How Long Do Heat Transfers Last?

When we first show someone how they can make a three color screen print in four seconds, their jaw is usually on the floor.

Then, you can see the conspiracy theorist in them turn on and the next words out of their mouth are, “This is incredible, but how long do heat transfers last?” The implication, of course, being that they’ll make it through three washes and look like they’ve been attacked by mad squirrels.

We’re happy to tell you that this isn’t the case (unless you set your shirts out in a jungle with a large mad squirrel population, perhaps). But we also have to confess that the answer, like most things in life, is…it depends.

Let’s start with the knowable part of this answer. All heat transfers from Transfer Express are tested to the equivalent of 50 household washes.

Now, onto the unknowable. Part of it starts with you.

Particularly when using a transfer like Goof Proof®, if the recipe (time, temperature and pressure) wasn’t executed properly, it’s QUITE possible for that item to leave your shop looking perfect. With the built-in adhesive, it has a way of being – well – goof proof. But after a wash or two, the phone could start ringing with complaints.

Whew! It came off the paper and appears to be sticking! NOT the right answer. Always follow the recipe exactly.

Hotronix heat presses

Oftentimes, problems happen when someone is using an inferior heat press. In fact, we typically recommend that anyone using a brand other than Hotronix increase their temperature setting 10 degrees to make up for the lack of accurate heat measurement. Many times, these presses have no functionality to accurately control pressure. So, while you THINK you’re following the recipe precisely, you may not be.

Another thing we find that happens is people adjusting the recipe to fit the garment. This is the biggest no-no of all no-nos. The right thing to do is to order the correct transfer for the garment type. At the top of this blog, you’ll find a link to the Transfer Selector Tool. Just answer a few, short questions and it’ll not only give you the right transfer type, but also a video that shows you how to apply that particular transfer. Cool, right?

Now, onto the really, really unknowable part…what the heck your customer does with their shirts once they get them.

laundry and shirt tag

There are many factors that affect wear – and this goes for ANY apparel decorating method. People have been conditioned to use oxy or to dry clean items, thinking they’re doing a good thing. In fact, we did an entire article on what to tell your customer about how to care for decorated apparel.

So, where are we going with this?

It’s best to not make a guarantee to your customer. If the question gets raised, let them know that the decorations have been tested to 50 washes and leave it at that.

Also, maybe tell them to stay away from mad squirrels. They’re bad for t-shirts and frankly, sound pretty scary.



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