How to pretreat a shirt for DTG Printing

Posted by needtshirtsnow 12/21/2017 1 Comment(s)

How to Pretreat a T-shirt for DTG


How to pretreat a t shirt. Learn how to pretreat a shirt for dtg printing. It is the most important part of printing a shirt when using white ink. Dtg printing is one of the fastest methods for single shirt orders.


Pretreating the shirt is the most important part of the DTG process when printing white ink onto a t shirt 


Welcome to the custom t shirt business. When pretreating the shirt you are going to find out there are a couple different ways people like to do it. You have the Wagner sprayer along with dtg pretreat machines. Would you believe that we still use several Wagner sprayers to pretreat our shirts? This is true, We have multiple Wagners with different types of pretreatment for the different shirts we are going to print on. We have over 5 years experience with printing using a dtg machine so we know what works best. 


If you are considering using the method that we use I recommend that you label your containers. Or paint the handles so you at least know that you are not spraying a black shirt with light pretreatment instead of dark pretreatment. We have a tube with a box to catch the overspray that we use to put the shirt on. I find this more efficient than loading a shirt into a dtg pretreat machine. The pretreat machine would serve better in a mall or small location where you do not want overspray around your customers. Pretreatment can get sticky and sometimes have a different smell to it that may bother your customers.


Today I will go through some steps to get you started in the right direction pretreating your t-shirts. 


How to pretreat a shirt for dtg printing


  • Find a large box and a large plastic container. Build a stand to hold the plastic at a semi-upright position.
  • Turn your heat press on and turn the temperature to what the pretreatment manufacture suggest
  • Press your shirt in the heat press for 5 seconds to remove the moisture
  • You will need to adjust your settings until you get the perfect spray pattern. You do not want to drench the shirt
  • Spray from side to side moving in a downward position
  • Then repeat
  • Return your shirt to the heat press and hover the press over the shirt for about 10-15 seconds.
  • Press the shirt for 5 seconds with a Teflon sheet
  • Remove and replace the Teflon sheet and repress for the amount of time your pretreatment manufacture instructs you to.
  • Your Done


You want to make sure that you pretreated your shirt with even strokes and that your shirt looks semi-damp. We prepress and remove the Teflon to stop the shirt to get that white starch effect on the shirt. We do not find that too appealing so if you are getting a white box everytime you print a t shirt that is where it is coming from. 


We do not use a pretreatment machine because we find it faster to pretreat this way instead of loading the shirt into the machine. The pretreatment machines are great. When using a pretreatment machine you get an even coverage every time unless there are some nozzles clogged. Pretreatment machines are also very expensive and the old ones you would need an air compressor to operate. Today there are a lot more electric ones on the market. 


Feel free to tell us your experiences or troubles in the comments below.  


Take a look at another post for a Pretreatment comparison for Firebird vs Image Armor

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1 Comment(s)

Greeley carwash:
12/24/2017, 10:15:35 PM,

Thanks for the tips....

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