Washing an Autographed Shirt?

My 10 year old grandson went to a local college basketball game and all the cheerleaders signed his T-shirt. Is there any way to seal the writing so it doesn't come off in the wash? I suggested going over the writing with fabric paint, but he really wants to keep it the way it is. Thanks.


By Sue Mahar from Albany, NY

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March 10, 20070 found this helpful
Best Answer

Don't wash it because you will lose the autograph and that will be a shame. Framing it is the best way.

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By penny (Guest Post)
March 13, 20071 found this helpful
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Spray with craftgard. Get it at JoAnn fabrics. It works great. Just spray, let dry and wash.

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March 13, 20070 found this helpful
Best Answer

If it's really that important for you to wash it, why not coat the autograph first with a clear coat of clear fabric paint or fabric medium.

*** But first take another similar piece of fabric, then sign your name to the test shirt with a sharpie, then coat it with the clear coat, let it dry for at least a day, then wash the test fabric in cold water, gentle cycle first, Just to make sure the technique works!


DO NOT DRY-CLEAN ! as this will most surely remove the autograph!

---> When my son was a teenager, he got an autograph of his favorite pro aggressive inline skater. (signed with a black sharpie) Every time I washed that shirt, the autograph faded a little bit.

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By Autumn (Guest Post)
March 14, 20070 found this helpful
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I wouldn't wash it. Sharpie will fade or disappear completely. If you must wash it, handwash with no soap or gentle stuff like Woolite and do not put in the dryer.

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March 24, 20070 found this helpful
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Can you or someone you know "sew" the autograph on? I mean, stitch over it with black thread to make it more permanent? I know some shops have embroidery machines that do script but I'm not sure if they could customize the script.


Good luck

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January 22, 20101 found this helpful
Best Answer

Assuming she signed it with a sharpie, it should be OK to wash it as those are very permanent markers. However, if it wasn't or you really aren't sure, you can very carefully trace over with a fine tip sharpie marker to ensure it's colorfastness. I would just to be safe, also wash in cold water. My daughter had her entire volley ball team sign her shirt in her last year of Jr. High, it has seen many, many, many washings since then and even now in her senior year signatures are still intact.

I would suggest however, if this is really a keepsake, to limit wearing it, or just have it framed now while it is still in like new condition. Fabric's do have a limited life expectancy, and while the signature will remain, the garment on the whole may fade, or show signs of wear. Good luck!

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March 22, 20102 found this helpful
Best Answer

As the owner of a a t-shirt supply company that sells t-shirts to schools, that are signed by students in permanent marker, this is the way we have been preserving signatures for years. Our way of preserving signatures that have been signed in permanent marker is to "set" the ink from the marker with a very warm iron, (prior to washing) but be careful to not get it to hot that you scorch or discolor the shirt. The heat sets in the "autograph" and will be there wash after wash provided you wash in cold water and tumble dry low heat.


The iron is preferred as long as there are no commercially printed ink graphics on it that may melt.

One other suggestion is to tumble in a Dryer for 15 minutes on high heat setting. This also works to preserve the ink. Prior to being washed for the first time after signing,. But I'm sure you may have already washed the shirt. But maybe not. If not, there are also t-shirt frames that can be purchased online form such places as E-bay, etc do a google search on this subject. Many Many a teenager has preserved their signed concert t-shirts this way, well displayed, but never to be worn.

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January 19, 20100 found this helpful

Hand wash in a sink without soap. Use cold water. The best thing to do is put the shirt on display and don't wear it except for special events.


Someone else might have a better suggestion, for cleaning it, because I am giving an educated guess based on lots of things. But that is what I would do.

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