worth a try find your most complex colorful design and do it with out pretreat and then do it with a light pretreatment it may make a believer out of you.
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We've been using firebird vivid pretreat for all of our white shirts but I've been testing with the dupont version and I think it may actually stain less. I printed black ink onto gold Hanes 4820 cool dri shirt using both pretreats and the dupont has a much less staining issue.

As for longevity, I found Image Amour, Firebird and Dupont all seem to have the same washability. In time fading will eventually occur, especially if the print is on the back of the shirt where it is rubbing against chairs, etc.
I guess everyone has a different way of doing things on white tees. I have had excellent results with the double strike feature and NO pretreatment.
We tried the same thing. It works just fine - the washability QC on our end is just 7 washes.

Initially - we were impressed with the effect of pretreating for white shirts but it took up too much production time.

At the end, its quality vs print time tradeoff. We had alot of one-ies and two-ies in our orders.
i kinda had the same results no matter which brand of pretreat we used on which content of garment. the solution i came up with was to not use the "color ink only" option but instead use color and white and slide everything having to do with the white all the way down. essentially using white but as little as possible. that worked like a charm for me.
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