How Long Does Screen Print Last

Do you want to know how long does screen print last? All of the information you require is provided. Read on.

How Long Does Screen Print Last

Screen printing is a beautiful and flexible way of decorating and branding things. You can screen print on binders, flags, shirts, pants, ceramics, wood, glass, gadgets, signs, displays, and even sports gear. But how many of us have those cracked, peeled, faded printed t-shirts in the back of the closet? Or maybe a shelf in the kitchen cabinet full of old favorite beverages where the logo has worn off or faded?

Screen prints on high-quality materials can remain vibrant for several years, even with regular use and proper care. For clothing items like T-shirts or hoodies, under normal wear and care conditions, screen prints can withstand numerous washes without significant fading or cracking.

There are probably a lot of us who have had some of our favorite screen-printed things fade, crack, peel, or wear off. It’s too bad that not all screen printing services and shops have the same high standards for quality. Only some companies that print on screens are the same. 

The materials, colors, and methods used are all different. Sadly, not all of them use the right techniques or high-quality tools; some think that cheap ink and materials will do. Because of these methods, t-shirts often crack, peel, or fade after a few washes, and your favorite tumbler with your favorite name on it will lose its shape after a few uses.

How long does screen print last if the right tools, methods, and inks are used?

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Key Takeaways:

  • High-quality screen prints can remain vibrant for several years, even with regular use and proper care.
  • The durability of screen prints depends on the quality of materials, the type of ink, and the curing process.
  • Proper care, like washing clothes inside out and in cold water, significantly extends the life of screen prints.
  • Outdoor screen prints have a shorter lifespan due to exposure to UV light and weather conditions.
  • Regular maintenance and potential touch-ups can help keep screen prints looking fresh for a longer time.

How Long Does Screen Print Last?

How Long Does Screen Print Last

Even though it’s hard to say for sure, screen printing is known for lasting a long time. If you use the right care and keep the screen print in good shape, it should last for several years on high-quality materials.

Screen prints on clothes like T-shirts and hoodies can last through many washes without fading or cracking if they are worn and cared for properly. Screen prints on clothes that are taken care of can often stay bright for five to ten years or even longer.

Outdoor flags and signs have a shorter lifespan because they are exposed to UV light and the weather. In this case, outdoor screen prints should last between one and five years, based on the quality of the materials used and how much they are exposed to the weather.

Taking good care of screen prints, like following the care instructions when you wash and iron them, is very important for making them last longer. Keeping screen-printed things in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight can also help them keep their color.

How Long Does Screen Printing Last – Tips for Making Screen Printing Last Longer:

If you want your screen-printed things to last as long as possible, think about these suggestions:

  • Choose high-quality materials for both the shirt or surface and the ink that is used for screen printing.
  • Carefully watch the care directions and do everything they say; Flip things inside out, use cold water, and stay away from strong soaps and bleach.
  • If you have a lot of screen-printed clothes, do this to make sure they get worn by different people.
  • Keep screen-printed things away from harsh elements like direct sunlight for long periods or extreme weather.
  • Retouch as needed, if your screen-printed designs are showing signs of light wear or fading, you might want to think about touch-up printing to make them last longer.

Factors Affecting Durability:

How Good the Materials are:

The quality of the materials used is one of the most important things that determines how long screen printing lasts. Prints tend to last longer when they are made with high-quality paints and clothes. The materials you use for screen printing will likely last longer if you buy good ones.

For your screen-printed things to last as long as possible, you need to take good care of them. 

Maintenance and Care:

Following the care directions, like washing clothes inside out, in cold water, and without harsh detergents or bleach, can help keep the color of the print.

Print Thickness:

The thickness of the layer of ink used in screen printing is important. When it comes to wear and tear, a thicker ink layer tends to last longer. This is especially important for things like T-shirts that will be used a lot.

Exposure to the Elements:

Where your screen-printed things are used can affect how long they last. Things that are left out in the sun for a long time or in bad weather may fade or wear out faster.

Wear and Use:

How often you wear or use screen-printed things also impacts how long they last. If you wear or use something a lot, it may wear out and fade faster.

How Long Does a Screen Printed Shirt Last?

How Long Does Screen Print Last

Screen printing typically lasts the lifespan of the shirt. However, several factors influence its longevity. The type of fabric plays a crucial role, durable materials like cotton and polyester withstand numerous washes without fading. Additionally, the quality of ink used during screen printing affects how quickly the image fades. 

For instance, heavy fabric shirts can endure 80 washes or more before showing signs of wear. To extend the life of your screen-printed shirts, follow these tips: wash inside out, use cold water, opt for mild detergent and fabric softener, and avoid excessive ironing. Overall, clothing items with screen prints can remain vibrant for approximately five to ten years under normal wear and care conditions.

How Long Does Screen Printing Emulsion Last?

The shelf life of screen printing emulsion varies based on the type and storage conditions. If you keep the emulsion packages in a cool, dark place, they should last at least a year without being opened. Once they are sensitised, emulsion-coated screens can last for a few weeks if they are kept dry, in a dark room, and at room temperature. 

But it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best life. Remember that the best way to keep your screen printing emulsion working is to store it properly.

How Long Does Water Based Screen Printing Ink Last? 

Water-based screen printing ink is a desirable choice for many reasons. It uses water as its base, resulting in a soft feel on garments. However, when compared to plastisol inks, it presents challenges, especially for intricate designs. 

As for longevity, water-based prints can last as long as the garment itself, making them a durable option. Proper care, including prompt screen cleaning after printing, ensures optimal results.

What is Screen Printing?

Printing art, logos, company names, and graphics on things with thick inks is called screen printing, which is also called silk screening. A frame is stretched over a thin mesh, and a negative of the image is printed on the screen. 

After that, it is put right up against an object, like a shirt. Once everything is set up properly, the ink is rolled over the screen. The ink can only get through to the shirt where the design has been printed. After this step is done, the shirt or other item is set away to dry or cured with an instant cure or exposure unit.

This is a very basic explanation of screen printing. There are more complicated parts, like the inks used, the chemicals used, and the printing methods. But this is the main idea behind screen printing.

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What Causes Screen Printing to Last or Fade as Time Passes?

Screen prints often last longer or shorter depending on how they are dried. You may have heard some interesting stories from people who do their work or run small businesses. Their new business is screen printing, and they can use the oven, an iron, a flash fix, or even a heat gun from the hardware store. It’s too bad that neither of these choices will properly fix or extend the life of a screen-printed item, and they will probably make production worse.

The truth is that there aren’t any good ways to speed up the healing process. You need to spend a lot of money on good tools to make sure your screen prints last longer than the things you put them on. In particular:

  • Unit for Exposure
  • Belt Oven or Conveyor Dryer
  • Infrared flash cure unit

Along with the type of ink used in the screen printing process, the right drying unit is also important. Plastic-based inks and water-based inks are the two main types of ink used for screen printing. You need to do the following to set the ink so that the image lasts:

  • Plastisol ink: The standard in the business, and it’s known for being clear and lasting a long time. Plastisols usually harden at 320 °F, but some can harden at as low as 280 °F.
  • Water-based ink: Well-known for having a soft touch and good color. Water-based inks need longer dwell times because they use a solvent to carry the pigment and the solvent needs to evaporate for the ink to dry properly. Anywhere from 90 seconds to several minutes, the temperature must be between 300°F and 360°F to cure.

Even though a screen-printed item is dry, that doesn’t mean it’s ready to sell or ship to a customer. After the screen print is done, the item goes through a “wash test.” This is what professional screen printers do to make sure the quality of their work and to make sure that the piece is properly cured and that the curing tools they use are working right.

A wash test is done on many things, especially ones that have special effects, textures, metallics, or gel inks to make sure that the ink doesn’t come off or get washed away. The screen-printed item has been properly dried and will last a long time.

Next, most trainers will do what is known as a “stretch test.” Where the print is, a piece of screen-printed fabric is usually stretched about half as far as the cloth itself can stretch. After that, it is looked at to see if it flakes or cracks. The ink has been properly cured if the picture keeps its shape after the fabric has been stretched.

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Bottom Line:

In conclusion, You’ll find that with the screen printing process, and the careful attention you give while washing them, you can still have concert t-shirts from high school that look like you bought them yesterday.

A quality screen-printed shirt won’t fade in the wash as long as you care for it, and although the steps might seem tedious initially, with some practice, it’ll become second nature to you.

It’s a rare find to come across clothing that you can trust will last. You’ve probably taken a favorite blouse or pair of leggings out of the dryer numerous times, only to discover the pattern fading and worn. It can be frustrating, not to mention tough on your wallet!

At the very least, you can rest assured knowing that your screen-printed shirts will stick around!

If you’re still wondering how many washes screen printing can endure on average, the answer is, as long as you take care of it!


Yes, screen printing can fade over time, particularly if the garment isn’t cared for properly. However, with proper care, including washing in cold water, using mild detergent, and avoiding harsh chemicals or bleach, you can significantly extend the lifespan of a screen-printed shirt. 

Additionally, turning the shirt inside out before washing and air drying rather than using a dryer can help preserve the print’s vibrancy. So while fading is a possibility, attentive care can greatly mitigate this issue, allowing your screen-printed shirts to maintain their appearance for a long time.

Screen printing typically does not wash off if done correctly. The key factors in ensuring the durability of a screen-printed design are using high-quality inks and properly curing the print during the production process. While some fading may occur over time with repeated washings, a well-executed screen print should remain intact for the life of the garment when cared for properly.

When done right, screen printing is usually thought to last forever. Ink is pushed through a stencil and onto fabric. This makes a strong bond between the ink and the cloth. If you cure the ink the right way, it will not fade or wash off, so the picture will last a long time.

 But things like the type of fabric, the quality of the ink, and how the garment is looked for can affect how long the print lasts. A screen-printed pattern can stay bright and whole for as long as the garment does if it is taken care of properly.

Screen printing is a common way to make images on fabrics that last and look good, but it can have problems with peeling. Here is a short explanation:


The screen can peel if it is exposed to the film for too long. The right way to cure and stop UV leaks is very important.


 If there isn’t enough exposure, the stencil gets weak and peels. Either change the exposure time or add more gelatin.

Fine Lines:

If the clarity isn’t right or the mesh isn’t right, fine lines may peel. Make the picture darker and pick the right frame.

Remember that the key to successful screen printing is often testing and learning the different exposure factors.

Last Updated on May 22, 2024 by Muhammad Haseeb

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