Direct-to-garment printing is sexy. Pretreating, however, is an unsexy yet necessary evil for printing white ink. Despite its unattractive reputation, pretreating helps white ink adhere and gel on a shirt while creating an underbase for the additional ink layers. Pretreating also aids in the ink’s wash durability through repeated cycles.
Still, most direct-to-garment users don’t pretreat white or light-colored garments that don’t require white ink. This is completely normal as most ink sets are designed to adhere to and work best with 100 percent cotton, alleviating any need to pretreat. That’s because pretreatment is only for white ink printing, right? Not so fast.