Proper Laundering Care for 18 Different Fabrics

With everyone trying to stretch their dollars further these days, it makes sense to take care of the things we have, rather than buy replacements.  This goes for clothing for women, men and children as much as anything else we own and use on a daily basis.

Different fabrics need caring for in different ways, and laundry labels don't always tell you enough about how to treat your clothes.  Here's a list of tips on washing and caring for 18 fabrics. 

1. Acetate
Most acetate garments should be dry-cleaned. Some knits are washable.  If laundering is indicated, hand wash in warm water with mild suds.  Do not twist or wring out the garment.  Press while damp on the wrong side with a cool iron.  If finishing the right side use a pressing cloth.

2. Acrylic
Machine wash warm using warm water, adding softener during the final rinse cycle.  Machine dry using low temperature and remove  promptly when dry.  Static electricity can be reduced by using a fabric softener in every third or fourth washing.  If ironing is required, use moderately warm iron.

3. Cashmere
Even if cashmere doesn't get dirty or smell of sweat easily, it should still be washed after three wearings. Cashmere is very delicate and the less often it's washed, the longer it lasts.  Wash in cold water in a special underwear bag or pillowcase using wool-washing products.  To hand wash, use a wool product or diluted shampoo.  Wash and rinse cashmere quickly in cold water until it runs clear.  Rather than twist, roll cashmere in a towel and then dry flat. Use a very-hot iron n the underside of the garment. 

4. Cotton 
Cotton can withstand high temperatures and any good detergent will do. Use chlorine bleach only on whites ad color-safe bleach on dyed cottons.  Cotton wrinkles easily and may require frequent pressing with a hot iron. 

5. Denim
Cool machine wash 40 degree.  Press while damp with a hot iron.

6. Fleece
Machine wash warm and remove quickly to avoid matting.  Hang to dry; do not use dryer.

7. Linen 
Any stains should be treated prior to washing.  Some linen is washable, while others are dry clean only. Be sure to check the label.  Washable household linen, handkerchiefs and apparel can be washed easily and become softer with use.  White linens should be dried in the sun to keep their whiteness. Linen fabrics may need frequent pressing, unless treated for crease resistance.

8. Lycra
Hand or machine wash in lukewarm water.  Never use chlorine bleach on any fabric containing Lycra.  Either drip dry or machine dry using low-temperature settings.

9. Microfibers
Acrylic, nylon and polyester microfibers are machine washable, machine dryable or dry-cleanable Follow the instructions for washing fabrics consisting of these individual fibers. 

10. Nylon
Most items made from nylon can be machined washed and tumbled dried at low temperatures. Use warm water and add a fabric softener to the final rinse cycle. To minimize static electricity use a dyer sheet when machine drying. Remove articles from the dyer as soon as the tumbling cycle is completed. If ironing is required, use a warm iron.

11. Olyolefin (Olefin)
Most items can be washed or dry-cleaned with stains removed by wiping with lukewarm water and detergent. If fabric is machine washed, it should be line dried or tumbled dried with gentle or no heat. Do not iron.

12. Polyester
Use warm water add fabric softener to final rinse, machine dry low and remove promptly from dryer. Use a moderate warm setting if ironing is needed. All polyesters can be dry cleaned.

13. Rayon
Dry cleaning is recommended but some rayons can be hand or machine washed. Check the label. To wash, use lukewarm or cool water.  Gently work suds through the fabric and rinse in lukewarm water. Don't wring or twist. Lay flat on a clean non-colored towel to dry. Press on the wrong side while damp with an iron set at moderate.  No chlorine bleach allowed. .

14. Silk
Only pre-washed silk can be washed but dry cleaning is preferred. If hand washing, use mild soap and lukewarm water then lay flat on a clean non-colored towel to dry. Never twist or squeeze to remove water. Iron while still damp on reverse side. Never expose to sunlight as this can yellow the fabric. 

15. Spandex
Hand or machine wash in lukewarm water and rinse thoroughly.  Never use chlorine bleach on any fabric containing Lycra.  Either drip dry or machine dry on a low-temperature setting. If ironing is required, iron rapidly and don't leave the iron in one place too long. Use a low temperature setting on the iron.

16. Suede
Recommendation is dry cleaning.  Although Machine wash gentile cycle is allowed.

17. Viscose
Viscose is a semi-synthetic material containing natural fibres treated with chemicals. Wash inside out in a two-thirds-full load on a medium, delicate setting. Dry on a hanger (never tumble-dry) and iron while still slightly damp.

18. Wool 
Wool is very delicate and shouldn't be boiled or washed with chlorine-based products. Dry cleaning or hand-washing is best, but you can machine-wash wool mixes. Always check the laundry label and set your machine to a short non-spin program. Hand-wash wool at a maximum temperature of 30° using special wool washing products and without soaking. Gently scrub and rinse in lukewarm water, gently squeezing the water out and rinsing in cold water. Dry flat on a clean towel.

Always steam when pressing wool. Use the wool setting. Avoid pressing wool totally dry. When possible, press on the reverse side of the fabric. When necessary to press on the right side, use a press cloth to avoid a shine. Lower and lift the iron, don't slide it back and forth. Prevent imprinting inside detail by placing a piece of brown paper or tissue paper under folds, seams or darts.

Rest wool garments 24 hours between wearing. Hang on a shaped or padded hangers leaving lots of space between other garments to shed any wrinkles and return to the garments original shape. 

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