4 Reasons to Not Pre Wash Apparel Before Applying Heat Transfer Material (HTV) in Your Craft Business

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To prewash or not to prewash… that is the question if you are making and selling shirts or other apparel in your Silhouette or Cricut small business. (I hear this is disputed in the world of sewing as well!) I say no prewashing of apparel before embellishing it. Here’s why:

4 Reasons to Not Pre Wash

  1. Washed is not the same as new. Shirts that have been washed feel different than shirts that haven’t been washed. Customers expect a brand new item when purchasing. Similarly, pre washing can lead to shrinking!
  2. Manufacturers don’t recommend it. I’ve never seen manufacturer instructions that recommend prewashing a shirt (or other apparel) before pressing it. Prepressing with your heat press to remove moisture and wrinkles is suggested – but not pre washing. (If you’ve seen this from a manufacturer, feel free to share with me. But, I’m talking about manufacturers of heat transfer materials, not bloggers or retailers.)
  3. Allergies and sensitivities. Many people are allergic or sensitive to dyes and fragrances. To prevent having issues, skip prewashing.
  4. It’s time consuming. I don’t know about you, but I have enough laundry to do with 4 kids, a husband, and a dog. The last thing I need is more laundry!

Tell me in the comments: Do you pre wash apparel before embellishing?

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4 Reasons to Not Pre Wash Apparel Before Applying Heat Transfer Material (HTV) in Your Silhouette Cameo or Portrait or Cricut Explore or Maker Craft Business - by cuttingforbusiness.com

26 thoughts on “4 Reasons to Not Pre Wash Apparel Before Applying Heat Transfer Material (HTV) in Your Craft Business”

  1. Can email your source to purchase t shirts at a wholesale price .. I have an order to make some t shirts this week

  2. Great post Christine! I’ve only prewashed for myself or my family & that’s cause I’m known to shrink anything…. and I do mean anything, unless I’m actually trying to shrink it – lol. But for others, I never prewash.

  3. These are really good thoughts on this subject.
    I have noticed that pieces have come up on my design. Why does this happen after washing. Thanks for the help.

  4. For myself and my family and some friends I always prewash with no softener. For customers I dont. I do know tho that heat and bond DOES say to prewash, and I have learned the hard way that it is important to do so. LOTS of the projects I do ate a combination of fabric with heat n bond AND htv. Perfect example recently made a t shirt for my youngest grandsons 1st birthday. Several if the details were heat n bonded fabric and several were htv, and now I am getting orders for the same. I personally am not a fan of just solid colored details on a plain shirt, thus the use of printed fabrics. Just my preferences.

    1. I also use heat and bond for fabric applique and pre wash the garments. I instruct my customers to wash in cold water and hang to dry for best result. The garments will survive a hot dryer but the applique tends to stiffen. I would love to skip the pre wash for obvious reasons but my testing proves it necessary.

  5. Hello! I am VERY new to the electric cutting community. I just purchased a Brother Scan N Cut and would like to get into making car stickers and iron ons. If you don’t pre-wash the items before you iron on the designs, how do suggest that your customers wash the items? Is there really a market for this kind of thing at craft shows?
    Thank you,

    1. Hello! You would suggest your customers wash according to the manufacturer recommendations. For example, if you are using Siser heat transfer materials, you would include washing instructions for Siser materials. There is a huge market for embellished apparel.

  6. Have you ever had problems with using store bought shirts like Old Navy? I’ve made my daughter a few and they seem to peel off… this is with not pre-washing. Any thoughts?

  7. Christine…It was brought to my attention in a Silhouette Beginners Group that Cricut HTV does say to Pre-Wash before applying. While I know most of us who sell do use Siser Brand, there are some that use Cricut Brand HTV.

  8. I actually have a question related to this. I prewashed a shirt I was pressing for myself and noticed the HTV didn’t go on as nicely as it does when I do it on a new shirt. Can the detergent affect the pressing?

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