Rayon-Originally called artificial silk
Rayon is a fabric, made popular by it's ability to thwart static cling, it's easy absorbency, and low tendency toward pilling (fraying and balling up, which is an oft loathed characteristic of man-made fibers). Rayon does however tend to shrink, so it's important to know just how to care for your rayon garments, vintage or new, to keep them looking great longer.
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Originally called artificial silk, rayon was first manufactured in France in the late 1800s from tree cellulose, as an alternative to silk, but rather than replacing the need for and use of silk, it eventually carved out it's own niche in the fabric world. Today, there are both washable and dry-clean only versions of rayon available. Rayon is not as durable as, say, cotton, and needs to be treated with care.
Hand washing in cool water, using a hand wash detergent is the preferred way to clean rayon, but if you must machine wash rayon fabrics, be sure to use a delicate wash setting and cold water. When machine washing, it's always a good idea to wash rayon garments separately, in mesh or net bags. Remove rayon belts from rayon dresses, and put them in their own mesh bag for laundering, otherwise you're liable to end up with one or the other damaged when they come out of the wash. This is important because rayon is even more delicate when it is wet, and is more susceptible to rips, tears, and snags. Never bleach rayon. Bleach breaks down the durability of the fibers and it will rip, even after the fabric has dried. Line dry or hang rayon garments on non-wire hangers to dry. Placing items on a towel to dry flat is also acceptable.
When in doubt? DRY CLEAN! If the wash instructions are missing from a vintage rayon garment, which can many times be the case, take the safer route and drop your delicate laundry items at the dry cleaners. If you spent a little extra to get a great vintage piece, you can spend a little extra to keep it looking great!
Understanding the basics of fabric can guide you in knowing how to care it. Rayon offers many virtues, but you have to take care of it to enjoy them!
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Posted in Other Home Post Date 10/29/2016