How to care for pigment printed fabrics? Proper fabric care instructions

Pigment printed fabrics do require a bit more care than any other printed or dyed fabrics. You fabric with custom prints can look just as good after and after thirty cycles in the washing machine if only you practice proper fabric care. With these 5 simple fabric care rules, you can enjoy your pigment printed fabrics for years to come. 

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Washing machine temperature settings for pigment printed fabrics

On our website, blog and fabric care instruction sheet you get with your order we included fabric care instructions for every type of fabric in our offer. You will find out that pigment printed fabrics should be washed in a maximum temperature of 40 degrees Celcius. Since pigment ink printed fabrics are prone to fading in washing, the low temperature can help keep the fabric in good condition for longer. It’s worth noting that high-temperature influences not only to the print but to the structure of fabric as well. Knitted fabrics can lose some elasticity and woven fabrics can thin out and become sheerer because the threads in the structure of the fabric are breaking. Of course, you won’t be able to tell the difference after one wash in higher temperature. But bear in mind, the more you wash your fabrics in higher than recommended temperature, you risk not only damaging the print on the fabrics but the material itself. 

With each CottonBee order, we give you our fabric care guide

Handwashing and spot cleaning 

Pigment ink printed fabrics do not handle well any rubbing when wet. Since pigment ink printing creates a surface layer of pigment on fabrics whenever you try to spot clean your throw pillow or your tote bag you can smudge the design on the fabric. With pigment ink printed fabrics hand washing isn’t really the ideal fabric care method, we actually do not recommend it at all. If you happen to get your fabric dirty in just one spot try to blot with the tissue or paper towel to remove any excess. Use damp towel or tissue and press gently without rubbing. Light staining can be removed by soaking into lukewarm water with a touch of the gentle cleaning agent. 

Machine washing of pigment printed fabrics

There’s no need to panic that washing machine will ruin your pigment ink printed fabric. You just have to remember to stick to given fabric care rules. While washing in the machine use a “gentle” setting if your machine has one. Try to avoid washing your pigment ink printed fabric in a machine full of another laundry. In a fully-loaded machine, fabrics are exposed to even more rubbing, which can cause smudges in printed design. Skip spin cycle or set it to the lowest speed your machine allows (typically 400 spins is fine). 

The right detergents for fabric care

In our fabric care guide, we always recommend gentle detergents for washing your fabrics. Do not use any bleach or stain removers. Choose detergents that do not contain any phosphates. If you are using pods or any other type of laundry detergent that should be put straight into the drum, make sure any of them to not get into direct contact with the printed side of the materials. 

Some fabrics from our offer do require special fabric care methods – in this case, dry-cleaning. Fabrics such as gabardine, panama and sofia should be dry-cleaned only, preferably with detergents without perchloroethylene and on a gentle programme. 


Our recommended fabric care method for drying your fabrics does not require tumble drying. It is yet another circumstance where your fabric is exposed to excess rubbing and by now you should now that rubbing is one of the biggest issues with pigment ink printed fabrics. To dry your fabrics just hang them in room temperature. When drying outside do not leave them for prolonged periods of time in direct sunlight. One thing to remember – when drying on clotheslines some discolouration may appear in areas where fabrics fold over the strings of your drying rack. To avoid that you can sandwich your fabrics in between towels and hang it that way. 

You should always follow fabric care rules when it comes to pigment ink printed fabrics. We tested many drying and washing methods and with the combination of techniques listed above we got a consistently good result, minimal if any fading and no issues with our designs.


Content writer, amateur photographer, sewist after work.

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