One of the most frequently asked questions we get from people considering a Laser Transfer Printer for garment decoration is about how long the transfers will last. The answer? That depends on how well you train your customers. No matter how well you design, press, and apply the transfer, it may lead a short and tragic life if you don’t warn your customers about HD, the two-headed monster. We’re not talking about High Definition TVs. No my friend. This HD is a bothersome beast that prowls the earth preying on laser transfers. But it can be easily defeated. If you teach your customers proper care of laser transfers, they will vanquish the HD monster, and enjoy a long and happy life filled with awesome custom apparel. What is the two-headed monster and how can it be defeated?
The Paper Factor
Before we reveal the secrets of of proper care of laser transfers, we need to talk about paper and choices. Training your customer begins with helping them choose the right transfer paper. For standard apparel applications, most transfers have similar durability ratings and care instructions. Specialty papers however come with unique concerns that need to be communicated to your customers. Most laser transfer paper solutions are expected to last for about 35 wash cycles. This is on par with those from DTG printers, which use water-based ink. UniNet Premium paper is so named partly because it lasts more than twice as long as other laser transfer papers. It’s rated for about 100 wash cycles. So, if your customers want more durable decorated garments, advise them to opt for the Premium Paper.
Specialty papers for hot foil last about 35 wash cycles, but may require extra care in drying. iColor Presto paper uses the A Foil from the iColor Standard 2-Step solution and marries it with the B Paper. The A-foil sheet is coated with the Foil which makes the transfer more durable. EnduraTRANS HF foil is a little less heat resistant. These transfers cannot be machine dried without bleaching the color from the foil. Speaking of dryers, that brings us back to the two-headed monster.
HD, the Two-headed Monster
So how do you get your customers laser transfers to last through 35 or 100 wash cycles? Teach them to avoid HD, the two-headed monster; Harsh Detergents, and Hot Dryers. Harsh detergents include bleach and bleach alternatives. Hot dryers are particularly dangerous for laser transfer appliqués. That’s because toner is essentially a form of plastic fused to fabric with heat. Subjecting the transfer to too much heat can weaken the bond and damage the transfer. Cracks that appear in laser transfers are often caused by a hot dryer. The full instruction set goes like this.
Wash inside-out in cold water. Do not use bleach, bleach alternatives, or harsh detergents. Line or hang dry or tumble dry on low heat. Do not iron decoration.
If you and your customers take proper care of your laser transfer garments, they’ll wear well and last a long time; up to 100 wash cycles with UniNet Premium paper, 35 with most others. Do your part to make sure your customer’s experience is a good one. Warn them about the two-headed monster. Let them know how to properly care for their awesome new custom shirt and you’ll have happy customers and repeat business.