How to Care for Cotton Pyjamas: Your Ultimate Guide | YOLKE

How to Care for Cotton Pyjamas: 

Your Ultimate Guide



Whether you’ve owned cotton pyjamas for a while or you’re new to this wonderful fabric, we’ll help you to care for your cotton so that it stays fresh, soft and looking great for years to come...


The origins of cotton

Cotton is formed from the natural fibres of cotton plants, which are called Gossypium. Cotton is mainly a cellulose composition, which is an organic compound that is crucial to plant structure. The term ‘cotton’ refers to the small part of the cotton plant that grows in the pod, and consists of fluffy cotton fibres. These fibres are spun into a yarn that is then woven to make a very soft, durable fabric that is one of the most popular fabrics in the world.

The word cotton derives from the Arabic word ‘quton’, the original word for the fabric in medieval Arabic. This word entered the Romance languages (languages deriving from Latin) in the mid-twelfth century, and in England a century later.

The earliest known production of cotton was in India, where the manufacture of the material for clothing dates back as early as the fifth millennium B.C. The cotton gin, which is a tool that separates the cotton fluffy sections from the plant seeds, was invented in India in the thirteenth century. This enabled the production of cotton to be easier and faster, which could in turn help the material to be used as a worldwide textile.

Britain didn’t become one of the leading cotton producers until the Industrial Revolution. This was with the help of the invention of new apparatus such as the spinning jenny, spinning frame and spinning mule, which allowed manufacturers to spin cotton at much quicker and increased rates. We now see cotton used for many different reasons and industries – and is the perfect fabric for our pyjamas.


Is cotton soft?

Cotton is a fibrous material, and those fibres are soft in nature. Cotton clothing has a softer, more supple feel to it than other materials such as polyester, and for that reason is less likely to irritate skin. Clothing that is made from 100% cotton is soft and gentle to the touch, and is also heavier than 50/50 cotton blend garments. Cotton is also breathable, which contributes to its soft, comfortable feel.


But just how to care for your cotton pyjamas?

Cotton clothing, bed sheets, towels – they are not all the same cotton mix, and all require different care. Cotton garments do not all have the same structure to them. For example cotton and polyester mixed fabric can tolerate harsher conditions than pure cotton, with slightly harsher detergent - and sometimes cotton mixed with Lycra rarely needs ironing. Always ensure that you pay more attention to your cotton pyjamas and other cotton clothing, following instructions on how to wash them carefully. Make sure you check the labels before starting to care for them.


How often should you wash your cotton pyjamas?

Some people wear them for longer, but as a rule of thumb, we should all wash our sleepwear at least once a week. This is because the oily surface on your skin is also a build up of bacteria, which can then transfer to your pyjamas. Try not to leave it too long between washes, otherwise you will have to spend more time laundering your bed sheets too!


Using soap and detergent for your cotton pyjamas

Cotton clothing and pyjamas don’t need a delicate or light detergent, as cotton is quite a hardy fabric. If your cotton pyjamas are only slightly dirty, any type of detergent out there is safe enough to use on cotton clothing. Fabric softeners are often used for cotton clothing as it can make the cotton fibres feel very soft indeed – and can help to stop wrinkles and creasing. However, fabric softener is a personal choice, and doesn’t have to be used at all for cotton.


Washing your cotton pyjamas

If there are any stains on your cotton pyjamas, pre-treat with stain remover in cold water. It can sometimes be quite difficult to give general guidance on washing cotton garments, as there are many different types of cotton mixes and fabrics available. It is therefore very important that you always read the label on your cotton pyjamas before washing.

A suitable temperature for washing cotton shirts, sheets and pyjamas is 40°C. You can wash your cotton pyjamas with other garments, but do not fill your washing machine, and put it on a gentle wash cycle. You can also put your cotton pyjamas in a gauze washing bag – this means that your clothing will keep its fresh look for longer.

It is best that when washing cotton garments in the washing machine, to stick to putting similar colours together. If you want to wash bright or dark colours in your cotton wash, it’s a good idea to use a lower temperature (perhaps 30°C) to avoid any colour fading or dye transfer from other garments.


How to care for your cotton pyjamas after washing 

Of course the best way to dry your cotton clothing after washing is outside on a rotary dryer or a standard clothes line – drying in the sun with a light breeze will leave your cotton pyjamas smelling wonderful! While the sun can help to brighten your white cotton pieces, be careful with the brightly coloured ones, and keep them out of the direct sunlight to avoid fading.

It is possible to use a tumble dryer, but be careful not to overdry your cotton garments, including your pyjamas, as this can cause some items to shrink, and in most cases, excessive wrinkling (meaning more ironing!)


Can you iron cotton?

Yes. Although some cotton fabrics need no ironing (or very little ironing) if the clothes are removed from the dryer (or taken off the clothes line) when they are slightly damp. The secret is not putting your cotton on a long drying cycle, and removing it from the tumble dryer just before the cycle is done. The reason is that the longer you leave them in there, the creases tend to set in and the harder they will be to iron out! Having said that, if you do leave your garments until they are dry, give them a light spray with distilled water to dampen them before ironing.

To begin with, turn your cotton pyjamas inside out to protect them. Choose a good iron, as the quality of your iron does make a difference. A better quality steam iron with a higher heat and plenty of steam is very important for getting those creases out of your cotton pyjamas. Having a spray feature on your iron can really help to spray on those stubborn creases!

Invest in your ironing board

A good, sturdy ironing board is a must – if you are ironing other cotton garments with your cotton pyjamas, you’ll realise it takes a lot of steady repetitive strokes and lots of pressing. This isn’t easy if your ironing board is wobbly! Check the settings on your iron for a cotton or linen setting – this should be quite a high setting as cotton fabric can withstand heat very well (and imperative for smoothing out those wrinkles).

A steam setting on irons is a bonus - make sure that that the water section of the iron is full, and that the metal plate AND fabric on the ironing board are free from dirt and grime. If they are not, get yourself a pressing cloth (small piece of fabric; pillow cases are best) to place between your garment and the iron, or between the garment and the board. Using a towel is good!

Keep pressing

When you move the iron across your cotton pyjamas, make sure that you keep your iron moving across the cotton fabric quite firmly. If you have sprayed the surface of the garment with water, smooth the fabric and move the iron in a circular movement in those stubborn creased areas.


How to prevent wrinkles in your cotton pyjamas

What’s better than spending lots of time ironing your cotton garments? Avoiding the wrinkles in the first place! But how do you do this? Unfortunately, it’s best to avoid the tumble dryer. After your cotton clothing is taken out of the washing machine, you should shake well to remove the wrinkles, and then lay the clothes down flat on a towel. While the garment is still damp, pull the sides taut and smooth the edges. Hanging to dry on a clothes line is ultimately best, and can sometimes mean that you can fold away those cotton pieces with no ironing at all!


Storing your cotton pyjamas

As cotton is a very durable fabric, it can be chosen for daily wear – which is why it is also the perfect fabric for pyjamas. To keep your cotton pyjamas in great condition when storing, fold very flat and put in a cool, dry chest of drawers. For ultimate storage with little risk of wrinkling, hang your cotton pyjamas in a wardrobe. This will help to maintain its shape and appearance.

Following this guide should help to keep your pyjamas crisp and fresh. The most important advice is to enjoy this wonderful fabric and look after your cotton pyjamas. If you learn how to care for your cotton garments, they should last for many years!