Whenever you work with any fabric it is important to understand that every type of fabric is different and thus requires different methods when it comes to preparation and maintenance. In most cases, this should not be a problem as long as you understand what you need to do to ensure your fabrics remain in good condition.
In this guide we will be delving into the world of cotton, with the aim of providing you with information that will allow you to take care of your fabric for longer.
Understanding The Properties
Cotton is popular because it is a light and pourous fabric that allows people to stay cool in the summer months. However, these same properties also lead to the fabric being more susceptible to retaining smells if it is not properly cleaned. Furthermore, discolouration is also a definite possibility, which means you need to understand how to clean it properly to avoid these issues.
Before you begin washing, it is usually a good idea to pre-treat the fabric, paying particular attention to collars and any areas that are exposed to perspiration. Use a colour safe stain remover for this task and make sure that all the important areas of the fabric get the proper attention to guard against odours and staining. It is also a good idea to confirm whether or not the garment has been pre-shrunk, as the material is prone to shrinkage in warm washes.
You should generally be safe to use warm water in the wash if you have confirmed that the cotton is pre-shrunk. You shouldn’t experience any extra shrinkage in these cases, tough it is still a good idea to avoid very hot water, just in case.
If you think the garment might be susceptible to shrinkage, be sure to use cold water instead. It might mean you have to put a little extra effort into the cleaning, but it will also ensure that the garment stays at the correct size.
Due to the risk of shrinkage, it is also not a good idea to allow your cotton fabrics to completely dry out when it is placed into a tumble dryer. Instead, dry it to the point where it still retains a little bit of moisture, and then hang it up to allow for the last bit of dampness to evaporate naturally.
Before you start ironing the fabric, be sure to check for any stains. Going over them with a hot iron can lead to the stain being ironed into the fabric, after which it becomes almost impossible to remove.
Assuming the garment is clean, you should be safe to use a hot iron to get rid of creases, without having to worry about creating a shine or burning the fabric.
Cotton creases fairly easily after it has been ironed, so it is important that you hang it up in an area that offers plenty of space for it to breath, while also using shaped coat hangers so you don’t have to worry about wires altering the shape of the fabric.