Cotton is the most used and worn fabric on the planet. It’s breathable and comfortable. Maybe you’re even wearing it right now while reading this. Often we just throw our cotton clothes into the washing machine, hoping for the best as long as we don’t mix up crazy colours and don’t wash them with super hot water. What else should we pay attention to?
We have already had a look at the cotton production with all its benefits and detriments in our fabric index. Today we wander into another google rabbit hole for the cotton care guide to give you all the tea about the natural fabric and how to properly care for it.
ALWAYS CHECK THE LABELS
Before ever washing any of your clothes carefully check all the labels to see what type of wash is best for your specific clothing item. Cotton is very versatile, fairly easy to clean and to keep in good shape as long as you follow the most important steps.
SEPARATE DIFFERENT COLOURS
This is also a no-brainer. Don’t mix up crazy colours with your white or black clothes and vice versa. This is important to maintain the colour quality and finish of your garments so you don’t end up with pastel pink socks – even though those would probably look cute!
CHECK THE TEMPERATURE
Wash your cotton items in cold or warm water. Most of the times a washing temperature between 30° and 40° is best. Hot water should be used only when necessary as it may cause shrinking or fading of your clothing. Cotton is known for shrinking quite fast, so keep that in mind!
PRE-WASH & STAIN TREATMENT
While it’s not necessary, pre-washing often helps with stain treatment. If you have accidentally stained a cotton garment use a coloursafe stain remover or stick to treat the stain before washing. You can also use some washing detergent to rub on the affected area as a form of pre-treatment. In case the stain is still relatively fresh turn around your clothing item and wash the stain with some cold tap water. If none of that helps, make sure to use your washing machine’s pre-washing cycle to fully get rid of dirt and stains. Pre-washing ensures that all of your clothes get soaked and wet. Don’t use too much detergent, though, and make sure to use cooler temperatures. Sewers also often use this step to avoid ‘bleeding’ of colourful cotton fabrics before mixing them with other fabrics. This ensures that colours don’t affect the quality of the end result after washing. So, if you’re not a sewer, gladly skip this step for your washing routine, especially if you want to save water.
Home remedies like vinegar, baking soda or lemon juice – the list goes on – are also helpful when trying to remove stains. Additionally, they also function as whiteners if you don’t want to use bleach. Simply add some distilled white vinegar into your fabric softener dispenser or into the drum of your washing machine.
AIR DRYING TO SAVE ENERGY
The advice on how to correctly dry cotton garments seems to differ online. While you can air dry cotton fabrics you can also machine dry them. Never machine dry clothes which are still stained as the heat can make the stains become permanent. When tumble drying use moderate to low heat and don’t let your clothes fully dry. Air drying seems to be an important step either way and it’s more environmentally friendly as it saves energy! Cotton is known to stretch, so hanging the clothes in a particular way can ensure longevity! Did you know it’s best to hang your jeans from the legs down, because the waistband is heavier? If you’re like us and love a good wikihow, awkward pics included, you should check this one out for more tips!
IRONING – CAN YOU TAKE THE HEAT?
Remember using heat can make stains permanent, so make sure your clothes are clean when ironing them. Because cotton is a strong fabric you can iron it at high temperatures, moderate heat should usually be enough, though. As cotton sometimes still ends up with smaller wrinkles even after ironing, you can try ironing your garment from the inside first. Do you remember that saying something along the lines of “save the environment, shower with your partner”? If you want to top that, hang your wrinkled cotton clothes in your bathroom the next time you’re taking a hot shower. That’ll do the job!
STORE YOUR COTTON CORRECTLY
Cotton is a natural fabric just like linen, wool and silk and therefore absorbs odors and oils. Don’t let dirty clothes lie around for too long as that is a feast for silverfish and other little creatures hiding in your room. Make sure to also clean your closet from time to time. On top, cotton creases easily, so it is best to store your cotton garments by hanging rather than folding. Last but not least, don’t forget to use mothballs to ensure moths don’t nibble on your clothes.