From socks to bed sheets to our favorite t-shirts, cotton is one of the fabrics we encounter most in daily life. We can’t seem to get enough of it, and for good reason, as it is comfortable, versatile, affordable, and simple to care for. But don’t let that last point fool you… without the right attention, your cotton items are highly susceptible to shrinkage, fading, and other damage that could render them unusable.
Keep your cotton clothing looking sharp with a fewbasic care tips, and we know you’ll be looking fresh every time you step out in them.
First Step: Read the Label!– This might sound silly for a basic cotton tee, but it’s necessary. First and foremost, search for the manufacturer recommendations regarding factors such as suggested water temperature, washing with like colors, or if dry cleaning is needed.
Stain Removal – It’s important to act quickly when it comes to removing stains or they can become a permanent part of your ensemble. That said, it’s just as important to be aware that each article of clothing is different from the next and may react differently to products. When using a stain removal product on cotton clothes, patch test a small area on the inside seam before applying to make sure it won’t strip the color from your clothes.
Be Careful With Bleach – We all know chlorine bleach is a powerful chemical. Never use undiluted bleach on your clothes, as it will break down the fibers and reduce the quality of your clothes over time. Opt for bleach-free stain-fighting products when possible for whitening needs.
Sort Properly -- By separating your clothes into groups based on type, weight, and color, it’s easy to use the appropriate corresponding detergent or water temperature.
Mind the Temperature – As a general rule of thumb, colder water will help preserve colors, but towels and sheets should be washed in warmer water to rid the fabric of any bacteria.
Don’t Go Overboard on Detergent – Too much detergent can actually break down fibers in your clothes and cause premature deterioration. Excess detergent can also leave behind residue. Measure the proper amount (according to bottle instructions) and stick to it.
Over-Drying Is Damaging – On a cold morning, it might feel great to pull a warm shirt out of the dryer, but this should be avoided as often as possible because it only serves to accelerate shrinking and fading. If you must speed up the drying process, try to remove your clothes when they are still a bit damp and finish by hang-drying. Hang dry whenever possible, as it is generally the safest drying method.
Tips and Tricks
As an added bonus, here are a fewhacks to help you in times of desperate need:
Un-shrink a Shirt – It happens. When your cotton clothes come out of the laundry cycle much smaller than when they went in, soak the article of clothing in hot water mixed with hair conditioner for a few minutes. This allows the fibers to relax, and you may be able to gently pull it closer back to its proper size.
Quick Wrinkle Reducer – When you are short on time but need to look sharp ASAP, bring your shirt with you into the bathroom while you shower and get ready. Close the bathroom door, leave it hanging outside of the shower, and let the steam work a bit of magic as it fills the room.
Let us give you a few pointers on how to organize your closet, and get things put away in a way that is easy to access and is also nice to look at. No matter how you store your clothes and accessories, after this holiday season you'll be sure to have to tighten things up.