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Fraying Cotton Clothes: How to Prevent Them?

Photo by Artem Beliaikin from Pexels

Ah yes, the homemaker’s nightmare: fraying clothes. Tiny clumps of fabric, as well as small threads, sticking out here and there. No one likes that, for sure. This unfortunate dilemma inevitably leads to perfectly wearable but already unfashionable clothes into getting turned into rags, or worse, trash. This is wasteful, as it is impractical as surely, there are things worth spending money on. What makes this worse is that this phenomenon is common in cotton clothes. Cotton is usually the fabric of choice of many people, especially now that the weather is starting to get hot. While its light and airy characteristics may be comfortable, it also contributes to the relatively delicate character of the cloth. Thus, it is essential to care for your cotton laundry- even when washing it.

What causes it?

Fraying is more commonly known as “pilling,” while the tiny cotton pulling apart is called “pills.” According to Furniture Academy, it is a general term and more commonly caused by abrasion. This means that the fabric was under stress. Aggressive rubbing, especially against rough surfaces, loosens the fibres. Other causes also include general wear and tear; even bad laundry habits can contribute to the damage. It commonly happens on fabrics that have slightly loose bindings. It is also why your favourite cotton shirt goes quickly from being your go-to fashion choice to becoming house clothes.

How can I care for my cotton laundry?

For starters, try to wash your clothes in batches. As mentioned, increased contact with rough surfaces ups the chance of the cotton being pilled or frayed. When doing laundry in a washer, take care not to use the harshest cycle unless necessary. Even then, do not prolong the washing as it will cause stress in the fabric and unintentionally loosen it. Also, remember to turn the clothes inside out to minimise the occurrence of pilling.

If you notice that some of your clothes are starting to have telltale signs of damage (e.g. its surface has a rough feel to it), you can handwash it as it is proven to be more gentle to the fabric. Do keep in mind not to be too aggressive or you will only worsen your clothes’ condition.

Choosing the right detergent is also crucial. While most products are okay, some are just a tad bit too harsh and contribute to fibres’ breakdown. Check labels and if one says “heavy-duty” or something of the sort, put it back and choose another that is more suitable. Fabric softeners can help ease the fabric tension, but as always, caution is essential. Softening can get to a point where it becomes too much, and instead of helping the fibres ease back to normal, it will weaken them further.

When drying your clothes, it is best to let them hang naturally. This follows the principle of why machine washing must be at the minimum. Using a dryer will unnecessarily agitate the fabric even further. Besides, dryers use electricity. With the summer months in full swing, you would surely be having a high electric bill from your A/C. Using a dryer would only add to the costs. Wash smart, not hard, folks! Are you having difficulty with this? Check out this article we’ve made. It has simple pointers on how you can maximise your space in keeping your clothes dry and clean after washing.

Remember that laundry care need not be hard. It’s merely a matter of choosing what is best for your clothes. Making them last long and good as new- it takes responsibility, but also helps you financially.

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