Best Temperatures for Washing Different Fabrics Guide to water temps for cotton, polyester, wool, silk, linens etc

Aug 25, 2023


When it comes to doing laundry, choosing the right water temperature is essential for maintaining the quality and longevity of your clothes. Different fabrics have different needs, and washing them at the wrong temperature can result in shrinking, fading, or even damage. In this guide, we will walk you through the best temperatures for washing various fabrics, including cotton, polyester, wool, silk, and linens.


Cotton is a versatile and durable fabric that is commonly used for everyday clothing and household items. For most cotton garments, a warm water temperature of around 40-60 degrees Celsius (104-140 degrees Fahrenheit) is ideal. This temperature helps to remove dirt and stains effectively without causing excessive shrinkage.

cotton fabric


Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is known for its wrinkle-resistant and quick-drying properties. It is best washed in cool water, around 30-40 degrees Celsius (86-104 degrees Fahrenheit). Using hot water can cause the fabric to lose its shape and color.

polyester fabric


Wool is a delicate fabric that requires special care to avoid shrinking or felting. It is recommended to wash wool items in cold water, around 20-30 degrees Celsius (68-86 degrees Fahrenheit). Using a gentle cycle and a wool-specific detergent will help maintain the fabric's integrity.

wool fabric


Silk is a luxurious and delicate fabric that should be handled with care. It is best to wash silk items in cold water, around 20-30 degrees Celsius (68-86 degrees Fahrenheit). Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, as they can damage the fabric. Instead, opt for a gentle silk wash or hand wash.

silk fabric


Linens are durable fabrics commonly used for bedding, tablecloths, and clothing. They can be washed in warm water, around 40-50 degrees Celsius (104-122 degrees Fahrenheit). This temperature helps to remove dirt and stains effectively while maintaining the fabric's quality.

linen fabric

Other Considerations

Stain Removal

For stubborn stains, it is recommended to pretreat the affected area before washing. This can be done by applying a stain remover or a mixture of detergent and water directly to the stain. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before washing.

stain removal

Delicate Cycle

When washing delicate fabrics such as silk or wool, using a delicate cycle on your washing machine can help minimize damage. This cycle typically has a slower spin speed and gentler agitation, reducing the risk of stretching or tearing.

delicate cycle

Read Care Labels

Always check the care labels on your clothing for specific washing instructions. Some fabrics may have unique requirements that differ from the general guidelines mentioned above. Following the manufacturer's recommendations will help ensure the longevity of your garments.

care label


By understanding the best temperatures for washing different fabrics, you can keep your clothes looking their best for longer. Remember to adjust the water temperature based on the fabric type and always follow the care instructions provided. With the right care, your favorite garments will stay fresh and vibrant for years to come.