5 hints for washing cotton clothes to keep them pristine

November 16, 2014

It's easy to make cotton clothes last longer with a little bit of care.To keep yours pristine, here arefive hints for washing cotton clothes you should know.
Cotton is a common fabric source for towels, sheets, lingerie and almost every kind of apparel. Before you wash a garment, always check the manufacturer’s care label for special instructions. If you want to absolutely prevent any shrinkage, cotton is best washed by hand. This isn’t practical for most people, so follow these general guidelines when washing cotton clothing.

1. Sort your laundry

  • Always wash like colors together to prevent fabric dyes from bleeding into lighter colored clothing.
  • Colored cotton is especially prone to shrinkage, so choose a cold-water setting.
  • Heavier fabrics or dark pieces, like denim, can also be washed in cold water to preserve color.
  • Towels and sheets are heavy and can beat up other clothing in the washing machine. These should be washed together.

2. Always pretreat stains

If possible, try to remove a stain as soon as it happens by dabbing with club soda or plain sparkling water.

  • Don’t rub the stain, as you may push it deeper into the fabric.
  • If the stain has already dried, pretreat with a stain remover solvent or scrub with a small amount of liquid detergent and water before washing. (A clean toothbrush is a handy tool to use for stain removal.)
  • Chlorine bleach can yellow some cotton items, particularly denim. Opt for oxygenated bleach or distilled white vinegar to brighten whites as needed.

3. Choose an appropriate temperature

Refer to the manufacturer’s care label for special instructions.

  • Hot water can shrink or fade many cotton fabrics, but towels and sheets should be washed in hot water to kill any bacteria.
  • Finely woven cottons or linens may require a more delicate wash and spin cycle.

4. Select a suitable detergent

Regular laundry detergent will suffice for the average load of cotton laundry. Unless you’re washing cotton sweaters, lingerie or other delicate fabrics, there’s no need to use a special detergent.

  • Badly soiled garments may require soaking.
  • Oxygenated bleach is a good alternative to chlorine bleach. Add an extra rinse cycle to a load when using bleach.

5. Let it thoroughly dry

With the exception of towels and sheets, dryer heat can shrink most cotton fabrics, especially if they are allowed to dry too long.

  • Air-dry denim, sweaters, linens and delicates.
  • Remove any water from sweaters by rolling in a towel and lie flat to dry.
  • For all other cotton apparel, tumble dry on a low to medium setting.
  • Remove from dryer immediately to prevent wrinkles.
  • If necessary, use a low heat setting to iron cotton garments.

Using extra care when you wash cotton will preserve the lifespan of your clothing. Clothes will retain their natural softness and vibrant color, without looking faded and worn.

5 hints for washing cotton clothes to keep them pristine
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