Rayon is commonly used in clothes production because it imitates many natural materials like cotton and silk; it is a very breathable, soft, and lightweight fabric.
However, it is susceptible to shrinking under certain circumstances; for instance, rayon shrinks in the dryer, and that’s because the fibers are pretty sensitive to heat.
Why Does Rayon Shrink In The Dryer?
Rayon is a semi-synthetic fabric, so it is made of natural fibers like wood pulp and fiber, but it has been changed during the manufacturing process so that it has some characteristics, such as its tendency to shrink easily, like most natural fabrics, such as wool, cotton, and silk.
So, just like other easily shrunken fibers, it must be handled with care during laundry because it is a delicate material that doesn’t have protection against heat; it isn’t as durable as many types of natural or synthetic fibers. Most rayon items are not meant to go into the dryer.
So, if you want to enjoy your rayon-based clothing, you must protect it from unnecessary heat during washing, rinsing, and drying cycles.
Using a dryer not only causes rayon to shrink but could also cause it to tear as well. Tearing is most likely to happen when rayon is dried, along with items that are much heavier than rayon.
Does Rayon Blends Shrink In The Dryer?
Sometimes, manufacturers blend rayon with other fabrics such as polyester and spandex to make it more durable and less susceptible to shrinkage. In these cases, they come with a care label that will tell you the percentage of rayon that your clothing or fabric comprises.
The care label also tells you the best way to maintain your fabric to get the most out of it. For 100% rayon, usually, dry cleaning is suggested since the fabric becomes even more delicate when it gets wet. The care label also recommends avoiding hot water and the dryer to prevent shrinking. Even if the label doesn’t recommend dry cleaning, it is the best way to avoid heat and prevent shrinking.
If the care label is missing, treat the fabric as if it were made of 100% rayon to minimize or prevent shrinking from happening. This is because rayon fabrics are more delicate when wet. It is important to pay attention to the temperature of the water that you used to wash it.
Rayon will likely shrink when the water temperature is hotter than 85 degrees. Even warm water can still shrink it a little. Cool water is the only water temperature recommended for rayon fabric, especially when using a washing machine.
Tips To Avoid Shrinkage In Rayon Fabric
Rayon will shrink in the dryer because of its sensitivity to heat, and even drying the fabric on a lower temperature setting could still cause some amount of shrinking. However, there are certain precautions you can apply to avoid shrinkage in your rayon fabric. Here are some tips to keep in mind to prevent shrinkage below:
1. The instructions on our clothing labels are very important, and we rarely realize how essential it is to read them. These labels are there to help in better cloth management. The cloth label can help you know the percentage of polyester your cloth has for better care.
2. If possible, always hand wash all your rayon fabric. If you will use a washing machine, set it at gentle.
3. During washing and drying cycles, use mesh bags because they are heat resistant and allow water to pass through easily. They protect fabrics from shrinkage. Delicate fabrics such as rayon are preserved in them.
4. Air dry your rayon fabric. It is safer than a dryer, but don’t leave your cloth in it for too long if you decide to use a dryer.
5. Never expose your rayon fabric to hot water. It may be tempting to use hot water during laundry because of its stain-removing prowess, especially when bleaching, which would cause your fabric to shrink. Always use cool or warm water.
6. Avoid twisting and wringing the rayon fabric. It could cause it to shrink or even damage it.
7. If ironing your fabric is necessary, use the nylon setting. It is the lowest setting of heat on iron and the best for rayon fabric. Your fabric might still shrink, but this time around, it would be minimal.
How to Dry Rayon Fabric
Most shrinkage in rayon fabric occurs during the drying cycle. To prevent shrinkage during this period, you must handle your fabric carefully. Here are methods to ensure shrinkage-free drying.
Method 1: Air dry
Air drying is by far the safest way to dry rayon fabric if preventing shrinkage is your goal. Follow the steps below;
Step 1: After washing, squeeze out the fabric gently over a sink to release the water remaining in it. Do not twist the rayon fabric; you could damage the fabric and cause it to shrink.
Step 2: Spread the fabric on a flat surface. Hanging it might make it dry out of shape. Excess sunlight might also shrink the fabric, so your spreading location should be a shady area.
Method 2: Machine Dry
Using your dryer to handle the drying cycle of your rayon fabric isn’t recommended since it will cause some degree of shrinkage. If you still wish to use the dryer, then follow the steps below;
Step 1: Put your rayon fabric in a mesh laundry bag after washing. The bag will protect the fabric from heat and also protect it from damage caused by other clothes in the dryer.
Step 2: Set the dryer at a low heat setting. The low heat setting combined with the mesh bag will reduce shrinkage.
Step 3: Remove the fabric before the drying cycle finishes and air dry it. It will prevent the fabric from shrinking after drying out completely.