It’s essential to learn how to wash rayon fabric safely and effectively. Rayon isn’t as sturdy as cotton since it tends to lose its stability and strength. It can also shrink and get distorted when exposed to water frequently. Many items are made of rayon because of its amazing features, so having the skill to wash this fabric will help you maintain most of your clothes, sheets, and more.
How to Wash Rayon - Important Reminders
Knowing the proper technique of how to wash rayon fabric isn’t enough to ensure you maintain or prolong its quality. There are also important considerations that you need to keep in mind. Some of them are as follows:
1. Read the Label
Like any other fabric care guide, the top advice given by experts is to read the care instructions or laundry symbols tag. It goes without saying that the manufacturer is the only one that knows what’s best for their product.
2. Choose the Right Laundry Products
Mild detergents are the right option when it comes to washing fabric as delicate as rayon. They will prevent any damages and cause little to no damages to the fabric color. When treating stains, oxygen bleach solutions, such as Nellie's All-Natural Oxygen Brightener, OXO Brite, and OxiClean, are preferable. Using chlorine bleach, even if diluted, can weaken the fibers.
3. Use Low-Temperature Water
Cold or cool water is the safest to use for most fabrics because hot or warm water can cause fiber damage and shrinkage. Thus, when you follow the technique of how to wash rayon using a washing machine, ensure you set the water temperature to cool or cold.
4. Use Non-Metal Hangers or a Drying Rack
A drying rack is the best item to use when drying your rayon-made item to prevent sagging. If you prefer to use a hanger or don’t have a drying rack, use non-metal ones. Metal-based hangers can leave rusty spots on the fabric.
Padded hangers are ideal for your rayon tops, such as many types of shirts, jackets, and blazers. The pads will ensure there won’t be any hanger marks and prevent sagging as they hold the items better than those without pads.
5. Do Not Twist, Wring, or Bunch Up
As noted, rayon fabric is a little weaker when it’s wet, so always make sure that you don’t wring, twist, or bunch it up, both during washing and drying. Doing any of those can cause fiber breakage and even stitching damages.
How to Wash Rayon - The Right Procedures
You’ll find that dry cleaning is the recommended method for cleaning most rayon-made items. With the many rayon varieties, you can now find ones that you can wash manually or using your washer. That said, have the rayon-made item dry cleaned by a professional if the label says so.
How to Wash Rayon by Hand
Washing rayon fabric by hand is the safest way to go if the item you’re washing doesn’t have its label anymore. It’s also the best choice if the fabric is both machine- and hand-washable. Following the steps below when handwashing your rayon fabric.
1. Pre-Treat Stains
Check the fabric for any stains present. If you have one in spray form, simply spray it on the stain and then dab a clean white cloth or cotton until the stain appears lighter. If it’s a non-spray stain remover, you can put a little amount on a clean cloth or a piece of cotton and carefully dab it on the stain.
You can also use a homemade stain remover by mixing equal parts of water and distilled white vinegar. Just wet a clean cloth or piece of cotton with the solution and dab it on the stain.
Whatever stain remover you use, let the solution sit on the stain for a maximum of 10 minutes. Next, dab a clean towel or piece of cotton on the solution-soaked stain. Repeat the whole process twice or thrice, especially for the most stubborn stains.
2. Make a Soap Solution
Fill your basin, bucket, or sink with cold or cool water, at least three-fourths full. Add the right amount of detergent by following the product instruction. Agitate the water with soap until you see suds.
3. Wash and Soak the Fabric
The next step in this manual method of how to wash rayon is to place the fabric in the solution until it’s saturated completely. Gently agitate the fabric to help loosen any dirt and stain present. Try focusing more on the armpits, necklines, hems, and cuffs or sleeves, as these are the areas where sweat and body oil accumulate more.
Once done, leave the fabric to soak in the solution for a maximum of 15 minutes. Then, gently agitate the soapy fabric, as discussed earlier.
4. Rinse Well
In the rinsing step of the how to wash rayon procedure, you have two options. You can fill another container with clean cold or cool water or use running water.
If you’ll use a container, simply hold the fabric on both of its ends and dip it gently into the water. Then, lift it slowly. Do this a few times until clear or soap-free water runs. You may also do a second rinse using another container with clean water.
On the other hand, spread out the fabric and hold its two ends. Then, simply let running water pass through the whole fabric until clear or soap-free water runs. Do this on both sides.
Just make sure the water pressure isn’t too strong since it might damage the fabric.
5. Remove Excess Water
Get a clean, thick, white towel and spread it on a clean flat surface. Put the wet fabric on top of it, and slowly roll the white towel. Doing this will allow the towel to absorb most of the water from the washed fabric. You can repeat the step using another clean, white towel if you want to.
The next step to take on this manual technique of how to wash rayon is to pull the fabric gently to remove any wrinkles or creases. Not doing this step will leave hard-to-remove wrinkles or creases on the fabric as it dries.
6. Allow to Dry
The best way to dry rayon fabric is to leave it on a clean, flat surface to maintain its shape. As mentioned, you can also place it on a drying rack or hanger.
Let it air dry, and make sure you don’t place it directly under the sun to prevent color fading. The rack or the flat surface should be in a shaded, open area where sunlight still strikes and there’s sufficient air.
How to Wash Rayon in the Washer
When the rayon-made item is safe to wash in a washer, below are the steps that you need to follow.
1. Pre-Treat Stains
Follow the same technique as above.
2. Turn the Fabric Inside Out and Place in a Mesh Bag
Before washing rayon fabric in your washer, turn it inside out. This important how to wash rayon step will help protect the fabric’s color, even if the item is colorfast. It’s also best to place it in a mesh laundry bag if you will wash it with other types of fabric.
Put the fabric in a mesh bag, especially the most delicate ones and when you’ll wash it with other types of fabrics and/or use a top-loading machine. Doing so will help prevent damage to the thread or stitching and the fabric when the washer starts to function.
3. Fill the Washing Machine With Water
Fill your washer with the right amount of water and detergent. You may also add the right amount of fabric conditioner, if you prefer, in the right compartment.
4. Set Your Washing Machine
Set the wash cycle to gentle and the timer from three to five minutes, depending on how dirty the fabrics you’re washing are. Then, set the temperature to cold or cool based on the care label’s recommendation. Remember that there is a difference between a cold cycle vs. tap water, so again, make sure you read the label well.
Set it to the lowest cool or cold temperature if the exact temperature or temperature range isn’t indicated on the label.
5. Wash and Rinse
Of course, the next how to wash rayon in the washer is to start the wash and rinse cycle. You can rinse the washed fabric twice if you want to.
6. Allow to Dry
Most automatic washers today will ensure your fabric comes out a little damp and not too wet. Thus, you can just allow the washed fabric to air dry by following the same drying step as the manual procedure on how to wash rayon.
How to Wash Rayon - In Conclusion
Washing items made of rayon fabric isn’t as complicated as washing more sensitive fabrics, such as wool. Still, you shouldn’t be reckless. Always make sure you don’t use strong detergent products, chlorine-based bleach or stain removers, warm or hot water, and force. Machine or tumble drying isn’t recommended, as well.
You can always refer to this guide on how to wash rayon, both manually and using a machine, if you’re in doubt and can’t remember the right steps and precautions.