How To Remove Printed Labels From T-Shirts


If you have a t-shirt that you want to remove the printed label from, you need to know how to do it in a way that won’t damage the rest of the fabric or ruin the t-shirt. Fortunately, there are a few methods!

There are a few different methods that you can use to remove printed labels from t-shirts, but the most popular and reliable one is nail polish remover. You can also use things like an iron, sugar scrub, or using cold water to rinse the design out before it has dried.

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Getting rid of printing from a shirt can be tricky, depending on how the printing was made, so it’s worth trying a few different methods. You’ll find some top tips below.

How To Remove Printed Labels From T-Shirts

There are many different methods that you can use for trying to remove the printing from a t-shirt, including:

  • Nail polish remover
  • Cold water (if the ink is still wet)
  • Sugar scrub
  • An iron
  • Fading the design

You should make sure that you don’t ever put any bleach on the shirt, as this will strip all of the colors out of it. It will likely remove the printing, but it will also remove the main dye of the shirt. It may even destroy the fabric if you use strong bleach; it could end up in holes and unwearable, so bleach should be avoided.

The other options may also damage the fabric in some circumstances, so you should only use them if you are really determined to get the dye out and prepared for the shirt to be spoiled. In general, they should work without damaging the fabric, but be aware of this possibility, just in case.

You should also check the heat tolerance of the shirt before you put something like iron on it, as some shirts will not tolerate being ironed, and will shrink or warp. Others should cope well with the heat.

1. Use Nail Polish Remover

Nail polish remover is by far the most popular and commonly used trick for getting the printed label out of a shirt, and it is also something that many households will have access to. If you don’t have any, you can purchase them cheaply at many different stores, so this is a great option if you’re trying to get the label out of a shirt.

You will need:

  • Cotton swabs
  • Nail polish remover


  1. Soak a cotton ball in some nail polish remover.
  2. Dab the cotton ball against a part of the fabric that is not very obvious, and then inspect the area for damage.
  3. If no damage occurs, rub the cotton ball across the design, covering all areas of it.
  4. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then gently use your fingernail to lift the edge of the design.
  5. Peel off as much of the design as you can. Dab on a little more nail varnish remover if necessary.
  6. Wash the shirt.

Don’t use this method on a shirt that is more than 50 percent polyester, as it will melt the fabric and cause too much damage. It should work well on cotton or natural fabric but test it first if possible.

2. Use Cold Water

Use Cold Water

If your design is still wet because you’re making the shirt yourself, this is the best option. As soon as you realize that you have made an error in the design, rinse the shirt with cold water, preferably in your washing machine if it has a cold rinse option. If not, wash the shirt by hand.

The water should help to lift the ink out of the fabric, but make sure that you use cold. Heat will cause the ink to set and prevent you from getting it out easily.

3. Use Sugar Scrub

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A good alternative if you can’t use nail varnish remover and the ink has set is sugar scrub. It tends to be most effective with new designs, but it will sometimes work with ones that are more thoroughly set.

You will need:

  • A tablespoon of sugar
  • A soft cloth


  1. Spread your t-shirt out on a flat surface.
  2. Sprinkle the sugar across the design.
  3. Take your cloth and use it to rub the sugar into the design, working gently but firmly to try to shift the ink.
  4. Wash the item in cold water and see if you have got the design out. If necessary, repeat the process to take out any remaining ink.

4. Use An Iron

This works well on items of clothing that have a heat transferred design, rather than for screen printing.

You will need:

  • An iron
  • An iron-safe surface
  • 2 spare towels
  • A scraper


  1. Place your t-shirt on a flat surface with a towel inside to protect the fabric.
  2. Lightly wet the second towel and place it on top of the design.
  3. Iron the design through the towel, pressing gently. Listen for a fizzing noise, and lift the iron off as soon as the fizzing sound stops.
  4. Use a knife or a scraper to gently scrape the print off the shirt. You can also use your fingers and your nails. Keep scratching and scraping until the design stops coming off easily.
  5. Repeat the process, ironing over a wet towel and then lifting the towel off and scraping at the design until it is all gone.

Do make sure that you check the heat tolerance of your t-shirt before you put an iron on it. Even with the protection of the towels, a t-shirt might be damaged by an iron that is too hot, and you don’t want to melt the fabric.


Removing printed labels from clothes can be a challenge, but it’s perfectly possible if you use the right method. Where possible, test an inconspicuous part of the fabric with your chosen method first before you try it on the main design to reduce the risk of ruining the shirt.