Unlike a banana, you do not want HTV to peel easily. In a previous blog post we discussed how to apply heat transfer vinyl to garments. If HTV is not applied properly, it may peel after a wash or two. Here are some tips to avoid the embarrassment of making a shirt for someone and receiving a complaint that it has peeled.

Proper Time and Temperature

In our blog post How To Apply Heat Transfer Vinyl we discussed three primary components to be concerned with when applying HTV to a garment or other item. It is important to follow manufacturer’s guidelines for these settings, or if you must adjust them to apply to something such as a garment with heat sensitive material such as Rayon, that you make appropriate adjustments to compensate properly. For example, if a heat sensitive garment would normally be scorched during pressing at required specifications, you may want to consider a slightly lower temperature at a longer press time, or press for less time at the proper temperature, but allow the garment to cool and press 2-3 times for shorter time periods.

Proper Pressure

In that same blog post we also discussed pressure and how to adjust your heat press. Pressure is just as important as time and temperature because if the pressure is not correct or uneven, HTV will likely peel. One of the great myths regarding pressure is the phrase, “You should be able to see the fibers of the material in the HTV.” Not only is this a myth, it’s simply not true for most HTV and is usually only noticeable on cheaper quality regular HTV that has a plastic look or glossy glare. With other types of HTV such as glitter, holographics, flock, and many others, you will never see the fibers of the material through the HTV.

More {Time/Temperature/Pressure} Is Not the Answer

Far too many people think if not enough of any of these three elements will cause HTV to peel, more is better–right? Wrong. Too much of any or all of these variables can be just as bad as too little. The proper answer is to use the CORRECT time, temperature, and pressure as recommended by the manufacturer.

Pressing On Not-New Garments

If a shirt or other garment has been washed previously, there could be additives in the textile that might interfere with adhesion of HTV. Garments that have been washed with fabric softener or perhaps treated with something else may interfere with the adhesive sticking well over time.

Improper Peel Temperature

After applying HTV it’s important to peel according to the manufacturer specifications. Cold, Warm, and Hot peel are common and may vary by product. Peeling at the incorrect temperature can cause issues with your HTV adhering to a garment.

Heated Dry

Most heat transfer vinyl will suggest tumble dry low heat for care. Drying a garment with HTV on it in high heat can not only cause it to peel, if the garment shrinks the HTV may pucker or wrinkle. Even though manufacturers suggest tumble dry low heat, we recommend to always hang to dry garments or other items with HTV applied. Not only will the HTV last longer, the garment will last longer. Properly applied and cared for, HTV will outlast the life of the garment.

Stretchy Garments

Some HTV has a little stretch, others may have a lot of stretch, while some have no stretch at all. If the garment is consistently stretched beyond the HTV abilities, it may cause the HTV to crack or peel.

Learn Your Techniques

In summary, because everything that could affect proper HTV adhesion could have variables, the proper technique is possibly the most important variable. Learn your products as well as the materials and how to apply them consistently. We have heard the phrase, “I followed the instructions to a T” and unfortunately, following the instructions means little if your technique is poor. The more practice you have, the more success will follow.