Just like a pet cat, 100-percent cotton clothes practically take care of themselves. Unlike delicate fabrics, such as silk or cashmere, cotton shirts are less likely to fray, shrink or fall apart in the washing machine. Cotton garments wrinkle easily, though, and colored shirts may bleed dye on other clothes when washed. Laundering your clothes properly is the best way to avoid these annoyances.

Step 1

Sort shirts by color before washing. Launder whites, dark colors and bright colors separately. If some clothes are very dirty, wash them separately.

Step 2

Turn noncolorfast shirts inside-out before laundering to prevent dye bleeding. If a garment bleeds dye, wash it separately to prevent it from staining other clothes.

Step 3

Blot stains directly with all-purpose detergent before washing. The detergent helps break down the stain so it will come out more easily in the wash.

Step 4

Machine-wash coloreded cotton sweatshirts in hot water and white garments in cold water. Use an all-purpose detergent for both colored and white shirts.

Step 5

Add a capful of chlorine bleach to the wash load, if necessary, to brighten cotton whites. Use chlorine-free, color-safe bleach for colored clothes.

Step 6

Dry cotton shirts on high heat. Cotton garments take longer to dry than other types of clothes.

Step 7

Remove garments from the dryer as soon as they're dry. Excess heat can increase static cling, set wrinkles and cause clothes to shrink.

Step 8

Iron cotton shirts on the highest heat setting to eliminate wrinkles.

Step 9

Store your cotton clothes out of sunlight. The sun can weaken cotton fibers or cause whites to yellow. Also avoid storing cotton when it's wet, as mildew or mold may develop.


  • Avoid adding fabric softener to the laundry when you're washing cotton clothes. Fabric softener can flatten and stiffen cotton fibers.