posted by Ahijoy on November 16, 2022

Why Does Vinyl Peel Off After Washing?

Heat transfer vinyl (HTV) unveiled a whole new arena of creativity and designing for both DIYers and professional crafters. With this polymer available in multifarious textures and colors, they were able to unleash their inventiveness creating amazing and innovative pieces of workmanship. 

Whether it is an old t-shirt that needs a facelift or a completely new piece of clothing, HTV was a magic potion that gave captivating results.

Why Does Vinyl Peel Off After Washing?

Reasons For The VInyl Peeling Off

Sometimes, when we apply a technique, it doesn’t go as we desire. Errors are bound to occur that may not give us what we hope for. The same goes for HTV printing. At times, it does not stick or come off after a couple of washes? Why does this happen?

Mentioned below are some of the reasons why heat transfer vinyl peels off a substrate, such as a shirt, after washing and how it can be prevented and cured.

1. Use Premium Quality Heat Transfer Vinyl

The quality of the vinyl used plays a very important role in the aftermath of transfer. If you are using a good quality vinyl, it will adhere better, will be durable and will not peel off easily. There are many vinyl films that appear very beautiful and flashy but are not of good quality, so research and read reviews before buying your vinyl to be sure it is of excellent quality.

Why Does Vinyl Peel Off After Washing?

2. Confirm That The Vinyl Will Adhere To The Fabric Used

Heat transfer vinyl is not compatible with all fabrics. To encourage the finest possible press, specific vinyl products are properly matched with specific materials. Check the tag for your shirt to verify the fabric before purchasing vinyl.

Nylon vinyl, for example, pairs well with nylon fabric, but stretchy spandex necessitates spandex-friendly vinyl. Your possibilities for cotton or polyester are endless, but you must still test what vinyl functions the best before pressing. You won't have an issue with peeling as much if you sync your fabric and vinyl effectively.

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3. Make Certain You Follow The Directions

All HTV films come with installation instructions. Follow these for the best outcome. Make sure you have the pressure, time, and temperature settings right. Hence it is recommended to use a heat press machine rather than an iron since you can select and manage each one of these settings.

Why Does Vinyl Peel Off After Washing?

4. Inspect The Fabric Coating

Specially coated materials (such as waterproof fabrics) might pose issues with HTV. This is because the vinyl adheres just to the fibers, and any excess layer will prevent the vinyl from adhering correctly.

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5. Alter The Temperature Of The Heat Press

The temperature of your press is most likely causing your heat transfer vinyl to come off. Heat transfer vinyl must adhere to the cloth for it to operate properly. The first test to determine if you're doing it correctly is to run your finger throughout the transfer after pressing. If you can feel the edges of the HTV, your press is too cold. All you have to do is raise the temperature by 5°F to 10°F.

It is very important to get the right temperature, pressure and time settings. If the temperature is less, the adhesive will not work. If it is too hot, the vinyl might get scorched and peel off. Hence the right heat setting works wonders.

6. Alter The Pressure Of Your Heat Press

Most vinyl films suggest a pressure range of mild to high. Increase the pressure until the adjustment is perfect. Small fluctuations in pressure are caused by the cloth you are using.

When utilizing 100% polyester fabrics, you must exercise caution when applying pressure. Polyester is extremely prone to press marks. 

Why Does Vinyl Peel Off After Washing?

7. Do Not Use Fabric Softener Prior To Vinyl Application.

Some people enjoy pre-washing their clothing which we do not recommend. On occasion, one might unintentionally add fabric softener to the water used for washing. The problem is that the softener leaves a thin layer between your fibers which presents issues when your vinyl attempts to adhere to those same strands.

8. Hot Or Cold Peeling

Some HTV must be removed immediately after pressing, whereas others must cool to room temperature before their plastic carrier is removed from top. If you apply the improper procedure, your design may peel off early. Check the directions that came with your HTV if you're unsure which method to use.

Why Does Vinyl Peel Off After Washing?

9. Your Vinyl Will Peel Eventually!

Every vinyl has a shelf life. How quickly it comes off depends on the kind of HTV you use. It is because not all types of HTV are made equal, it is good to conduct research then select a brand.

How To Look After Your New Vinyl Adhered Shirt

After you have transferred the vinyl design onto your shirt, it is important to take certain measures to increase its longevity and durability. Here’s what you have to do:

  • Allow at least 24 hours before wearing/ironing/washing the garment. Let it perfectly adhere to the fabric. Give it time to cure and settle. This may take one of two days.
  • Wash with lukewarm or cold water with your hands. This is the most appropriate method. Do not rub or wring. We do not intend to re-melt the vinyl by placing it in really hot water. THe adhesive may come off leading to the peeling off of the vinyl from your shirt.
  • It is better to let the garment dry in the air. Avoid direct sunlight. Exposure to heat in any form can be detrimental.
  • Do not dry clean. The chemicals will either peel or melt your design.
  • Do not use bleach on the fabric. It is harsh and can be harmful for your design.
  • If necessary, iron inside out because HTV is a thin plastic, putting your iron directly on it will rapidly melt your graphic. 
Why Does Vinyl Peel Off After Washing?

How To Repair A Peeling Vinyl Transfer

  • Preheat an iron to a high temperature.
  • Place the clothing on a sturdy surface that can withstand pressure and place Teflon sheet or parchment paper on top of the peeling transfer.
  • Quickly iron over the peeled transfer, using only the iron's edge.
  • Repeat this step as needed, examining the transfer until it has completely adhered to your clothing.
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If this process doesn’t work, you can apply fabric glue to the decal to paste it back. You can also use polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue. Apply it to the underside of the fabric and press vinyl onto it with pressure. Let the glue dry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Conclusion

It is a process which one learns through trial and error. The more you create, the more effectively you will be able to achieve your desired results and ensure that your vinyl does not come off. It is imperative to follow instructions before applying the heat transfer vinyl and take care of the fabric after the process is complete. If all steps are followed, the vinyl will last longer than expected. 

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