Cotton – Is It The Right Fabric for Your Employee Uniforms

We all know that cotton is the “fabric of our lives”.  Humans have been using cotton as our staple fabric since 5,000 BC. But is cotton really the best solution for your hotel employee uniforms?  Before considering using a cotton based fabric for your hotel employees, let’s look at the pros and cons of using cotton fabrics for your hotel uniforms first.

Advantages of Cotton:


Softness: We all have our favorite cotton t-shirt – you know the one that’s been worn since your days in college, with holes and raggedy edges. We still keep that t-shirt because it’s still so soft.  Cotton is the fabric that feels soft to the touch and continues to get softer with use.  We all know cotton to be the comfortable, soft fabric that we love to wear all of the time.

Breathable:  Because cotton is a natural fibre, it allows for better air circulation.  Cotton helps remove and repel body moisture. In hotter seasons, cotton repels the heat from the body and keeps the body cool and dry.  In the colder seasons, it acts more like insulation and keeps the cold and wet out.  Because of this, cotton is best used for layering.

Natural and Hypoallergenic Fibre:  Synthetic fibres are all manufactured with chemicals, cotton is not.  Because cotton is a natural fibre, it will not irritate the skin.  This allows the fabric to not cause any skin irritations or skin allergies.  This is why cotton is the recommended fabric for sensitive skin and babies.

Versatile:  There are so many different variations of textiles that can be used with cotton –including gingham, oxfords, denim, and twill fabrics.  And because it takes dye well, cotton clothing is available in vivid colors and patterns.

Disadvantages of Cotton:

Wrinkles:  We all know how much cotton wrinkles after a wash.  If not removed from the dryer immediately, you will most likely have to iron your garment to remove all of the wrinkles.  Do you trust your hotel employees enough to iron their front desk uniform shirts everyday? That is something to consider when considering a cotton based hotel uniform garment.

Shrinkage:  Remember that button-up bell-hop uniform shirt you had? Remember how great it fit before you washed it?  Then surprisingly it shrank a full size and now it looks like you’re wearing a toddler shirt.  Cotton shrinks…terribly.  That is why it is recommended to size up on cotton uniforms.  This is also why hotel executives have had to re-order uniform shirts because the size initially ordered is not longer fitting correctly.

Fading and Bleeding:  When washing your fabric, although it does hold color better during the dying process, the colors can also wash out very quickly.  When washing your cotton garment, it is advised to wash with “like” colors, as it has a tendency to “bleed” its colors to other garments – hence the rule to “not wash your red socks with your white t-shirts”.  Furthermore, once the excess dye has been removed in the wash, the garment tends to fade quicker when in contact with sunlight.


Now that you are more familiar with cotton fabrics and its pros and cons, how do you feel about using a cotton based fabric for your hotel employee uniforms?  Do you feel somewhat comfortable in making a decision for your employee uniforms?  If not, we understand.  Cotton is a very complicated fabric.  Contact one of our uniform specialists today and we can help you make a better decision on whether to use a more cotton based fabric for your uniform garments.  We will help you outweigh the pros and cons by assessing your employees and even your environment, all without compromising your overall desired look and help you decide on the best style garments to use.