WHY CHOOSE COTTON?
Cotton allows the skin to breathe, and this ventilating effect can stop any buildup of moisture (such as sweat) or bacteria (such as those which lead to unpleasant odours or infections). Cotton is also highly absorbent, and capable of taking on 25 times its weight in water; problems caused by sweating, therefore, are not as severe with cotton undergarments as with other materials. Although cotton is one of the best choices of fabric for underwear at any time of year, its absorbent properties make it a top pick for the summer months, or if you live in a warmer climate.
As with underwear, cotton nightgowns provide breathability and prevent the skin from becoming suffocated and consequently sweating excessively. There are a myriad of reasons for people to wake up hot and sweating in the middle of the night, ranging from bad dreams, stress during the daytime, or their circadian rhythm (the internal body clock which regulates sleep patterns), but anyone who has experienced this particularly unpleasant event will recognize that it is difficult to fall asleep afterwards. Cotton nightwear (and bedclothes) will go a long way in preventing this, and allow for a swift return to sleep.
Since cotton is also a natural material, it also gives off a far more elegant appearance than its synthetic equivalents. This, combined with the high level of comfort it provides, make it a top choice for any night garment.
LOOKING AFTER COTTON LINGERIE
Although some will recommend hand-washing cotton underwear whenever possible (and in cold water), cotton products can be washed in a washing machine – although machine washing cotton is not as risky as doing the same to silk products. However, the temperature should still be warm rather than hot in order to reduce the risk of the garment shrinking. Dark and white or lighter coloured clothing should be washed separately. In addition, cotton underwear should not be washed with clothes such as jeans or anything else made from a heavier fabric, since this can damage the cotton fabric. As with silk products, consider investing in a set of delicates washing bags to protect the garments from damage, disfigurement or discoloration.
Drying machines can also be bad for cotton, since many reach temperatures of up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit: as well as taking the stretch out of the elastic – which causes the fabric to sag and causes the waistband to become loose – the heat causes friction between the fibres and dull the colours or give the garment an unwanted, shiny appearance. Leaving cotton items to dry in sunlight can cause them to shrink, weaken the fabric, or lose their colour, and so leaving them to dry in a shaded area is recommended, preferably where they are exposed to fresh air but not the sun itself. If time is short and a drier must be used, adjust to the temperature to as low as possible.