How to Care for a Cotton Tee to Last Longer?

How to Care for a Cotton Tee to Last Longer?


We've outlined some simple guidelines on how to properly clean and care for cotton T-shirts. By keeping the following 9 rules in mind, you can significantly slow down the natural aging of your T-shirts and ultimately extend their lifespan.

It's one thing to buy long-lasting T-shirts - but there's a lot you can do to make them last. We surveyed designers and their trusted dry cleaners to find out how to care for our clothes. Our biggest takeaway is that, first of all, everything we wear should be enjoyed - paired with the joys of life, not feared to be ruined. Here's expert advice on how to properly dress, store, and even clean your clothes to extend the life of your favorite items.

1. Wash less

Less is more. This is definitely a great suggestion for your laundry. For longevity and durability, 100% cotton t-shirts should only be washed when needed.

Although high-quality cotton is strong and durable, each wash can stress its natural fibers and ultimately cause t-shirts to age and fade faster. So simply washing less is probably one of the most important tips for extending the life of your favorite t-shirt.

Every wash also has an environmental impact (in terms of water and energy), and washing less can help reduce your personal water usage and carbon footprint. In Western societies, laundry routines are often more based on habit (such as washing after each wear) than actual need (such as washing when dirty).

Washing clothes only when needed is certainly not unhygienic but contributes to a more sustainable relationship with the environment.

2. Wash with a similar color

White with white! Washing the brighter colors together helps keep your summer T-shirts fresh and white. By washing light-colored t-shirts together, you can reduce the risk of white t-shirts turning gray or even stained by another garment. Often darker colors can go into the machine together, especially when they've been washed a few times.

Sorting clothes by fabric type will further optimize your wash results: sportswear and work clothes may have different needs than a super delicate summer shirt. If you're not sure how to wash your new clothes, a quick look at the care label is always helpful.

3. Cold wash

Cotton T-shirts don't like heat and can even shrink if washed too hot. Clearly, detergents work better at higher temperatures, so finding the right balance between wash temperature and effective cleaning is important. Dark T-shirts can usually be washed completely in cold water.

Washing the white t-shirt at 30 or 40 degrees will ensure that the t-shirt will last longer, stay fresh and reduce the risk of any unwanted color under the armpits, such as yellow marks. However, washing at considerably lower temperatures can also reduce your environmental impact and your bills: lowering the temperature from 40 to 30 degrees can reduce energy consumption by up to 35%.

4. Wash (and dry) from the inside out

By washing your t-shirt "from the inside out", the inevitable wear and tear occur on the inside of the shirt, leaving the outside visual unaffected. This reduces the risk of unwanted fluff and pilling of natural cotton.

Also, dry the T-shirt from the inside out. This means that potential fading also occurs on the inside of the garment, while the outside surface remains intact.

5. Use the correct (amount) of detergent

There are now more eco-friendly detergents on the market based on natural ingredients while avoiding the use of chemical (oil-based) ingredients.

However, it's important to remember that even "green cleaners" can contaminate wastewater - and damage clothing if used in excess -- because they can contain a wide variety of different substances. Since there is no 100% green option, keep in mind that using more detergent won't make your clothes cleaner.

The fewer clothes you put in the washing machine, the less detergent you need. The same applies to more or less dirty clothes. Also, in areas with softer water, less detergent can be used.

6. Do not dry

It is worth noting that all cotton products will shrink naturally, which usually occurs during the drying process. Avoiding the tumble dryer and air drying instead can reduce the risk of shrinkage. While tumble drying can sometimes be a convenient solution, t-shirts are definitely the best way to dry while they're hanging.

When air drying clothes, avoid direct sunlight to reduce unwanted fading. As mentioned earlier: 100% cotton products generally do not like to overheat. To reduce creases and unnecessary stretch, a delicate cotton fabric should be hung from the railing.

Skipping the dryer not only has a positive impact on the durability of the t-shirt but also has a huge impact on the environment. The average energy consumption level of a tumble dryer is five times that of a standard washing machine, which means that a home's carbon footprint can be significantly reduced by avoiding tumble drying entirely.

7. Iron on the reverse side

Depending on the specific fabric of the t-shirt, cotton is more or less prone to wrinkles and creases. However, creases can be minimized by properly handling T-shirts when they are taken out of the washing machine. You can gently stretch or shake each garment to bring them back into shape.

Be extra careful around the neckline and shoulders: you shouldn't overstretch them here because you don't want the T-shirt to lose its shape. If your washing machine has a special setting that allows "reduce creases" - you can use this to prevent wrinkles. Reducing the spin cycle of the wash program will also help reduce wrinkles further, but it means your t-shirt will come out of the washing machine a little damp.

If the T-shirt does require ironing, it's a good idea to refer to the garment care label to know exactly what temperature settings are safe. The more dots you see on the iron symbol on the care label, the more calories you can use.

When ironing T-shirts, we recommend ironing in reverse and using the steam function of the iron. Giving a cotton fabric some moisture before ironing will make its fibers smoother and clothes more prone to flattening.

To make your t-shirts look better and handle more gently, we generally recommend using a steamer instead of a traditional iron.

8. Store your T-shirts properly

Ideally, your t-shirt should be stored folded and placed on a flat surface.

If you really prefer to hang your T-shirts, use a wide hanger to distribute the weight more evenly. If you're hanging your t-shirt, make sure to insert the hanger from the bottom so you don't stretch the neckline too much.

Finally, to avoid fading, avoid sunlight during storage.

9. Treat the stain immediately!

In an emergency, when a stain appears on a specific spot on a T-shirt, the first and most important rule is to deal with the stain immediately. Natural materials like cotton or linen are great at absorbing liquids (like red wine or ketchup), so the faster you start removing the stain, the easier it will be to remove it completely from the fabric.

Unfortunately, there is no all-purpose cleaner or stain removal product that ideally removes all kinds of substances. Studies have shown that the more effective a stain remover is, the more aggressive it is, unfortunately, on the color of clothes. So, as a first step, we recommend rinsing the stain with warm water, then adding some mild detergent or soap.

For persistent stains, you can use a commercial stain remover, but avoid bleach-based stain solutions on colored cotton garments. Bleach may remove the color from fabrics and leave light marks.

The above describes in detail how to clean and maintain T-shirts. If you want to know more or buy T-shirts, please contact us.

Rainbow is a professional custom clothing manufacturer. Our products include T-shirts, jeans, hoodies, shirts, jackets, and more. We can provide you with professional custom clothing solutions. We'd love to listen to your ideas and needs, then help you bring them to life through our experience.
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