how to remove print from shirt with iron

How To Remove Print From a Shirt With an Iron

Have you ever had screen printing, vinyl, screen print, transfer paper, heat transfer vinyl, or metallic heat transfer vinyl from a graphic tee transferred onto another shirt? It can be unpleasant, but there’s an easy fix using a common household item – an iron! With some heat and pressure from an iron plus a cloth buffer, you can remove pesky prints from shirts easily.

Gather Your Supplies

To start, you’ll need to gather just a few supplies:

  • Iron – A standard iron set to medium-high heat will do the trick. Avoid using the steam setting, which can set the print you’re trying to remove.
  •  Ironing board – This provides a flat surface to iron on.
  •  Plain white cloth or parchment paper – These will be placed over the print area to prevent transferring it to the iron plate. White works best to absorb the print.

Prep the T-Shirt

Once you’ve got your supplies, prep the t-shirt, garment, shirt, cotton fabric:

  • Lay it flat on the ironing board with the front of the shirt and print facing up. Stretch it gently so the print area is smooth.
  •  Place the white cloth or a few layers of wax paper over the printed area. Make sure to cover the print you want to remove completely.

Heat the Iron and Press

Heat the Iron and Press
Photo credit: freepik

Here’s where the magic happens!

  • Heat your iron to a medium or medium-high temperature, heat. Avoid the highest heat, which can scorch or tear delicate fabrics.
  •  Once hot, firmly press the iron down over the print area and hold for 30 seconds. Apply steady downward pressure as you iron back and forth.
  •  The heat from the iron will start to lift the plastisol ink and screen printing ink from the fabric and absorb it into the cloth or paper buffer.

Check and Re-Press

After 30 seconds of pressing, lift the cloth or paper towel to check that the print has transferred.

  • If it’s a light print, it may come up after just one 30-second press.
  • To obtain a dense or dark print, put a new piece of cloth or parchment paper and apply pressure again for 30 seconds. Repeat as many times as needed until the print is fully removed.

Tips for Tricky Prints

Certain types of prints may need extra coaxing to lift from the fabric fully. Here are some tips:

  • For thick or dark prints, try pre-treating the area with hairspray. Let it soak in for 5 minutes before ironing. The hairspray helps loosen the print.
  •  Avoid using steam while ironing, which can actually set the print dye into the shirt.
  •  Don’t try ironing directly over vinyl or plastic-based prints or decals. The plastic can melt, making a bigger mess. Use a cloth and gently scrape off the decals instead.

Alternative Removal Methods

If ironing doesn’t remove the print entirely, try these other techniques:

  • Dab a small amount of acetone, nail polish remover, or rubbing alcohol on the print using a cotton ball. Check frequently, as this can damage synthetic fabrics.
  •  For plastisol prints, apply plastisol remover and let sit before scrubbing gently with a soft brush. Rinse thoroughly.
  •  Place print-side down on a heating surface like an ironing board, heat press, or even outdoor pavement in the hot sun. The high heat can help loosen the print.


What is the easiest way to remove paint from a shirt?

An iron with a cloth or paper towel buffer is the easiest and most accessible method. The heat helps lift the print dye.

What temperature should I set the iron to?

A medium to medium-high setting, around 300°F to 325°F works best. Avoid the highest temperatures that may damage fabrics..

How long should I press the iron on the print?

Press for 30 seconds, then check if the print has lifted. Repeat pressing 30-second increments as needed.

Can I use steam while ironing to remove the print?

No, steam can set the print dye more plunging into the fabric. Avoid using steam.

How do I remove plastic-based or vinyl prints?

Don’t iron directly on these. Use a cloth and gently scrape off the decal instead.


Removing unwanted graphic tee print transfers doesn’t have to be a pain! With the right supplies and techniques, that annoying print can be lifted with something you likely already own – a good old household iron. Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips for removing screen printing, heat transfer, or other prints from shirts and fabrics!


Main image: freepik

Priti Nandy
Priti Nandy
Articles: 168

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