A quick list of tips on how to ensure your shirts stand the test of time.
Although cotton is extremely durable (it becomes 30% stronger when soaked in water) it should only be washed in warm but preferably cold water to prevent color loss. Excessive bleaching can weaken the fibers, and is recommended for spot cleaning only. Dry cleaning is a perfectly acceptable way to clean your cotton clothing.
Repeated dry cleaning and heavy starching is hard on cotton fibers. By gently washing your shirts and drying them, you’ll add years of life to the garment.
To preserve the fabric and color, machine wash your shirts using a gentle cycle with luke-warm water.
Quality Iron & Steamer – two tools which will extend the life your garment by limiting your trips to the dry cleaner. Steamers are perfect for quick wrinkle removal, and are much safer to use than irons. An iron, however, can not be beat when it comes to a crisp, clean finish, and if used at the proper temperature can be safely used. A quick tip – pull your shirts out of the dryer and iron them before they are fully dry; cotton fabrics respond best to ironing while damp.
Although cotton is thermoplastic and can be ironed at high temperatures safely, it will burn if the iron is left on one spot for a prolonged period. The same with bleach – over-exposure can destroy the fabric.
Check for stains and clean before pressing. Heat from an iron will permanently set the stain into the fabric.
Tips for Ironing your shirts:
Collar – To iron the collar, starting from its underside. Iron away from the collar points toward the back of the neck area. Then turn the shirt over and iron the same way for the front of the collar.
Yoke – Iron the yoke area starting from the neck outwards to the center of the shirt. If there are pleats at the yoke, iron the pleats flat in the direction of the fold.
Cuff – Similar to the collars, iron the cuffs inside out. Always remember to lay the sleeves flat and start from the cuff upward, then iron the other side as well.
Shirt body – Iron the torso starting from the shoulders down to the shirt ends. Do it step by step starting from the right torso panel then to the left panel. This will keep each side equally well-ironed. Remember to iron in-between the buttons as well with the iron tip.
To keep your shirts in a nice shape, use wooden or plastic hangers with firm shoulders. Wire hangers will destroy the shape of your shirts.
Make sure your cotton clothing is fully dry when storing, and keep it away from excessive moisture. Mildew is fond of cellulose fibers, and will discolor and eventually destroy the fabric.
Although the natural cotton fibers in your garment can be eaten by various insects, this is rare and we do not recommend using toxic insect deterrents such as moth balls; instead consider cedar and lavender for natural protection.