Care Guide: Cotton

It’s light, it’s breathable, it’s one of the most comfortable and common fabrics for clothing today. And we’ve got everything you need to know about caring for your cotton clothing right here. But first, a little background on this versatile fabric.


Cotton’s been grown and used as a material for clothing for nearly the entire length of human civilization. Bits of cotton cloth found in Mexican caves have been estimated to be 7,000 years old! Cotton was indigenous to North America, so when European colonists started putting down roots in the New World, the abundant crop quickly became essential to trade and cloth production.


Fast forward to today and cotton is still the most used fiber in the entire world. It’s currently used in the production of everything from clothing to salad dressing to industrial products! But today, we’ll focus on the type of cotton that makes up your favorite white tee.


The most important thing to remember about cotton is that it is a natural fiber. Because of its breathability and flexibility, cotton clothing will relax and stretch as you wear them. It will also shrink – and we mean shrink if you don’t care for it properly.

For every day washing, read the care label first and make sure to always follow the direction listed. You can find a handy guide to understanding care tag labels here.

A good rule of thumb for cotton is to wash it in cold water on a normal or regular setting. It’s best to air dry more delicate cotton items like undergarments and blouses. For sturdier items like jeans, pants, and blankets, use permanent press or a low heat setting to ensure items don’t shrink.

For stains, be careful using bleach or harsh chemically stain removals. It can damage the fibers of the garment, which can cause shrinking, color damage, or premature wear and tear. Your best bet is to use a gentle treatment formula or generously dilute stain removal products. Always test a little portion of the garment before applying over the whole stain.

If you dry cotton clothing on a permanent press setting and remember to pull from the dryer right after the cycle is done, you shouldn’t have a wrinkle issue with your clothes. If they need a little sprucing up with the iron, however, proceed with caution!

Ironing at high temperatures will scorch the delicate fibers and turn items an icky brownish-yellow color. For your standard iron, select a temperature of half heat capacity or less. For safety’s sake, set the iron to a lower temperature than you think necessary; you can adjust from there.

Hopefully, this guide will make it easier to appreciate and care for cotton clothing in your wardrobe. But, if you get a little busy, you can always rely on 2ULaundry to take care of your clothing for you. With personalized garment care and hypoallergenic options, our laundry pros know how to take a load off your shoulders.