March 09, 2023 4 min read

How to care for your organic cotton

At Alder & Green we champion the consumer habit of buying less but buying better. It is about investing in quality pieces that prove to be a good return on investment, by building a staple wardrobe that serves you for years to come. Building a wardrobe of essentials is not only reliant on purchasing intentionally from conscious brands, it is about maintaining the garments integrity through appropriate care. 

All of our garments are consciously sourced from organic cotton farms which are regulated in accordance to ethical and sustainable standards. We have taken the time and consideration to ensure the sourcing is transparent and the garments produced are the best fitting and most reliable quality you can purchase. We want you to take pride in wearing a garment that is created with consideration to the planet, style and quality by helping you understand how to care for it.

Washing on a low heat, air-drying and ironing is enough to care for you garment. However for those wanting to go the extra mile, we have created this guide to elaborate on the nature of organic cotton, providing care instructions on how to best wash and treat your garment, so you can use it for years to come. 

How is organic cotton different to regular cotton?

Organic cotton is harvested in an environmentally friendly manner, which is less water intensive and chemical dependent. It is farmed to standardised industry practices that are regulated by GOTS, the Global Organic Textile Standard. This means that the crop harvested produces fibres which do not produce harsh chemical byproducts or carry chemical components in their structure. It results in a softer fibre structure that has a breathable quality to it. We cover it in depth in our article on cotton here. However to summarise, organic cotton is friendlier for the environment, your skin and the people producing it. 

Can I machine wash my organic cotton?

You can machine wash your cotton. We recommend washing it on a lower heat, around 30°C or colder on a delicate cycle or even hand-washing with a mild detergent. This reduces potential shrinkage and damage to the fibres. It should be laid out and flattened to dry, as to minimise deep creases for later on in the ironing process. The best part about washing organic cotton is how it gradually softens over time and becomes more breathable with each wash. 

Do I need to use fabric softener on my organic cotton?

No, we do not recommend using fabric softener on organic cotton. Our organic cotton is long-staple cotton, which is essentially cotton fibres with a length of 2 inches or longer. This is the finest and highest quality cotton, as it produces yarn which is durable and softer, resulting in a silkier texture. Fabric softener would compromise this quality as it clogs the fibres and yarn. 

Can I dry-clean my organic cotton shirts?

We do not recommend dry-cleaning organic cotton, unless they have a specialised process for treating delicate, organic fabrics. Dry-cleaning tends to use higher temperatures, which compromises the colour integrity of the organic dyes used, as well as causing shrinkage. It is not best practice to use warm or high heat to wash organic fabrics.

For those based in London, we recommend checking out They are a eco-friendly and specialised cleaner with a full range of services from garment washing to leather care to alterations. They use the appropriate methods to ensure your delicate garments are well taken care of. They offer an easy online booking service and free pick and delivery for orders over £25. 

How should I dry my organic cotton shirts?

In order to avoid any potential shrinkage, we advise skipping the tumble dryer and opting for air-drying instead. Lay out the garment to even out the creases and let it dry naturally. Tumble drying can compromise the structure of the fibres and weaken them, causing the yarn to break which can lead to further damage. 

Why are your shirts not non-iron?

Organic garments are not treated with formaldehyde resin. Formaldehyde is a chemical typically used to disinfect and kill bacteria, even being used in mortuaries and laboratories as a preservative. In even low-levels it can irritate the skin causing rashes and cause breathing issues. Non-iron shirts are commonly dipped in a formaldehyde resin after being cut and sewn, to bond the fibres together at a molecular level. This reduces the potential for creasing, however increases the potential for dermatitis (skin rashes.) We chose to skip this chemical process in our shirts, as we believe that the benefits of organic cotton are worth the extra care step. 

Organic cotton should not be disregarded. It presents benefits which far outweigh its regular and synthetic counterparts. The best part about organic cotton is how the fabric becomes softer and far more comfortable with each wash process. We understand that the washing process can be timely, however when cared for consciously, your garment will reward you and last a lifetime. 

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