how to wash cotton clothes

How to wash cotton clothes and sheets: The ultimate guide

From snuggly bedsheets to smart shirts and light summer dresses, cotton is everywhere – so we all end up washing cotton clothes at one point or another. The real trick is doing it right, so that you and your cotton clothes have a long and happy life together. 

Laundry is, of course, a specialty of ours, so if you’re wondering how to remove ink stains from cotton or how to wash cotton sheets, look no further: we’ve put together the ultimate guide to keeping cotton clean here.


How to wash cotton clothes

Cotton is one of the more robust materials around, so washing cotton clothes should be pretty straightforward. Here are the essential washing instructions for cotton:

  • Set an appropriate wash cycle if you’re washing in the machine. For routine washes, a temperature of 30c should be fine, especially if you’re worried about the cotton shrinking.  Check the care label on the garment tag if you’re not sure. 
  • Dry on the washing line or on a low setting in the dryer. Hang whites out in the sunlight to keep them bright.
  • Cotton doesn’t need a special detergent, but a high quality option will help you keep your clothes stain-free. If you’re washing by hand, our Stain Eraser Bar is a great choice for effective stain removal. If you’re using a machine, Surf excel Liquid Matic Detergent is your friend.

That’s it – washing cotton clothes really is that simple! If you’re concerned about your clothes shrinking, wash on the coldest setting possible or by hand if you’re really cautious. That’s usually not necessary, though, as cotton is generally pretty easy to care for.


How to wash cotton sheets and towels 

The low-temperature rule doesn’t generally apply here – sheets and towels should be washed thoroughly on a regular basis, so wash in the hottest water possible. This is especially important if someone in your house has been ill, as the high temperature will help to kill any remaining bacteria on the fabric. Use a non-enzymatic detergent like Surf excel Matic for this – stain-removing enzymes work better at lower temperatures.


How to remove ink stains from cotton

One of the most common stains to find on cotton clothing is ink, especially on children’s school uniforms and cotton work shirts – it only takes one pen left in a shirt pocket to create a vivid blue blotch. There’s no need to worry, though! Here’s how to remove ink stains from cotton:

  1. Soak up as much excess ink as you can. Use a clean, damp cloth to gently blot the stain. 
  2. Treat with Surf excel Liquid Detergent. You can apply this directly to water-based ink stains. Just gently rub it in and leave for a few minutes. If you’re dealing with an oil-based ink, use rubbing alcohol or an alcohol-based hairspray, nail polish remover or hand sanitiser instead. 
  3. Wash by hand or in the machine. Check the garment care tag for more specific instructions. 


Want to find out more? Find a complete guide to getting rid of ink stains on cotton here

And there you have it – everything you need to know about washing cotton clothes, sheets and towels! Now you can keep your trusty cotton looking great for even longer.