Rayon is a semi-synthetic fabric made from wood pulp. Some rayon garments must be dry-cleaned, while others can be hand-washed.
- Check the fabric care tag. Some rayon fabrics have been treated, which allows them to be hand-washed. However, untreated, or viscose, rayon should not get wet, so it needs to be dry cleaned. Check the fabric care tag to see what the garment is made of and what instructions say. If the tag says “dry clean only,” then take the shirt to the cleaners instead of washing it.
- Avoid using the washing machine. Rayon is a delicate fabric that shrinks easily, so you’ll need to wash rayon items by hand. Though you may be tempted to simply toss the shirt in with your next load, avoid doing this or your garment will likely be ruined.
- Pretreat stains with a mild stain-remover. Choose a product made for use on delicate fabrics such as rayon. Spray or rub the stain-remover onto soiled areas, such as the cuffs of the sleeves or the underarm areas.
- Add a drop or 2 of mild detergent to a sink or basin. If you are using a sink, be sure to put the stopper in first. Harsh detergents can damage this fabric, so it’s best to stick with a mild variety, like liquid castile soap. You only need a drop or 2 per garment, otherwise the rayon will become saturated with soap and may be itchy or uncomfortable to wear.
- Avoid using any acidic detergents or cleaners, which could stain the fabric.
- Fill the sink or basin with cold water. Cold water will prevent the fabric from shrinking and the color from bleeding. Swirl the water around to distribute the soap and create bubbles.
- Soak the shirt in the soapy water for 30 minutes. Completely submerge the garment in the water. Let it soak for 30 minutes, and try not to agitate the water too much. You can use your fingers to rub the areas where you applied the stain-treatment product to remove the dirt and grime. After 30 minutes, remove the stopper from the sink, if applicable.
- Rinse the shirt with cool water. Lift the shirt out of the sink or basin and rinse it under cold, running water. Keep rinsing the entire shirt until you don’t see any more bubbles in the water. Concentrate on the areas where you applied the stain-treatment product to be sure it gets rinsed out.
- Avoid using the clothes dryer. Drying rayon will surely cause your shirt to shrink! The fabric can also become worn by rubbing against rougher items in the dryer, such as denim. Instead of using the dryer, you’ll need to air dry rayon items.
- Lay the shirt flat on a towel and roll it up to remove excess water. Avoid wringing out the excess water, which will scrunch up the fabric and leave you with a wrinkled shirt. Instead, lay a dry towel on a flat surface and place the shirt on top of it. Starting at 1 end, roll the towel up with the shirt inside. This will help remove excess water without damaging the fabric.
- Allow the shirt to air dry. You can lay the shirt flat on a clean, dry surface, or you can hang it up. If you hang it, place a towel underneath the shirt to catch drips. If you lay it flat, flip it over every few hours. Allow 24 hours for the fabric to dry completely before you plan to wear the shirt again.
- Avoid putting on hairspray or perfume when wearing rayon, as the droplets could stain the fabric.
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