How Do You Clean Cotton Clothes and Household Items?

August 18, 2021


Boston can be very hot in summer and clothes made of cotton are a great choice in this weather. Cotton tablecloths, bed linens and other household items are also a favorite. So it’s worth looking into how we can best care for cotton to keep it beautiful for a long time.

Washing Cotton Clothes

Most cotton clothing such as jeans, tee shirts, shirts and underwear can be machine washed, but some may have to be hand washed or may require dry cleaning, so it is important to always check the instructions on the care label before cleaning.

Cotton clothes

Separate colors before washing. This is generally our advice for doing your laundry at home. However, this is particularly important for cotton clothing because many cottons may bleed.
Cotton tablecloths are usually machine washable in cold water on a gentle cycle.

Sometimes, cotton clothing may shrink after machine washing. If that happens, you may try to unshrink it by soaking the garment in white vinegar for an hour and then wash it in hot water. If that doesn’t work, try stretching the wet garment by hand until it is the original size. Then hold it down with heavy objects and let it dry flat.

Ironing Cotton Clothes

Every piece of clothing is different. Always check the care label for special ironing instructions. Most easy care cottons such as those labeled “wash and wear” and “little or no ironing” need only a cool iron. Save the “cotton” setting for untreated cottons, such as handkerchiefs or tablecloths.

Most cottons should be ironed on the right side. One exception is embossed or embroidered cottons, which should be ironed on the wrong side (face down), preferably on a padded cloth.

Preventing Stains and Damage

A frequent problem we encounter with cotton clothing is the build-up from deodorant and antiperspirant products which causes fiber damage and yellowing in cotton. The aluminum chloride in these products weakens cotton fibers, leaving holes during cleaning. We often find localized holes or tears develop in the underarm area of 100% cotton shirts and even cotton/polyester blends.

To avoid this problem, always wait for the antiperspirants or deodorants to dry before putting on your cotton shirt. In addition, wash cotton shirts soon after you wear them in order to minimize this type of damage.

If you have any questions about caring for your cotton clothing and household items, consult your best dry cleaner nearby.

About Utopia Cleaners

Utopia Cleaners offers dry cleaning and wash and fold service to our neighbors from five stores in downtown Boston, South End Boston, Auburndale, Woburn, and Arlington, as well as  Cambridge, Newton, Wellesley, Brookline, Belmont, Winchester, and Lexington via dry cleaning pickup service. Other services include alterations, wedding gown preservation and shirt laundry.