How to Take Care of Your Organic Cotton T-shirts

Organic cotton T-shirts are made to last, but they won’t do as well if you treat them the same as regular clothing. When it comes to taking care of sustainable clothing, think about using less chemicals and energy, and more about working with natural cleaning methods. 

Organic cotton clothing needs to be handled and washed with care, not chemically treated with toxic ingredients in laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and stain removers. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more difficult or inconvenient to take care of your organic clothing. The effort is about the same--it’s just less expensive and more environmentally friendly to take care of your Classic T-shirts.

Organic cotton is made differently, so take care of it differently

Organic cotton field

Classic T-shirts and organic clothing are very different from the conventional cotton T-shirts, whose cotton is hastily grown and harvested and treated with chemical softening agents. After a few wears, those chemical softeners start to wear off, you need to buy more fabric softener chemicals, and the cycle of waste continues so long as you wear inorganic clothing.

Organic clothing is simple to take care of: you just need (natural) soap and (cold) water. Give it a wash and rinse, hang to dry, done.

Free from harmful chemicals, pesticides, and GMOs, organic cotton yields a superior product that is more breathable, durable and gentle on the skin. Not to mention it comes with plenty of benefits for the environment, the farmers, and consumers.

Our ethically sourced, sustainably made Classic T-shirts are handcrafted with one of the finest natural fabrics and go through strict quality checks to ensure longevity, durability and comfort. 

According to one of our customers, Ellen, "the Classic T-shirt falls into the previously unknown and rare species of immediately-soft-and-no-changes-after- four-washes"... and we have to agree! Read more about why Classic T-shirts are the best quality T-shirts according to customers like you.

Here's how to protect your favorite T-shirts and ensure that they stay in shape and retain the same feel and color: 

How do I Wash Organic Cotton T-shirts?

An eco friendly washing machine

It is recommended to hand wash or machine wash your organic cotton T-shirts using cold water. 

If using a washing machine, make sure that you opt for a delicate or gentle wash cycle (which is similar to hand washing and suitable for delicate clothing items). Washing with cold water is not only great for your clothes--it’s also better for the planet and your electric bill. Did you know that 90% of the energy used by your washing machine goes towards heating the water? 

What soap or detergent should I use to wash my Classic T-shirt?

The best soaps or detergents to use for any organic clothing have minimal ingredients. You can buy pre-made organic laundry detergent or even make your own!

Washing soda

Washing soda (sodium carbonate) is a similar compound to baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).. While washing soda and baking soda are both types of chemicals, they are not toxic and can be found in nature. The purpose of them in washing clothes is to act as a degreaser and odor neutralizer. 

You could use nothing but baking soda or washing soda to wash your clothes with decent results. Just add one cup of baking soda or washing soda to a regular-sized load.

Vinegar

Vinegar is a great eco-friendly alternative to both detergents and bleach. You can put ½ a cup of distilled white vinegar into the washing machine’s detergent compartment and the vinegar will help degrease your clothes and give your white clothes a little extra shine.

Just be sure NOT to pour vinegar directly onto your clothes--using a dab of vinegar to treat stains is fine, but dousing your clothes in plain vinegar could be a bit too abrasive for them. Vinegar is acidic and needs to be diluted so that it will clean your clothes without damaging them. 

Natural soaps

Generally speaking you can use any type of soap on your clothes that you would on your body combined with washing soda, but some body soaps have extra oil to help skin stay moisturized, and the oils can sometimes build up in your clothes. The best soaps to use are coconut oil based, as these will cause the least amount of buildup. Using washing soda also helps prevent buildup. 

Scents 

For fresh-smelling organic cotton T-shirts, you can add a drop or two of any essential oil such as lemon, lavender, etc. to your laundry detergent. 

How should I dry my T-shirts?

Classic T-shirts on hangers

Everyone hates a T-shirt that shrinks in the wash, and this usually happens when your clothes are exposed to high temperatures in the dryer, which make the fibers curl up and shrink as the moisture dries out of them rapidly.

Classic T-shirts are pre-washed and pre-shrunk to eliminate shrinkage, but it’s still better not to throw them in the dryer. The excessive heat can still stress the cotton fibers and gradually weaken them. Instead, it’s best to hang dry your Classic T-shirts--you’ll be surprised how quickly they dry. 

This is also better for the environment as you’ll be using less energy to dry your clothes. 

If you have several clothes that need to be dried, tumble dry them together on low to save energy. You can always finish them off on the drying rack. 

Should I use fabric conditioners or softeners to wash my organic cotton T-shirts?

No, you shouldn’t use any unnatural conditioners or softeners on organic cotton T-shirts. The T-shirts are soft because of how they are made--higher quality cotton that’s woven with a higher thread count makes them so soft that they don’t need any chemicals. 

If you do use the chemicals, they can make T-shirts starchy, rough, and water-resistant. Ideally, your T-shirts should be able to absorb moisture quickly but also dry quickly--this is part of what allows your skin to breathe so well in a Classic T-shirt. 

A simple DIY hack is to make your own fabric softener using a mixture of white vinegar and natural essential oils. This will help clean your T-shirt without changing the softness or absorbency of the T-shirt.

We recommend using eco-friendly, bio-degradable and/or plant-based fabric softeners. Always read labels to check for undesirable ingredients in your laundry products.

Should I separate laundry colors? 

The last thing you want is your whites to be stained because they were washed with dark-colored garments. Fortunately, Classic T-shirts go through a premium dyeing process with organic dyes that are environmentally friendly and free of harsh chemicals which is why they do not bleed onto other clothes. 

However, it’s better to stay on the safer side and protect your Classic T-shirts from being stained by other garments, so make sure to wash compatible colors together (i.e light and dark colors separately). This will keep your colors fresh and vibrant for years to come.

How do I keep my organic cotton T-shirts smelling fresh without washing them? 

One of the best ways to keep your T-shirts fresh in your wardrobe is to soak some cotton balls in a few drops of your choice of essential oil and keep them in the wardrobe near your shirts. This will keep your T-shirts smelling fresh and organic.

If you love floral notes and have some dried fragrance-infused flowers or herbs at hand, you can make your own potpourri bag. The fragrance combinations are endless - roses and lavender, dried lemon peel and lemongrass, and many more. Throw the flowers in a small mesh bag and hang it in the wardrobe. 

For best results, ensure that there's proper ventilation in your closet. This will help prevent mold, fungus or bacterial growth on all of your clothes. It can also help to refresh your T-shirts by hanging them out in the open air--not just when you’re drying them, but if they’ve been sitting in the closet or a drawer for a while, it will be nice to let them “breathe.”

Can you use bleach on organic cotton T-shirts?

Avoid using bleach or chemical-laden detergents. Our Classic white T-shirts are dyed ultra white so there's no need for you to bleach them.

Bleaching organic cotton deteriorates the fabric over time, affecting its durability and therefore, reducing its lifespan. Likewise, chemicals and toxic substances in laundry detergents can have a significant impact on your health. Any residue that washes off from these detergents can be harmful to aquatic life… and your skin! 

Your clothes may smell 'fresh' and feel cleaner after you wash them, but the truth is that chemical-loaded detergents do more harm than good. 

It's better for the environment and your clothes that you switch to eco-friendly or plant-based detergents – they are just as effective as other detergents but are free from harmful chemicals and toxic ingredients. 

How do I treat stains on my T-shirt ASAP?

Stains can be really noticeable on lighter garments so ensure to treat them as soon as possible. Rub some detergent or white vinegar on the spot and let it sit for a while before washing the garment. Alternatively, you can immerse the garment in cold water overnight. 

How do I get a coffee stain off my T-shirt?

Spilling coffee

Use a napkin or paper towel to soak all the extra coffee from the garment and wash it with cold water. Cold water helps the stains to be removed easily while hot water would set the stain and make it harder to get rid of it.

If this doesn't work, you can soak the stained spot in some eco-friendly detergent with a tablespoon of white vinegar and wash it after 15 minutes. 

How do I get tomato sauce stain off a T-shirt?

Try to use a dry napkin to get the sauce off and then use a wet towel or sponge to transfer the remaining color and liquid from the T-shirt to the towel. Wash the T-shirt with cold water to get rid of any remnants of the sauce. 

If there’s still a lingering sign of the stain, give the shirt a wash with some washing soda.

How do I get ink stains off my T-shirt?

Determine the kind of ink stain that you have: whether it's from a water-based ink, permanent ink or oil-based ink pen. The key is to treat the stain as quickly as possible before the ink dries out and sets. 

Use a paper towel to soak up any extra ink. Make a paste of two parts of baking soda and a part of water and apply it on the ink stain with a cotton ball. Dab the ink stain with a paper towel or a rag until the ink is dissolved and transferred to the paper towel or rag. Wash the garment as usual and flaunt your stain-free T-shirt.

How do I get cooking oil or grease stains off my T-shirt?

 

Take a blotting paper, rag or kitchen towel and place it above and below the stained area. This way, the stain would be sandwiched in the middle. Iron on top and wait for the grease to transfer onto the blotting paper. 

As an alternative, you can sprinkle some baking soda on the stain and let it sit for a couple of minutes until the grease dissolves. You can then wash the T-shirt as usual. 

Not just a T-shirt, but an investment. 

Taking care of your organic cotton T-shirt is the best way to get the most out of your T-shirt, and our mission. It’s not just about wearing comfortable and fashionable high-quality T-shirts, it’s also about leaving the world a better place than we found it. 

Conventional cotton farming has a drastic impact on the air, water and soil. By choosing to buy organic cotton T-shirts, you are not only supporting the local farmers who grow cotton without any harmful agrochemicals and helping to minimize the environmental impact of making clothes.

Furthermore, the care methods outlined above help keep harmful chemicals that wash out of laundry detergents out of your local ecosystems. 

The Classic T-shirt Company was founded on values of integrity and honesty. We know our environmental responsibilities and understand that every little effort of ours is going to make a huge difference; from our plastic-free packaging or to our 100% organic cotton Classic T-shirts. 

Now is your chance to help. When you invest in organic clothing, you’re helping to break the fast-fashion cycle. When you take proper care of your Classic T-shirts, you’re helping to reduce pollutants in your local ecosystems and using less energy to clean your clothes. You’re doing better for you, your clothes, your skin, and our planet. And we couldn’t be more proud of the movement we are all building together.

Click here to learn more about why it’s important to wear organic cotton T-shirts

Free U.S. Shipping & Returns

We're committed to doing good. For the world, and for you. That means each of our products is guaranteed with free shipping, risk-free free returns, and exchanges. We have your back. So go ahead and get shopping.