We’re all aware of the vastness of clothing fibers, and their uniqueness, as well as how each one of them has their own separate washing instructions.
But have you ever laid your hands on a blended material and wondered how to wash it?
Since blends consist of two or more distinct fibers with different characteristics, how do you go about washing them without running into a compromise or destroying anything?
In this article, we’ll show you how to properly wash blended materials, particularly the 50% cotton and 50% polyester.
What does 50 cotton 50 polyester mean?
Whenever you see the ”50 cotton 50% polyester” text written on the care label of your fabric, it means that the material is composed of 50% cotton and 50% polyester. So it’s a blended material.
Typically, blends are made to fill in the gaps that all fibers present when they’re made into 100% fabrics on their own. Fibers can be weak, lack luster, be inelastic, weakened in water or hard to dye. Where one fabric fails, another would represent, and this is the whole point of making fabrics into blends.
What’s the wash implication?
The thing about blended materials is that you have two fibers with different wash instructions (sometimes contradictory). But in this case, cotton and polyester, which are somewhat close.
Washing blended materials is kind of tricky, especially when you have a different percentage other than 50%.
When you have a certain type of fiber that forms the predominant part of a blended fabric, then the washing instructions would have to go their way!
For instance, if you have a cotton and polyester blend in the ratio 8:2, which means cotton makes up most part of the material, then the washing instruction should be for cotton and not polyester, because polyester forms only a little percentage of the material and therefore any negative effects on it would not be easily noticed as opposed to when cotton is at the receiving end.
If you have it the other way round, which means polyester is the predominant fiber there, then the same principles apply.
But what about the 50-50 situation? What do you do then?
You should find out the material that is the most sensitive to wash conditions like heat and agitation, and tune the settings to fit it.
In a cotton-polyester blend, cotton is the more sturdy material while polyester is less sturdy than cotton. Cotton can be subjected to heat as high as 150°C and only begin to yellow and weaken with prolonged exposure.
Cotton can also be dried using high heat settings of the dryer and even washed using heavy duty cycles with no problems at all. Polyester on the other hand, will tolerate hot water to a manageable degree, but will eventually shrink!
So warm water is the highest you should go unless on rare occasions. In short, for a cotton polyester blend, wash the material like you would wash a 100% polyester!
How to wash a 50/50 cotton polyester blend
Like with any other fabric, the first thing you should do when washing a 50/50 cotton polyester blend is to check the fabric care label. Forget that cotton can be washed in a certain way and polyester too in a certain way, there are times when you have a specific finish on these types of garments and would be required to wash them in a completely and totally different way. And you’d only be aware of that when you’re checking the care label!
The next thing after reading the fabric care label is to treat stains on the garment. Inspect all round the fabric for stain spots and treat them using the appropriate stain removal technique.
Before you’re able to do this successfully however, you have to be able to recall exactly what caused the stain in the first place. Then you would know how best to tackle it.
The most basic way to treat any stain is using a mild detergent and warm water. If that doesn’t work, go ahead and use a professional stain removal product or take it to a professional stain removal company.
Use cold water or warm water and a gentle detergent
So because we have polyester in the blend, we want to do things a bit gently. We’ll opt for a maximum heat setting of warm and use cold water for most washing.
We can’t wash with hot water because it would cause shrinkage of the polyester which would affect the overall shape of the fabric.
Furthermore, when it comes to the detergent, both cotton and polyester are pretty resistant to the deterioration effects of alkalis. So you won’t have problems in that regard.
You can also use the permanent press cycle
For the cycle to use when washing a cotton polyester blend, choose the gentle cycle or the moderate cycle. Another option is the permanent press cycle which would benefit cotton the most because it’s inelastic and wrinkles easily.
Use a fabric softener
You can use fabric softener to add scent and also soften your fabrics when they come out from the washer.
Both cotton and polyester fare well with fabric softeners, so you really don’t have any problems when it comes to using it on them.
To add fabric softener to clothes, you can use the dispenser provided by the machine or add it directly, making sure to target water pockets as opposed to adding it directly to clothes which can cause discoloration.
Sanitize when necessary
Whenever you find the need to sanitize your blended clothes, feel free to use a fabric sanitizer for that purpose, especially if the blend is from cotton and polyester.
Both fibers are very strong and can tolerate the use of sanitizers on them. Fabric sanitizers are added during the rinse cycle of laundry, either using the fabric softener dispenser or manually.
Both polyester and cotton are able to tolerate bleach. Because of that, you can use bleach on them without any problems. If you’re using chlorine bleach on blended materials, make sure they’re white otherwise it will cause discoloration on colored clothes.
How to dry 50 cotton 50 polyester
To dry a 50/50 cotton polyester material, use the no heat, low heat or moderate heat cycle. Avoid relying on high heat because it can cause polyester to shrink.
An alternative to machine drying is air drying. Make sure to opt for a shaded area and avoid sunlight which can cause quick deterioration in cotton.
Can you wash 50 cotton 50 polyester on hot water
While you can, it is advised not to because hot water would cause polyester to shrink with time. Not only that, if you have a colored material, hot water will cause the removal of dye and also faster weakening of the fibers. In general, it is best to always wash clothes with cold or warm water and only revert to hot water in times when you need to sanitize or remove stubborn stains.
Does 50 cotton 50 polyester shrink?
Both cotton and polyester have the tendency to shrink, even though their mode or reason for shrinkage is different.
Polyester will shrink with consistent application of heat, because of its thermoplastic nature, whereas cotton will shrink due to the relaxation of the tension applied on its fibers during manufacture.
Some of the factors that accelerate shrinkage in cotton are listed out in this article.
If you have a blended material consisting of 50% cotton and 50% polyester, wash the material like you would wash 100% polyester. That’s because polyester is the less sturdy of the two, so it’s wash and care instructions should be followed.
If you have a material made up of 80% cotton and 20% polyester, then you should wash the material like you would wash cotton because cotton represents the most dominant fiber in the garment.
We have outlined exactly how to wash a 50-50 cotton/polyester blend in this article , make sure to read it and keep your fabric safe and in sound condition.