How To Clean and Care for Cotton - Clothes Doctor

How To Care for Cotton

Cotton is made from natural plant fibres and can be found in a huge variety of items, but it can be costly to the environment to produce. Did you know, it can take up to 2,700 litres of water to make one cotton t-shirt? That's why we should be taking good care of our cotton, so we can keep wearing it for years without buying new.
From shirts, to undergarments, to bed linen, we're here to give you the best tips for washing and caring for cotton!
How Often To Wash Cotton
In general, cotton garments are happy to be washed quite regularly, as needed, but try to avoid over washing to keep your garments looking good for longer. It depends on the garment type as to how often to wash, but a rule of thumb would be 3-4 wears for cotton dresses, shirts, tops, every wear for underwear, but less than once per month for trousers and jeans.
  If you're keen for clean, we recommend refreshing garments between washes with a steamer, for this try our Steamer Water that can be added into your machine or can be sprayed directly onto your cotton to reduce the need for washing! Alternatively, brush away any dry stains or marks with our Natural Bristle Clothes Brush - you'd be amazed at what it can do!
Treating Stains  
Many cotton garments, for example baby clothes, can stain easily, so you'll want to treat it with the best! Our Tough Love Stain Removal is the 'Power Powder' for all your toughest stains; from mildew to red wine, we've got you! 
All you've got to do is...
  • Submerge the affected area into a bowl of warm water and add a capful of stain remover.
  • Massage gently with your fingers, or our Natural Sea Sponge, and leave to soak for an hour.
  • The stain should be lifted, but repeat this process until it has completely vanished, and then wash the garment as normal.  



Washing Cotton

Firstly, turn your garment inside out, as most of the dirt is on the inside, and this will help protect against discolouration! 

Most cotton garments can be washed at a low temperature, which is favourable to avoid shrinkage, and is more energy efficient! Use a detergent that works on low temperatures, such as our Basil & Mandarin Leaf DetergentYou might have noticed that we don't always advise you to follow the care label instructions on your garments, however for cotton garments the care label advice is usually quite accurate. Cotton is a sturdy and durable fabric but it can still shrink (though not as much as wool!), and putting it on regular hot washes unnecessarily can still cause colours to fade, and fabric to thin over time. Also, don't forget that different cotton blends can also react to heat in different ways, so if in doubt, stick with 30 degrees. 

For items like cotton towels or bed linen however, a higher temperature is recommended to prevent bodily bacteria from lingering. 

Our Signature Eco Washing Detergent is perfect for washing at low temperatures. It's non-biological, which is gentle, effective at stain removal, and free from toxins and harsh chemicals. It cleans and nourishes your garments again and again - perfect.


 Top Tip: If you're looking for something even more gentle, our Eco Wash For Baby is perfect for little ones, and people with sensitive skin, as it's been specially formulated to be free from irritants. 

Drying and Storing Cotton

We recommend air drying cotton garments, rather than machine drying, to reduce chances of shrinkage or excessive wrinkling. Towels, sheets and kitchen linens can be machine dried, as they are more durable and less likely to wrinkle. 

Top Tip: Hanging cotton clothes to dry (or to finish drying after a machine dry) means they'll need little, or no, ironing!

Top Tip: To keep white cotton white, hang to dry in sunlight so the sun's UV rays can naturally bleach the fabric. However, hang coloured cotton out of direct sunlight to avoid colour fading!

Storing cotton on hangers is the best way to prevent wrinkling, especially for shirts and trousers - so we recommend you hang them in the wardrobe. Because cotton is so durable, it shouldn't misshape or warp from being sorted on hangers, like some wool garments might, for example. While moths love cashmere and silk more, they still like a nibble on cotton, so pop a natural moth repellent scent bag in the wardrobe to protect them.

Just like that, your cotton garments are looking and feeling fabulous - and you've helped the environment too. 

For more expert clothing care tips explore more of our blogs. For our whole range of detergentsmiststools and accessories that are perfect for every type of fabric, explore our whole range.


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