How To Remove A Design From A Shirt [A Detailed Guide]

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    Large and small corporations alike push out their logos in hopes to popularize their brand. The easiest way they do this is through advertising. One method of advertising is to print on T-shirts and hoodies for others to display.

    But it isn’t only corporations getting into the game. With the popularization of merchandise, YouTubers, Twitch streamers and other content creators have also started following this trend. You might have even bought some of their products.

    Key Takeaways

    Different printing & fabric types

    For effective logo removal, consider the specific printing method (screen-printed, heat transfer vinyl, or embroidered), fabric composition, and appropriate settings. Keep in mind the reasons behind choosing suitable removal techniques based on fabric properties and color preservation.

    Time saving options for print removal

    Explore efficient methods like nail polish removers, spot removal guns, or iron heat and peeling techniques. These approaches can save time and effort while successfully eliminating designs. Remember to follow proper instructions and keep in mind the fabric type to avoid any mishaps.

    Natural fading over time

    Regular washing and proper care provide a gradual yet effective way to naturally remove prints. Keep in mind that this method may take time, and colors may fade before complete removal. Consider the reasons for opting for a gradual fading process and choose the right washing techniques accordingly.

    Having said that, if your favorite online star got canceled or maybe your garment is of high quality but the logo is getting faded, then there are ways to remove it without a trace. Below is how to achieve that.

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      Is The Logo on Your Shirt Printed or Embroidered?

      The process of print removal depends on two factors:

      1. Whether the design was printed
      2. Whether the design was sewed on

      Another factor is the material of the shirt, but we’ll cover all of that later.

      First we will demonstrate how to remove each kind of print, but to do that we need to understand which type of logo is on your shirt.

      Blue polo neck shirt with orange embroidered logo by Slazenger -  copyright APM DesignsⒸ
      The sports brand Slazenger still embroiders their logo on shirts

      1. Screen-printed designs

      Screen-printing is popular. Provided you allow it to cure, the quality of print will shine through. As well as quality, screen-printing is long-lasting and excellent for producing colorful graphics on clothing item.

      It is also inexpensive and suited for mass-production of the same design. Unlike other printing processes, which employ just one template for one design, screen printing allows for the reuse of the same template.

      A nylon mesh makes up the screen and in its current state, ink can pass through the screen. The idea is to mask off certain areas of the screen to prevent ink from passing through in order to transfer the design onto the shirt.

      To do this the entire screen is coated with a photosensitive emulsion. You then place a transparency (which has a design printed on it) on top of the screen and expose it to light.

      The final step is to then squeeze the ink through the screen onto your shirt. It is imperative to use high-quality inks. Poor-quality inks may result in inferior colors, premature fading and early cracking.

      2. Heat transfer vinyl (HTV)

      Patterns can be transferred to fabric using a heat press machine, or iron box using this process. The design (created using a photo-editing tool) is applied to a vinyl sheet. The vinyl has an adhesive backing that is activated when heat is applied to it.

      Once heat is applied using a heat press machine, the design is printed on the clothing. Despite the long-term benefits of this strategy, it is impractical for large scale use.

      The vinyl heat transfer process is convenient because it is easy to clean up and requires little maintenance after completion. But remember, it isn’t suitable for textiles that are sensitive to high temperatures.

      Tip: Make sure to heat press your clothing before applying the design. This removes wrinkles and moisture that can negatively affect the adhesion process.

      Watch this video: How Custom Design T-Shirts Using HTV
      [03 mins 11 secs]

      To save time, skip to timeline 00:26!

      3. Embroidered logos

      Embroidered logos were the traditional branding method of clothing back in the day, but it is still being applied on garments today.

      The process requires the use of sewing machines, but some small businesses have made hand sewing embroidery their forte.

      Embroidery design tends to be more expensive. The reason is because it takes longer to apply the design, but as a trade off, they are made to last longer.

      How to Remove Screen Print Designs From a Shirt?

      Depending on size and fabric type, there are multiple ways of removing screen printing patterns. These approaches are used to remove smudges and imperfections from screen-printed patterns.

      Similarly you can remove the whole design. But of course, in this case, more effort is required!

      When trying any of these approaches, take caution. You may have to work with some harsh chemicals. Wear gloves or a plastic sheet when working with chemicals.

      Screen print removal process for t-shirts

      Rubbing alcohol may be needed as a last resort to clean any screen printing residue let over.

      1. Use nail polish removers or acetone

      A soft cloth and a little acetone (or nail polish remover) is effective for removing screen printing. Most people use this approach because it is simple and inexpensive.

      Acetone and other strong solvents are readily available. However, be aware this only works for natural materials.

      Tip: Acetone breaks down plastics, so it may react to synthetic materials.

      If you have cotton or denim garments, you can utilize this method. Ensure that you are washing screen printed shirts before applying this process.

      Dab a tiny section of the print in nail polish remover. Use a soft cloth to rub in and cover the rest of the design and wait.

      Stretch the shirt to loosen the print from the shirt. Peel off the screen print and then wash it to remove the nail polish residue.

      Watch this video: How To Remove Screen-Printing With Acetone [01 mins 49 secs]

      To save some time, skip to timeline 00:12!

      2. Spot removal guns

      The spot-removal gun performs miraculously. Some use air compressors that shoot out a spray up to 1000 psi, while others resemble inexpensive water pistols.

      Make sure you get the first one. The idea is to remove small logos and designs with precision. So aim the gun directly toward the print and work your way around it.

      Use an old bath towel (or other cloth) to soak up the leaking ink and spot remover fluid. This is by far the easiest and quickest technique and in our opinion works the best.

      Make sure to wash the t-shirt shortly after treatment. This removes the chemical solution.

      Tip: You can place your t-shirt over a bucket or tin. That way, the spot remover fluid is collected in the container. This reduces overspill and prevents a mess!

      Watch this video: Remove Screen-Printing With Spot Removal Guns [01 mins 42 secs]

      To save some time, skip to timeline 00:23!

      3. Iron heat and peeling

      Iron heat is an extremely effective way of removing designs. Get yourself a large paper bag. Flip the bag over and use the glossy side (you can also use wax paper).

      Place the t-shirt on a flat surface and set your iron to low (avoid using steam). Put the bag on top of the screen print of your T-shirt and start ironing it. The design should adhere to the paper bag and then peel off.

      Using a plastic scraper (or your fingers) scrape off any remaining parts of the print.

      Tip: Avoid using the steamer on your iron. We want the print to adhere to the bag and therefore don’t want any dampness.

      4. Wash it more often

      Your t-shirt will in time lose its design. To avoid a manual way of removing the print, just wash it often.

      A screen print can only withstand about 50 washes before coming apart. If you want it to peel off faster, don’t flip your t-shirt in the washing machine. Exposing the pattern will accelerate the peeling process.

      This is our least preferred method for removing prints. The design fades before coming off. You will likely need more than 50 washes before it is completely removed.

      How to Remove Screen Prints From Polyester Fabrics?

      Dish soap and a hard brush are the best tools for removing graphics from polyester.

      Polyester is one of the most inexpensive synthetic materials. As a result, it is used extensively by high-profile clothing brands like H&M and Zara. Polyester is a favorite of the fast-fashion industry. We doubt anyone would buy these products if they weren’t well-marketed.

      The chances of your clothing being polyester is high
      The process of removing screen prints differ depending on material type – polyester is synthetic

      The printed patterns on this synthetic fabric can only be removed using a few techniques. This is due to the fabric’s plastic composition.

      Tip: Screen printing on polyester can’t be removed using a spot removal gun due to its water resistant properties. Nor can you use an iron due to polyester’s low melting point.

      So what’s the solution?

      While damp, drop a spot of dish detergent over the design. Use a stiff brush to remove the pattern. You’ll know the method is working when the design flakes away. Keep going until there is no more ink left to remove.

      Try acetone or one of the other methods mentioned if dish detergent doesn’t work. Chemicals can damage polyester, so proceed using small quantities and do so with caution.

      How to get rid of nylon screen prints

      Nylon screen printing can be removed with WD40 or an iron. Care must be taken to avoid damaging the nylon when attempting to remove the pattern. The good news is, you probably already have everything you need in your home.

      Apply the WD40 and wait a few minutes. The print can be removed using an old bath towel that has been scuffed up and rubbing it over the print that’s soaked in WD40.

      Repeat the process until all the print has been removed from the nylon fabric!

      How to Remove a Vinyl Screen Print

      Heat, such as that produced by a hairdryer or pressing iron, is required in order to remove vinyl lettering. The heat that is generated softens both the vinyl and the adhesive that binds it to the shirt.

      Put the portion of the print that you want to get rid of under the hairdryer for one minute. Then, place a damp cloth on that same area. After that, use a pressing iron to apply pressure on the cloth until it dries.

      Try removing the pattern by using your fingers to pull it away. If you find that using your fingers is not sufficient, try a knife to scrape it off in a gentle manner.

      Continue the process until you cover the whole design area. The final step is to use a moderate cycle while washing and drying the shirt to remove any leftover residue.

      How to Remove Embroider Prints?

      It is not difficult to remove of an embroidered design from a t-shirt. At least not compared to other printing methods, such as the ones mentioned on this article. All that is required is a pair of tweezers and a seam ripper.

      Start at the back of the embroidered print that is located on the inside of the shirt. Cut through a portion of the thread using the seam ripper blade. Continue this action until the thread severs and remove them using the tweezers.

      Usually at this stage, throwing the shirt into the washing machine is enough to remove any residual microfibers. However, some like to use a magnifying glass to pluck these fibers away, but we feel this is a little overkill.


      You may find it difficult at first, but it really doesn’t require too much work. Any kind of screen print can be removed with just a little elbow work. Chemical residue and design remains are easy to remove through a gentle cycle in the washing machine. Your shirt will be brand new in just a matter of hours.

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