Printing Apparel With Water Based Inks. Why?

Ecoastal Wear is committed to being an Eco-Friendy Apparel Company. I mean it is in our name after all, Ecoastal Wear!

When we started Ecoastal Wear Apparel we wanted everything about our apparel line to fit in the Eco-Friendly category. Whether it was from lowering our impact by not shipping apparel and fabric across the globe and only selling apparel that is USA made. Or using Organic Cotton in our American Made Organic T that uses no chemicals and much less water in farming over conventional cotton farming. We later added an RPET Jogger Pant that uses 50% Organic Cotton and 50% RPET which is a polyester made from recycled water bottles, these Joggers are incredibly soft and comfortable. Every item we add to our collection is carefully thought out.  

So now we have all this great eco-friendly apparel, what about our custom designs, tagless label, and logos? How do we get these great prints on our custom apparel and stay eco-friendly? Well, when looking for options for printing on our apparel we found that most if not all of the options used a printing process that involved petroleum based products. This obviously doesn't fit in with what we are trying to accomplish. So, we made the choice of Eco over Profit! We brought our printing in-house and committed to using only water based inks, it costs us more but worth it! We have greater control over the products that go into our clothing, designs, and inventory. 

So why water based inks? Let's break it down:

  • Better for the environment! Water based inks are made from natural materials and the base solvent used in the ink is, well......Water! Water based inks have no plastics in them like most other inks (Plastisol is the most commonly used ink for apparel screen printing). No plastics means no petroleum or fossil fuels went into creating the ink. Since water based inks are water soluble, this means clean up is chemical free as well. The entire process is changed from one that is known for being chemically heavy and damaging to one that is chemical free and doesn't pollute.
  • The feel of the garment is better! Water based inks actually dye the fabric, Plastisol sits on top of the garment. Have you ever put on a graphic T-Shirt and it felt like you had a bullet proof shield on the front of your shirt? Well, that's plastisol and that thick heavy plastic feeling on your shirt is, you guessed it, plastic. It is layered on top of the shirt and the complexity and number of colors determine how thick that layer is. Since water based inks actually dye the fabric the hand or feel is much different and usually unnoticeable. There are times however that a white under base is required to print on darker colored garments but the feel is still much softer. 
  • Better Detail and Higher Quality! We can produce much higher quality and detail of prints using water based inks. Since the ink is thinner we typically use a higher mesh screen which equals finer detail and with the ink being water based it goes deeper into the fabric and produces a higher quality print. 

I will say it's not all unicorns, kittens, and puppies using water based inks, it does have its challenges. It's a little more difficult to work with being much thinner, it's more expensive than plastisol, production can be slower as the ink tends to dry on the screen and it takes longer to dry and cure the ink after printing. But the quality, feel and environmentally friendly properties make water based inks the only method of printing Ecoastal Wear uses. 

We hope you enjoy not only the quality of Ecoastal Wear apparel but the thought that has gone into every detail. We have many new styles coming including a line of USA Made performance apparel for Golf and Fishing, stay tuned!

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