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Image courtesy: Debabrata Nandi

Caring for Cotton

  • More detergent does not mean cleaner clothes. In fact, excess soap can even damage cotton garments beyond repair, at the very least provide sites for dirt to attach itself to the fabric. Make it a point to follow your detergent manufacturers instructions for recommended amounts to use when laundering.
  • Please, for your favorite T-shirts sake, follow care label directions for washing and drying temperatures. Always avoid using extremely hot temperatures, this will help you reduce shrinkage.
  • Hand wash in a good soft detergent or machine wash on a soft cycle. Wash your clothes inside out to prevent the color from fading. Try not to use bleach as it can weaken the cotton fibers. If, you must, use sparingly. Do not use silicon based fabric softeners. Silicon is a water repellent and will leave a waxy film on your clothes during the drying process.
  • Make sure stains are thoroughly removed before placing garments in the dryer. Dryer heat sets stains. Keep away from direct sunlight to prevent fading or discoloration. Use spray starch or a steam iron after wash. Wash whites and colored clothes separately. Let your whites stay white. Avoid using bleach when washing. And bleach does not always make whites whiter. If you are unlucky, a white shirt may even turn a dirty yellow or grey.
  • Make sure you read the wash instructions on the labels of your clothes. Theyare your best guides. Yellow stains may form on your clothes due to constant usage of antiperspirants. Apply fresh lemon juice to the stains, soak for 30 minutes and then rinse with cool water. Wash with a mild detergent and chlorine bleach. In case of stubborn yellowing, pre - soak for several hours in water with bleach.
  • Avoid washing towels with items that have zippers, hooks or buttons. These can pull the loops out of the terry cloth. Hang towels fully extended on the clothes line for ventilation and quick drying between uses. This will mean fewer washes and a longer life for your towels. Many a time we dump moist towels in the laundry basket to wash later. This is a very bad idea because this spreads mould and bacteria. If you want to keep your towels soft, use half the recommended amount of detergent and never pour the detergent directly on your towels. And always make sure that you have fully rinsed out the soap after each wash.
  • Over use of fabric softener can reduce the absorbance of towels. Use every second or third rather than every wash cycle.