Now and then, I have the chance to talk to the fabric experts at Cotton Incorporated and I have been meaning to write up some of the care tips I’ve learned during my cotton loving years. I like to keep my clothes, sheets, etc looking good for a long time and a large part of that is how I deal with them. So let’s talk about how I do my laundry, cause I’ll admit, I look at things a bit differently than I used to.
Laundry Frequency & Settings
Obviously clothes that get worn for exercise, or hot and sweaty days, get food on, end up in some area with strong smells, etc are going to be washed as early as possible. But I try to take it easy on my jeans, etc by not laundering them any more than needed. Washing and drying are tough on fabric, colors, etc. So I slow my roll there reducing spin speed and washer time both. And some of my clothes get put on a drying rack or hung rather than thrown in the dryer. I also try to keep temperatures and times run down.
I can remember my mom doing towels as loads of laundry… she always had quite a few with four kids, but it wasn’t til later I realized she probably did this for other reasons too. Towels are a perfectly good example of the way I sort laundry.
I want to sort the laundry to make fabrics have longer lifespan so to do that you want to separate based on a few categories:
- Fabric Type — Knits (especially synthetics) are really different from woven fabrics. You want to choose cycles, carefully. I love the delicate cycle and frequently pick it.
- Colors — I always separate lights, brights and darks, new clothes get washed separately to be sure they are fabric safe especially if they are red!
- Fabric Weight — This week I have worn a wide range of clothes — some days it was 100 degrees and a few we had high 70s. A thick sweatshirt takes longer to dry than a fine Pima shirt.
Also, while sorting, I turn most of my clothes inside out because when fibers and fabrics rub up against each other there can be a bit of fuzz/piling that you’d rather limit. I know it sounds like a hassle, but I try to just take them off leaving them wrong side out.
Choosing Detergent / Additives
When I was in college, I bought whatever detergent was on sale the most. Later, I thought dirty clothes need lots of detergent. I learned better. Some detergents can be pretty hard on fabrics and extra detergent is wasted. I stick with brands that I know how done the testing to check how colors remain, etc. I’m a Tide girl. And I almost always use fabric softener — much like conditioner on my hair, it keeps the fibers together rather than having a bunch of fly-away fibers.
Don’t use softeners on towels. It makes them less absorbent — you may as well coat them with wax.