posted by Ahijoy on November 24, 2022
How Long Does HTV Last?
From international brands to your local t-shirt retailer, heat transfer vinyl can be seen being used almost everywhere. It is an economical, convenient, quicker, and easier way to achieve a personalized look on fabrics. Not only companies but individuals who are into crafting love to personalize their wardrobe and home décor using this vinyl. For any material that is used in a project, the important question is how long will it last? Here’s what you need to know about the longevity of HTV.
What Is HTV?
HTV is a type of vinyl film which is specifically used to transfer images or designs onto clothing and fabrics. It contains a heat activated adhesive backing, which allows the vinyl to permanently transfer onto your garment when it is heat pressed with sufficient time, temperature, and pressure. It can be printed onto, weeded, and cut. It is compatible with cotton, polyester and poly/cotton blends.
You will see that there are two sides to your heat transfer vinyl, a matte and a shiny or glossy side. The shiny side keeps your design firm when applying heat, hence known as the “carrier”. This means you should always make sure the “carrier” faces up when it is being applied.
An exceptional thing about HTV is that it comes in various sizes, designs, colors and finishes like glossy, matte, glow in the dark, holographic, 3-D puff, metallic, flock, stretchy, glitter – you name it! Different types of vinyl are available for various kinds of fabric as not all vinyl adhere to all fabric textures.
The most amazing thing about heat vinyl transfer is that you do not need to be a professional in order to use it. If you’re using HTV for the first time, it shouldn’t be much of a task as it is super easy!
What Causes Heat Transfer Vinyl To Fade?
Vinyl is a durable and long lasting product, but it is not infallible. Certain conditions and environments may cause it to lose its luster. Let’s look at a few common ones:
- Not letting the clothing settle: The adhesive will not dry, and the print will not bind if the shirt is not left to cure for at least 24 hours. Hence it is imperative not to use it until the vinyl has thoroughly adhered to the fabric. Do not wash it for 48 hours at least.
- Use of hot water and the dryer: When washing the fabric, use of hot water can break down the adhesive and using the dryer can cause the print to shrink and ruin it. Both should be avoided at all costs to save the vinyl print.
- Ironing: Vinyl may not be able to survive direct heat from the iron as it can melt the adhesive and move the print from its original place. Also do not use steam iron when pressing the shirt designed with vinyl.
- Bleaching: Bleaching will cause the vinyl to lose its physical strength if the entire fabric is soaked resulting in the print to fall off. It may also cause its color to fade drastically. Do not use bleach or any other product that contains bleach on your fabric.
- Fabric softener: Fabric softener will strip your clothing. It creates a coat between fibers which prevents the vinyl from sticking to those fabrics.
- Harsh detergent: Harsh detergents that contain bleaching elements should be avoided as well as they can damage the vinyl making it lose its longevity and look.
- UV rays: Vinyl wraps applied to cars can diminish due to the harmful effects of the sun, resulting in the melting of the wrap and exposure of the paint underneath. Over exposure to sun is always harmful to any product and the same holds true for HTV.
How Long Does Heat Transfer Vinyl Last?
Heat transfer vinyl has many advantages in terms of cost, process, and appearance. But, over time, adhesives and vinyl break down. In a nutshell, heat transfer vinyl typically lasts for a good while, say more than 50 washes, taking into account the care that it is given and the quality used.
The longevity is also dependent on the kind of glue used and its durability. If the glue is strong the vinyl will last for up to a minimum of 60+ washes, however if the glue is of cheap quality, the print will last for about 30 washes. Both the quality of the fabric and the vinyl matters as vinyl lasts for years on end if maintained properly. Usually, the fabric is ready for the bin before the design begins to degrade. Proper care and premium quality is the key to durability when it comes to vinyl prints!
How To Make Heat Transfer Vinyl Last Longer?
This is an important question: How can I make my HTV creation last longer? Do not worry it is not an impossible feat to achieve and we have a few guidelines for you.
- When you are done applying HTV to your desired surface, wait at least 24 hours before you wear or wash it. This will allow the adhesive of the heat transfer vinyl to fully bond with the fabric. This is a necessary step which if ignored can lead to your design peeling off.
- Use a mild detergent to wash your embellished garment. If your detergent promises to whiten a fabric or remove hard stains, it is not mild.
- It is advisable to wash your clothes inside out with cold water instead of hot water as the heat may cause the adhesive of the vinyl to weaken.
- For stain removal, do not opt for bleach as it can ruin the color and decal entirely. Even dry cleaning is not advised. What you can do instead is spot wash with minimal bleach or soap and water. The bleach should not touch the vinyl.
- Dry the clothes on a clothesline where they are not directly under the sun. Do not wring or tumble dry.
- Do not iron directly onto the vinyl as the high temperatures may cause the vinyl to melt and the adhesive to burn. However, to get rid of the wrinkles on your shirt, you can use a protective layer of cloth over your vinyl and use the iron on a low temperature. You can also iron your shirt inside out with a cloth over the part where vinyl is pasted.
Frequently Asked Questions
HTV is a wondrous introduction in the vinyl world with multifaceted uses. In this article, you learned about what heat transfer vinyl is, its longevity, what damages it and what to do to make it last longer. There are many safeguards that you can opt for so that your vinyl looks brand new, but the best advice is to shop for high quality HTV. So, stop wasting your time and instead, buy the material and tools needed to start your experimentation on HTV today!