Companies like ours have multiple options for printing images on T-shirts and sweatshirts. Silkscreen printing is a popular option, as are sublimation printing and heat transfer. But here at Umai, we prefer direct-to-garment (DTG) printing. We think it is the best option for creating great-looking anime clothing and accessories.
Why does our printing choice matter to you? There are two reasons. First, DTG printing offers our customers the best image quality. It also holds up better than other printing methods over the long term. Second, printing method matters when it comes to laundering. How you launder your anime T-shirts and hoodies from Umai will affect the quality of their images.
Silkscreen and Heat Transfer
Before we explain how DTG printing works, let us talk about the silkscreen and heat transfer methods. Silkscreen printing has been the standard for T-shirts and sweatshirts for decades. It was the original process that made graphic T-shirts a household item. The process of involves printing graphics on fabric by applying ink with a series of screens. Each color is applied with a separate screen.
Heat transfer takes an image from a separate medium and applies it to the fabric by way of heat. More often than not, that medium is transfer paper. The image is first printed on the paper as a mirror of the finished product. The transfer paper is then placed on the garment and heat applied. When all is said and done, the image actually rests on top of the fabric rather than being permanently embedded in the fibers.
DTG printing has been around for about two decades. It is so named because images are printed directly onto a fabric using a specialized printer. There is no transfer paper involved. There are no screens that apply ink in layers.
To print with this method, you need a DTG printer with ink formulated for garments. The easiest way to understand it is to think of it as an inkjet printer on steroids. Garments are placed on a table and held in place. Next, the desired image is loaded into computer software before printing begins. As for the printing process itself, it is very similar to printing images on paper with an inkjet printer.
Laundering DTG Garments
One of the big benefits of DTG printing is that ink is absorbed by the fibers of the garment, making for a more permanent image. Silkscreen and heat transfer images do not last as long because they don't deeply penetrate the fabric. We think that this alone makes DTG printing better for our anime T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hoodies.
That being said, laundering practices still matter. Your Umai T-shirts and hoodies have labels attached on which you'll find laundering instructions. Keep in mind that those instructions come from the original manufacturer who had no idea how our images would be printed. Their instructions may or may not be appropriate for DTG printing.
To that end, here is how you should launder your Umai anime clothing:
Machine-wash in cold water, inside-out
Use a gentle cycle and a mild detergent
Avoid non-chlorine bleach and fabric softeners
Launder with like colors
Tumble dry on low, or better yet, hang-dry
Iron inside-out on low
Never iron the print.
We utilize DTG printing because we think it works best for anime images. DTG printing gives us the best quality and longest lasting image in our industry. We hope you agree. Should you choose to buy anime T-shirts or sweatshirts from us, please bear in mind our laundering tips. They will keep your garments looking new and fresh for longer.