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How to wash cotton clothes

man checking clothes before entering them into the washing machine

Put the clothes in the washing machine, set it to a normal cycle and off you go. Well, not quite. Unfortunately, washing cotton 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 right 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 store and maybe tried it on. That’s why it is better to wash the clothes before wearing them for the first time. 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.

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 secondhand, or it is simply tedious to check each garment individually. That's why we have gathered the most important tips for you here!

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How to wash 100% cotton clothes

You probably already have a good laundry routine and know how to dose detergent properly.

First, we recommend separating colored clothing from white clothing.

Bright colors can wash out and bleed onto other fabrics at too-high temperatures, so a cold wash is best here. White clothing can also be washed in cold water, but if your whites are stained or dirty, you can also wash them in warm or hot water.

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 rayon.

How to wash cotton clothes—whether 100% cotton or blends

To wash cotton, you do not need a special detergent—a-high-quality one like Persil® Original Scent Liquid Detergent will usually be what you need. However, as with the right temperatures, there are differences here too:

  • A universal detergent is suitable for hot washes.
  • For colorful laundry, a detergent without bleach is the best choice.
  • 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 fibers. The fibers 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 discolored. Yikes!

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 coffee stains, how to remove red wine stains and how to remove chocolate stains.