How to Wash Rayon Fabrics? (The right way)

Dry cleaning is the most effective and safest way to clean rayon fabrics. However, if you plan to machine-wash a rayon fabric, turn it inside out and put it in a mesh laundry bag to avoid any damage. Next, set the washer to run on cold water, low spin, and delicate cycle settings. Alternatively, you can hand-wash the fabric in cold water using a delicate detergent.

Key Takeaways 

  • Rayon fabrics are prone to shrinking quite often because they have a low resistance to heat, so, avoid washing the fabric at high temperatures.
  • Rayon fabric is best suited for dry cleaning only in order to maintain its shape in the long run.
  • Washing a rayon garment by hand and air drying is the second preferred alternative to keep it in good shape.
  • If your rayon garment is machine-washable, start by checking the care label to see if there are any specific instructions that you need to follow.
  • For fabrics that are specifically labeled as “Dry clean only” follow the instructions as per the care label as even handwash can damage the fabric.
  • Avoid putting the rayon fabric in the dryer to prevent damage and shrinkage.

How to wash rayon fabric safely?

There are technically three ways to wash rayon fabric, depending on the instructions on the care label.

Here are the best methods to wash rayon fabric in the right order.

  • Dry Cleaning (most recommended)
  • Hand wash (Second preferred)
  • Machine Wash (Least recommended)

In this article, we will cover two methods, i.e., hand washing and machine washing.

Let’s take a quick look at both methods in detail.


Read the care label

No matter what type of fabric you wash, it’s recommended to read the care label carefully before deciding on the washing method.

Ideal wash settings

  • Detergent Type: Mild
  • Fabric Softener: Not required
  • Water temperature: Cold
  • Washing Machine setting (if machine washing): Cold Water, Gentle Cycle, Normal soil level, and Low spin setting.
  • Iron: Iron on a low heat setting

Things required

  • Sink or wash tub
  • Cold water
  • Mild Detergent
  • Oxiclean
  • A thick cloth or a towel

How to wash rayon fabrics by hand?

Rayon is a delicate fabric that can easily get ruined if it is not washed the right way.

While dry cleaning is the recommended method to wash your rayons safely, you can hand wash them as long as the care label recommends this method.

So, if the care label is missing or not clear, stick to dry cleaning.

Instructions to hand-wash rayons

Step 1: Pre-treating the stains

Start by pre-treating any stains on the fabric with a mild stain remover.

Make sure to use a suitable solution specially designed for delicate fabrics, including rayon.

It’s important that you avoid using something like chlorine bleach, as it can damage and weaken the fabric. Instead, you are better off using a commercial stain remover like Oxiclean or Oxo Brite.

If you are not comfortable using a commercial stain remover or if you don’t have access to one, you can try using a vinegar and water solution to get rid of the stains.

Just mix equal parts white vinegar and water together and start applying this solution to the affected area.

So, always test the stain remover solution in an area that won’t be seen before putting it on areas that will be seen.

The procedure to remove stains from rayon fabric is fairly simple, just mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a bowl and apply the solution to the stained areas. Next, allow the stains to settle for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

Then, use a clean, wet towel or cloth to blot the stain, followed by rinsing the affected areas.

Step 2: Use Cool water and mild detergent

Fill a container (sink or basin) with cool water and add a mild detergent.

Make sure to add a suitable amount of detergent.

Let the solution mix well before adding the clothes to it.

Additionally, you can also use a small amount of baking soda or distilled vinegar and mix it well in the container.

Step 3: Soaking the rayon fabric

Put the rayon fabric in the sink or tub and move it around gently to get the dirt out.

Next, leave your rayon clothes to soak for 10–15 minutes in sudsy water.

Step 4: Agitating the fabric

Now, give the water a thorough yet gentle agitation to get rid of the dirt and clear the soapy water.

Next, fill the container with clean water to rinse the garment. You can also rinse it under running tap water. 

Note: Do not soak or keep the rayon in a damp state for longer, it will start losing its strength.

Step 4: Rinse and dry

Give a final rinse with cool, clean water to get rid of soap residues.

Once you are done washing the rayon clothes, do not wring them; instead, give them a good shake to discharge excess water.

Now, simply hang the clothes on a hanger and let them air dry naturally.

Alternatively, you can also lay the rayon garment flat to air dry naturally.

Lastly, try to avoid dryers, as this can damage the fabric.

How to wash rayon fabrics in the washing machine?

Front-load washing machines are the most preferred choice to wash rayon fabrics.

This is because front-load washing machines are gentle on clothes due to their design.

Let us look into the steps below to wash rayon garments in a washing machine with care.

Step 1: Sort your laundry

Start by sorting your laundry and separating rayon fabrics from the pile.

You can include other delicate items, such as silk and cotton, for machine washing along with rayon fabrics.

Note: Delicate fabrics should always be washed separately to avoid damage due to tangling and to make sure that the other fabrics can be washed in a machine.

Step 2: Put the rayon clothes in a mesh laundry bag

As a safety measure, you may place the rayon garments in a mesh laundry bag.

For best results, reverse the clothing by simply turning it inside out before placing it in the laundry bag.

Step 3: Pour some mild detergent into the washer

The next step is to pour some mild detergent on the washer’s detergent tray or directly into the drum, depending on the design and type of washer.

You can use detergents suitable for delicate garments, such as ones that are naturally processed.

Now, push the start button and let the cycle complete.

Step 4: Put your clothes in and select the right wash cycle

Now, put your clothes in the washer and set the cycle to gentle or delicate.

Also, make sure to set the water temperature to cold and the spin speed to low.

Remember, high RPMs can cause damage to your rayon fabrics.

Some washers offer wool, silk, or hand wash as a wash setting; if yours has one, use it.

Step 6: Rinse and dry

Once the wash cycle is complete, remove the garments and lay them flat or over a clothesline to air dry naturally.

Avoid using a clothes dryer for delicate garments like rayon.

Rayon clothes dry faster when left out in the air, so don’t put them in direct sunlight to keep them from shrinking or fading.

If you still want to use a dryer, then simply insert the rayon garment in a laundry bag before loading it into the dryer.

Finally, run a delicate cycle with the lowest heat setting or no heat setting. Just make sure to set a lower duration for machine drying.

Can dry clean only rayon be hand washed?

It is recommended that you strictly stick to the instructions on the care label rather than being experimental and trying something new.

Hand washing or machine washing rayon fabric labeled “dry clean only” can cause the fabric to lose strength and luster.

So, to be on the safe side, unless your fabric is clearly labeled as washable with proper washing instructions, you should go for dry cleaning by default.

Rayon Ironing Tips

Rayon fabrics tend to get wrinkled, especially after being washed, so they need to be ironed to get back to their original shape.

However, you need to keep certain tips in mind while ironing rayon clothes to avoid damaging them.

  • Always use the lowest heat setting on your iron for rayon fabrics.
  • When ironing it’s best to turn the fabric inside out and then use a pressing cloth between the garment and the iron.
  • Use a spray bottle to mist the fabric before ironing if it becomes slightly damp.
  • Rayon fabric does not like heat, meaning they don’t tolerate the heat well so, if possible, steam out wrinkles instead of pressing it directly.
  • Directly pressing the fabric at a high temperature can burn the cellulosic fibers.

How to store rayon fabric?

Rayon fabric must be stored properly to ensure it does not deteriorate over time.

Make sure you store rayon fabrics in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight, and moisture.

You can also use acid-free tissue paper to wrap the fabric before storing it.

Fold them right and lay them on a flat surface in your closet or cupboard to keep them from getting wrinkled.

Alternatively, you can simply hang them with a hanger and store them in your closet.

How frequently should you wash rayon fabric?

There is no hard-and-fast rule as to how frequently you should wash rayon fabric. The frequency with which the fabric is washed is entirely dependent on how dirty it is and its current state.

In general, rayon fabrics can be washed as needed by following the instructions on the care label.

Dry cleaning is the preferred method of cleaning rayons. However, if your clothes qualify for hand washing or machine washing, you may wash them in cold water on a gentle cycle by using a mild detergent.

Final Thoughts

Rayon fabrics are too delicate to handle when it comes to washing them.

If the label says “dry clean only,” take it to the dry cleaner closest to you for the best results.

Trust me, it will be the best decision that you can make, as it is best not to wash clothing items that are labeled “Dry Clean Only.”

That being said, if you are hand washing or machine washing the rayon fabric (if the care label allows), do not keep it wet for long hours because these fabrics tend to lose their shape in damp conditions.

Lastly, you should also avoid frequent washing of garments made with rayon fibers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you bleach rayon fabrics?

Yes, you can bleach rayon fabrics that are tagged as machine-washable or hand-washable. However, using regular bleach can damage the fabric; therefore, using something like oxygen bleach is highly recommended if at all you plan to bleach.

Does rayon shrink in the dryer?

Yes, fabrics can shrink in the dryer, especially if they’re dried at medium-to-high heat. Therefore, it is advised not to put rayon garments directly into the dryer. Instead, it is best to hang them up and allow them to air dry naturally. So, if you want to use a dryer, you can use a low heat or no heat setting along with gentle tumble settings.

Can you iron rayon fabric?

Yes, you can iron rayon fabric. However, make sure to set the lowest temperature setting on your iron and use a pressing cloth between the garment and the iron. Steam ironing is also a good option, and it is recommended.

Can 100% rayon be hand-washed?

Ideally, rayon fabrics are best suited for dry cleaning. However, if the care label suggests hand washing or machine washing, it is ok to go ahead and hand wash them as long as you use a mild detergent and cold water.

How to wash rayon so it doesn’t shrink?

Keeping the rayon away from high temperatures while washing or drying should ensure it does not shrink. However, it is still recommended to confirm if the fabric is washable or dry clean only.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)