ASK DTGMerch! #3 – Do I need to pretreat white t-shirts?

Washability DTG printing - Fading colors and cracking

1- Do I need to pretreat white t-shirts? 

In the “Ask@DTGMerch” #3 video, we talk about another question we received from a member of our community: A viewer asked about pretreating white and light-coloured clothing.

2 – Is pretreatment a waste of time and money? 

Pretreatment is the process of preparing the garment for the water-based inks used in direct-to-garment printers. For more information, you can consult this previous blog post, The Complete Guide to DTG Printing.

The idea that white garments, even pastel or light-coloured ones, should not be pretreated is a common misconception.

Technically, you can absolutely print CMYK on a white or pastel t-shirt without pretreating it. However, if you do, you will reap many benefits. Even if when you pretreat white t-shirts. Read on, in the next section we will explain some of them.


3 – Pretreatment benefits (even on whites!)

– First, pretreatment can make the print on your white t-shirt look better. Colours and details can look more vibrant with a properly applied coat of the pretreatment solution.

– If you don’t use pretreatment, it’s much more likely that the ink will bleed a little into the fabric. Especially with fabrics that have a mixed composition.

– Also, when you pretreat white t-shirts it can increase the durability of the print when washed.

– With the right amount of pretreatment, you’ll get a perfect colour combination, sharp detail, and increase the chances of a vibrant and long-lasting print. If you need more information on all these topics and more, check out the online course.

So even though it’s not absolutely necessary to pretreat white and light garments, if you’re only using CMYK inks, it may be worth it if you do pretreat them. 

4 – Where can I learn more?

Check this online course that you may find helpful: How to Put Your Art on a t-shirt.

Also, sign up for the newsletter to grab your Free E-Book “Beginners Guide to DTG”

5 – Thanks for the questions and keep them coming!

If you have a question about DTG printing, t-Shirt design or print on demand, email it to us at

Until next time, all the best, take care and be good!

The DTGMerch Team