Cotton washing – how to do it correctly
Put the clothes in the washing machine, set it to a normal cycle, and off you go. Well, not quite. Unfortunately, cotton washing is not quite that easy - but with the following tips, you'll be on track to wash cotton the right way every time.
How to wash cotton before first use
A new piece of clothing is exciting, and maybe you’ve been saving up to buy this special garment and want to wear it straight away. You might not want to hear it, but a little patience is worthwhile. Washing cotton before you first wear it is generally a good idea. Why? As you can imagine, other people will have touched the garment in the shop and maybe tried it on. That’s why it is more hygienic to wash the clothes before wearing them for the first time. In addition, the fibres often contain chemical residues from the manufacturing process which you’ll want to keep away from your skin. So after you’ve made sure you want to keep your garment, giving it a wash will help make sure the first time you wear it is a great experience.
It would be annoying if you have never worn the garment properly and then something goes wrong during washing, though, right? Here’s a tip to help prepare your clothes for their first wash. Pop the garment in cold, clear water for one to two days before washing it for the first time. Swish the garment every now and then and then let it air dry. If you’re wondering ‘does cotton shrink in the wash?’, worry no more! By doing this, the fabric is guaranteed not to shrink when it’s first washed!
How to wash cotton – here’s why it’s no walk in the park
Cotton is known for being easy to care for and robust. We also love the material for its comfortable feel. But if you want to wash cotton properly, there are a few things to keep in mind. Different kinds of cotton fabric require different care. That's why every garment has a care label with appropriate instructions – this is the best way to check how to wash your garment. Often, however, the label is no longer available if you’ve bought something second hand, or it is simply tedious to check each garment individually. That's why we have gathered the most important tips for you here!
How to wash 100% cotton clothes
You’ll probably already have a good laundry routine and know which detergent to use. However, it is worth separating cotton laundry specifically according to these three categories:
- Hot or boiling wash: socks, underwear, towels, and bed linen.
- Warm wash: cotton jeans and shirts
- Cold wash: clothes in very light or dark colours
Particularly intense colours wash out and bleed onto other fabrics at too high temperatures, so a cold wash is best here. We recommend Cold Power Liquids, which have been created especially for cold washes. Although in some cases cotton can be washed at boiling temperatures, you should always consider beforehand whether this is really necessary. Such high temperatures are usually only necessary for really dirty clothes or for laundry where you want to kill germs.
If you do have a smaller stain and don’t want to risk a higher temperature with your new treasured item of clothing then spot stain removal products like Sard Wonder. Simply spray on and leave for 60 seconds before you put your item into a cold wash, and, as the name suggests the results can be wonderful.
Washing polyester-cotton blends
As you just read, there are big temperature differences when washing cotton. But is your cotton shirt really 100% cotton? Checking the care label here is also important, so you know what kind of fabric you’re dealing with. If you want to wash a polyester blend, then you’ll be on the safe side with a cold wash. This also applies to other cotton mixtures with spandex or viscose.
How to wash cotton clothes – whether 100% cotton or blends
For cotton washing, you do not need a special detergent. However, as with the right temperatures, there are differences here too:
- If you’re after a long lasting fragrance then FAB detergent is suitable for hot washes.
- For colourful laundry, a colour detergent without bleach is the best choice.
- For cotton blends, we advise using a milder detergent.
- For fine materials, we also recommend the gentle wash cycle.
How to wash cotton to remove stains
Cotton is breathable and comfortable, which is due to its fibres. The fibres are porous and flexible, but unfortunately, this is also the reason why the material takes on stains more quickly than other fabrics. Deodorant stains are particularly stubborn on cotton because the material easily absorbs sweat and moisture. If you don't wash these stains out quickly, the clothing will become permanently discoloured. Yikes!
What’s more, if you don’t use a detergent that’s tough on stains these marks created by Deodorant sprays can hang around on your clothes forever. Not attractive! Dynamo detergent is a great one for the toughest stains. Pro tip: Two sprays of a pre-wash stain remover like Sard Wonder under the armpit will leave you smelling and looking fresh as.
While sweat stains are generally a problem with cotton clothing, sadly it doesn't get any easier with other types of stains. If you’re confronted with stains on cotton, we recommend you read our articles on how to remove oil stains from clothes and how to remove chocolate stains from a carpet.