Guide to Washing Cotton, Polyester, and Blended Fabrics

Properly washing your clothing should be easy with the wide variety of settings available on modern washing machines. Sadly, this is not always the case. Part of the issue is the sheer number of different fabrics available, the other part is the inconvenience of washing everything in different load and cycles.


Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to look after your assorted fabrics.

1. Sort Them

It is much better to sort your clothes and other fabrics into both fabric colors and fabric types. This will help you to wash like with like. Of course, if you don’t have many fabrics of a certain type or color you’re going to need to wash them by hand; doing a small load is generally wasteful, unless you have a machine that adjusts water use for load size.

2. Use The Right Detergent

The right detergent is essential for the best results in terms of washing and life expectancy for your fabrics.

It’s not as difficult as you think to find the right detergent and it doesn’t need to be a bizarre mixture of household substances. You simply need to use a plant-based laundry detergent. This will be kinder to the environment as well as your clothes.

3. Choose Your Drying Technique

Generally, it is best to avoid using high heat in a tumble dryer for most fabrics. However, hanging them on a line in the wind is also not the best option! In fact, most garments respond well dried on low temperatures (read the labels!) or when laid flat on a towel or drying rack and left to dry naturally; the fact that you shouldn’t need to iron them is a bonus!

To help you get it right every time, check out the guide to washing cotton, polyesters, and blended fabrics.


You may not realize it but cotton is the most widely produced fiber in the world. It’s great for clothes as it is usually very durable and comfortable. That’s why you’ll find it being used for many clothing items.

It can be knitted or woven to create many different fabrics, ranging from denim to flannel, or even jersey. They all have the same basic characteristics and need the same level of care when being washed.

However, despite being very durable it is possible to shrink your cotton fabrics if you subject them to high temperatures. That’s why it’s best to wash them with a plant-based detergent at 86°F/30°C. Using a detergent with harsh chemicals is more likely to cause damage to your machine as well; especially if you use too much of it.

When washing cotton, use the standard wash cycle (but only using the hottest water needed). You can also wash cotton by hand but it’s not essential to do so.


Polyester is man-made as opposed to natural material. It is synthesized from petroleum-based products. In fact, it was invented in 1941 making it a recent clothing option.

This is a great option if you’re looking for durability and something that can withstand being washed over and over again. It is also generally cheaper than cotton options; making it a popular choice.

But, polyester is not as effective at removing sweat, meaning that you’re going to feel clammy on a hot day. Of course, the upside of this is that you’re likely to stay warmer in the cool weather.
It is also possible that you notice skin irritation, especially if your skin is already sensitive.

Polyester is generally not very absorbent. While this is great for preventing sweat soaking into the garment and making it smell, it also means it won’t stain easily and you should be able to wash most spills and marks out on a low wash. It’s usually advisable to keep the wash temperature to 104°F or below.

Again, a plant-based detergent will be most effective, along with drying in your tumble dryer on a low temperature. It’s one of the few fabrics that do well in the dryer.

Blended Fabric

Blended fabric is, unsurprisingly, made of two or more other fabrics. In fact, one of the most common blended fabrics is actually cotton and polyester. They’ll either be 50/50 or 65/35 (cotton/polyester).

This is actually a really good mix to prevent the shrinkage associated with cotton garments but retains the durability and comfort that makes cotton one of the best materials for clothes.
It’s worth noting that blended fabrics are generally very good for printing on, they tend to be better than cotton or polyester by themselves.

The great thing about blended fabrics is that they can be put through your machine and even your dryer on a cool to warm setting without any issues. As always, check the label and pair with a plant-based detergent for the best results.

Polyester and spandex

Other popular blended fabrics include polyester and spandex; usually in an 85/15 ratio. The spandex allows the clothes to stretch to fit your body perfectly while the polyester maintains the durability and ensures the shape of your garment remains the same.

This is why it is so popular as active wear; finding the perfect balance between comfort, sweat removal, and shape retention. If you’re ready to try and sports you’ll want to choose a garment made of these blended fabrics; it will ensure you focus on what counts, the exercise.

Polyester, cotton, and rayon

Another popular choice is Polyester, cotton, and rayon. This should be in a 50/25/25 ratio and gives a surprisingly soft, yet stretchy and durable fabric. In fact, this is the best option if you’re looking to print a logo or design on your garments.

Take The Next Step

When washing cotton, polyester, or blended fabrics it is essential to choose the right detergent. Plant-based options don’t need to be expensive, but they are effective.

All you need to do is decide which fabric is most important to you for daily wear or active wear. You’ll now know how easy it is to look after the fabric and stay looking good; whether you’re at the gym or hitting a party.

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