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How to care for clothes made from Rayon

Rayon is a delicate fabric and needs to be treated carefully. Find out how to look after it in our guide.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Cleanipedia Team

care for rayon clothes

Making sure you wash your clothes properly is essential to making them last. With common fabrics like polyester, and even cotton, it’s not too difficult to know what to do, but if the fabric you’re dealing with is rayon this might not be the case.

Rayon isn’t so frequently used, which means that a lot of people are unsure of how to wash it properly when they encounter it. To help you care for your rayon, we’ve put together this handy guide with everything you need to know.

Store your rayon clothes in cloth bags (either hanging or folded) to avoid the delicate finish from tearing. It may be fiddly but it’ll be worth it to keep your clothes looking great. Make a habit of either washing rayon by hand or using wash bags and a delicate setting on the washing machine.

What is rayon fabric?

‘What is rayon?’ certainly isn’t an uncommon question. To answer it simply, rayon is known as a ‘semi-synthetic’ fabric. It’s made from cellulose, just like cotton, but it’s heavily processed, so it can’t be classed as natural, but it can’t be classed as artificial either.

In terms of its appearance, it looks pretty similar to silk, although its texture is quite like cotton. It’s soft, absorbent and breathable, making it an increasingly popular choice for clothing like activewear, but also blouses, thanks to its silky finish.

Why rayon is difficult to wash

Despite all of its advantages, a lot of people are put off buying rayon because it can be hard to wash. When it gets wet, it loses strength, which can cause a few problems!

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Does rayon shrink? Unfortunately, it does. It can also tear or lose shape if you don’t wash it properly, which is why it’s so important you know what you’re doing.

How to wash rayon

A lot of rayon fabrics have to be dry-cleaned, so always check the care label before going ahead and washing it.

If you can wash it, use a gentle detergent such as Persil Silk & Wool and opt for hand-washing rather than using the washing machine. Fill a bowl with cool water and add the detergent, before leaving the fabric to soak for around half an hour. Then rinse and hang out to dry naturally.

These instructions are also the same if you’re wondering how to wash viscose – an almost identical fabric. It’s a bad idea to machine wash viscose; even polyester viscose washing instructions are usually dry clean only.

You can find out how to wash each of your clothing items, whether they’re made from rayon, viscose or any other material, by looking at the care label. If you’re unsure of what all the little symbols on there mean, check out our wash label guide and you’ll be able to find everything you need to know!    

  • Check the label to see whether your garment needs dry-cleaning.

  • If it can be washed at home, opt for either hand-washing or washing on a delicate setting in the washing machine, using a wash bag.

  • Let your rayon garments air-dry after washing them.

Originally published