If there’s one item that everyone’s wardrobe has in common, it’s the humble T-shirt. It’s convenient, comfortable and can carry messages you don’t often find on other types of clothing.

Unfortunately, most T-shirts usually fade or lose their shape far too quickly. But there are ways of prolonging your favourite T-shirt’s time in the sun and keeping its colours vibrant. Here are a few tips and tricks for a longer-lasting T-shirt:

Choose the right materials
The lifespan of a T-shirt begins with the type of fabric. Pure cotton may be comfortable and absorbs dyes well but it tends to lose shape over time. Cotton blends like tri-blend and baby rib cotton materials tend to hold up better in the long term.

If you’re the sort who likes to print their own T-shirts or order customised patterns, try to use screen-printed designs rather than transfer prints. The former can last through many washes, while the latter is best used for a couple of occasions, like a theme party or event.

Turn it inside out
If your T-shirt has a print on it, turn it inside out before washing and drying. With some prints, the fabric fibres may break free of the ink film, causing the print to look broken up. This is called ‘fibrillation’. Turning it inside out prevents fibrillation as the print doesn’t rub against other materials in a washing machine or dryer as much.

Use the right water temperature
Check the washing label on the T-shirt and don’t use a temperature setting that is too high for the material. Hot washes can cause shrinkage and colour to bleed off the T-shirt. Not only does it cause the material to fade, it may result in unwanted colour on other clothing items in the wash.

Water that is too cold may not dissolve the detergent and activate its cleaning properties as well. If you want to keep your white T-shirts pristine, warm washes avoid the pitfalls of high-temperature wash cycles while cleaning your T-shirt better.

Look for a washing machine that has the ability to customise wash temperatures and times. Adding a vapour cycle also helps keep your T-shirt soft and wrinkle-free.

Dry it just right
Don’t overdry your T-shirts, as this might damage the fabric by causing its fibres to become brittle. Try to time it such that they come out of the dryer slightly damp – but not too damp or you run the risk of mildew. This also helps to avoid wrinkles and the need for ironing.

Elizabeth Png is the retail and consumer business director at Hafele Vietnam. She can be contacted at elizabeth.png-reade@hafele.com.vn