The Ultimate Guide How To Wash 100% Cotton Clothes

Cotton is a fabric that can be used in many different ways. You can find it in just about everything, from t-shirts and socks to bedding and dishrags. Since there is so much cotton around, you should know how to wash 100% cotton.

You can wash items made of 100% cotton by hand or in a machine. The best ways to keep clothes from shrinking, wrinkling, and fading are to wash them in cool water, use mild detergent, and let them dry in the air. For heavier things, like towels, you can also wash them in hot water and dry them in the dryer.

Cotton tends to shrink and get wrinkles, but that doesn’t mean it’s hard to take care of. When you know what to do, it’s easy to take care of your 100% cotton clothes. In this guide, Teeanime will teach you how to take care of your cotton clothes and other textiles around the house like a pro.

Can You Machine Wash 100% Cotton?

100% cotton products can be washed in the washing machine, but be careful with the settings. Cotton shrinks when exposed to high temperatures. Use a gentle laundry detergent and a cool water cycle.

There are also different varieties of cotton that require slightly different maintenance. Cotton can be knitted or woven. The threads used to produce the fabric vary in a variety of sizes. The washing cycle you should choose is affected by the type of stitching, garment construction, dye or print pattern, and decorations.

Carefully follow the instructions on the clothing tag. When in doubt, utilize a soft cycle rather than a normal or heavy-duty wash. Towels and dishrags can withstand a more harsh cycle, but clothing should be treated with care.

Can You Machine Dry 100% Cotton?

You can dry 100% cotton in the dryer, but you should remove the goods while they are still damp. Because too much heat will shrink your clothing, choose a low-heat or permanent press setting. Cotton wrinkles easily when over-dried, which is why a permanent press setting is useful.

As with washing, the more heat and drier time you can give your cotton products, the better. Dishrags and towels can last longer if you don’t mind them shrinking or losing some of their color. Too much heat can also cause cotton textiles to fade faster than they would otherwise, depending on the dye kind.

Air-drying 100% cotton items is the most effective approach to keep them looking and feeling great for as long as possible. When they’re damp, hang them on a clothesline or put them out on a drying rack to assist prevent wrinkling.

Lightweight cotton goods, such as t-shirts or socks, can be hung up without any difficulty. Cotton sweaters and dresses, for example, may need to be reshaped before drying.

Also, keep in mind where you’re drying stuff. White cotton will not fade in the sun. UV rays, on the other hand, aren’t simply hazardous for your skin; they can also degrade the colors on your cotton clothing. Hang your colorful cotton inside or in the shade to dry, even if it takes longer. It will aid in the longevity of the garment.

What Temperature to Wash Cotton?

Cotton goods should be washed in lukewarm or cold water in most cases. Cold water helps to keep colors vibrant and cloth from shrinking. Hot water will not shrink cotton goods as quickly as a hot dryer, but it will fade colors and limit the life of the garment.

Hot water, on the other hand, is recommended for extremely filthy things, especially those that may contain germs or bacteria. The hot water will assist in killing the germs and rinsing them from the fabric. This is especially true for products such as kitchen towels or bath towels. It is critical to keep these objects germ-free, especially if someone in your household is unwell or at danger of becoming sick.

If you’re using a washing machine, the cycle speed is more crucial than the temperature. To determine the recommended speed, carefully read the garment tags. Thinner textiles and goods with decorations or embellishments, in general, should be washed on softer cycles than heavy-duty products.

Does 100% Cotton Shrink in the Wash?

The dryer is more likely to shrink 100% cotton than the washing machine. Heat is the primary reason for cotton shrinkage. The fabric might get a little smaller when you wash it in hot water, but you can stretch the fibers back to their original shape and size while it’s still wet.

But drying 100% cotton at high heat shrinks the fibers and makes it hard to get them back to their original size.

The amount of tension in the threads is what makes cotton shrink. During the making process, the cotton fibers are stretched out of shape. When you wash cotton, it soaks up water, which causes the fibers to get bigger and loosen up. Without the tension in the threads, the fiber can shrink back to the size it was before it was stretched.

If you dry cotton at high heat when it is at its original, un-stretched size, it is more likely to stay that way than if you let it air dry. As the water in the fabric evaporates, the tension returns, and the garment stays the same size. Because of this, items made of 100% cotton should be taken out of the dryer while they are still damp.

Whether or not the cotton was already shrunk before it was made affects how much it shrinks. Cotton that has already been shrunk will only shrink about 5%, but cotton that hasn’t been shrunk can shrink by 20%. Pre-shrinking, also called “sanforizing,” is a protective process that manufacturers use to make it less likely that something will shrink, but it doesn’t mean it won’t shrink at all. Even if a garment’s tag says it has already been shrunk, you should still be careful when washing it.

How to Wash 100% Cotton Without Shrinking It

Even though 100% cotton tends to shrink, it can still be washed without getting damaged. Taking care of 100% cotton is easy, whether you use a washing machine or do your laundry by hand.

Washing Machine

You should treat any stains on your cotton pieces before putting them in the washing machine (more on this later!). You shouldn’t wash a stained item before you treat it, or you could make the stain last longer.

Next, choose the best laundry soap for your clothes. Most detergents are good for washing cotton. If you have clothes that are very dirty, you might want to use a high-performance detergent. Use a delicate wash on things that are fragile or have bright colors to keep them from getting faded or broken.

But the temperature and cycle of the water are more important than the type of soap. Use cold water for things with bright colors or that are fragile. For everything else, use lukewarm or tap-water cool water. Use hot water only on things that are very dirty or things you use often, like towels and rags.

Most clothes made of 100% cotton can be washed in the normal way. If your clothes are very thin or fragile, you may need a gentle cycle. Check the tag to see what kind of cycle to use, and if you’re not sure, choose a gentler one.

Hand Wash

If you want to wash your 100% cotton clothes by hand, you’ll need a large sink or basin where you can fully submerge them. Fill the sink with warm or cool water and the laundry soap of your choice. Then, put the clothes in the water.

Using a detergent that doesn’t need to be rinsed can make handwashing easier because you won’t have to spend time rinsing the clothes. But if you don’t mind spending more time doing laundry, any mild detergent will do.

Move the clothes around in the basin and let them soak for a while. The directions for the laundry detergent will tell you how long the clothes need to be in the water before you drain the water and rinse the clothes. If you use a detergent that doesn’t need to be rinsed, squeeze out the extra water and hang your clothes to dry, reshaping them as needed.

If you aren’t using a detergent that doesn’t need to be rinsed, fill up the sink with cool water. Turn the clothes around again until there are no more bubbles of soap. If you need to, pour off the water and rinse again. Then gently squeeze out the water and hang the clothes to dry.

What Is the Best Detergent for Cotton Clothes?

Most detergents work well with 100 percent cotton. Cotton is a natural fiber that is easy to clean and doesn’t have some of the problems that other natural or man-made fibers do.

Cotton is a cellulose plant fiber, not a protein fiber like silk or wool. This means that the enzymes in regular laundry detergent that damage silk and wool won’t hurt cotton. Cotton can also absorb up to 30% of its weight in water, which is a lot more than synthetic fibers, so you don’t need to use the same heavy-duty formulas on cotton as you do on polyester.

Laundry detergent helps fabric fibers absorb water, and the movement of the washing machine (or your hands, if you wash by hand) helps get dirt and debris out of the fabric. Since cotton is already so absorbent, detergent doesn’t help it much.

Most laundry detergent has enzymes that break down food stains and body fluids like sweat so they can be washed away. This is important for synthetics, but cotton doesn’t need it unless it’s very dirty. In the end, the best detergent for cotton clothes is one made for cold water, since that will help keep the colors from fading.

How to Treat Stains on 100% Cotton

The best way to get rid of a stain is to deal with it right away. If you get to a 100% cotton stain quickly enough, you can usually wash it out with water and regular laundry detergent. If the stain is strong, like grass, mud, or red wine, you might need to use a stronger cleaner.

Oxygen-based bleach is the best way to get rid of stains on clothes made of 100% cotton. It works on both white and colored clothes, and it works slowly, which is better for the fibers. Follow the directions on the oxygen bleach package to soak the stained item in water and oxygen bleach as soon as possible after getting it stained. Then wash as you usually do.

100% cotton stains can also be removed with chlorine-based bleach. But it makes the fibers weaker, which can cause tears or fraying. Bleach stains will also show up on colored fabrics, so chlorine bleach should only be used on whites.

If you must use chlorine bleach, first mix it with a lot of water. This will help protect the fibers from some of the damage. Even if the bleach is diluted, though, too much of it will wear down the cotton fibers and make holes.

Should You Iron 100% Cotton?

100% cotton clothes tend to get wrinkled, especially if you dry them in a dryer. Luckily, it’s safe to iron clothes that are made of 100% cotton.

When ironing cotton clothes, especially white ones, use a low to medium heat setting. It’s easy to burn cotton, which makes the fabric look yellow. Turn the item inside out before ironing it for the best results.

The fabric can also be protected from too much heat by using a pressing cloth. If the garment is very wrinkled, you can also spray it with water to add more steam. Iron in the direction of the fabric’s grain, and check under the pressing cloth every so often to make sure you’re not hurting the fabric.

How to Make 100% Cotton Last

Cotton fibers last longer and are less likely to be damaged by bugs than animal fibers. They stay in shape longer than man-made fibers, and if you wash them right, they can look like new for years.

The best way to store cotton without wrinkles is to hang it up or fold it. Keep it in a dresser or closet where the temperature and humidity stay the same. Plastic bins and other airtight containers should be avoided because they can trap dust and moisture, which can damage the fibers over time.

Cotton lasts a long time. But the best way to make it last is to wash it gently and store it well.

Tips for Washing 100% Cotton

Whether you wash by machine or by hand, the most important thing to remember is to keep the temperature cool. The size, shape, and color of your 100% cotton items will be changed by high heat.

Turning clothes inside out and doing small loads of laundry are also good ways to keep clothes clean and safe. Most cotton clothes can be worn a few times before they need to be washed, as long as you don’t wear them next to your skin.

Lastly, you don’t need a fabric softener to make cotton soft. The fibers will loosen up and get softer over time, but they won’t lose their strength or shape. Fabric softener, on the other hand, won’t hurt the fibers. So if you can’t wait for your cotton to be soft enough to wear next to your skin, go ahead and add it.


Even though 100% cotton might shrink, it’s easy to wash. As long as you don’t expose cotton to high heat, it can handle almost anything without getting ruined. Remember that the nicer you are to your clothes, the longer they will last.