Washing and drying clothes may seem like a simple task, but did you know that using the wrong methods can damage your clothes? Different fabric types require different washing and drying techniques to maintain their quality and longevity. In this article, we'll explore how to wash and dry different fabric types.
Why it Matters
Washing and drying your clothes correctly is important because it can extend the lifespan of your clothing and save you money in the long run. Using the right methods can also help prevent shrinkage, fading, and damage to delicate fabrics.
How to Wash Different Fabric Types?
Cotton is a durable and easy-to-care-for fabric, but it can shrink in the wash. To avoid this, wash cotton in cold water on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. Avoid using bleach, as it can cause yellowing and damage to the fibers. Tumble dry on a low heat setting or hang to dry.
Silk is a delicate fabric that requires special care. Hand washing in cold water with a gentle detergent is the best method for washing silk. Avoid using hot water or a washing machine, as this can damage the fibers. Hang or lay flat to dry.
Polyester is a synthetic fabric that is durable and easy to care for. Machine wash polyester in warm water on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent. Avoid using bleach or fabric softeners, as they can damage the fibers. Tumble dry on a low heat setting or hang to dry.
Wool is a delicate fabric that can shrink and become misshapen if not washed properly. Hand washing in cold water with a wool-specific detergent is the best method for washing wool. Avoid wringing or twisting the fabric, as this can cause damage. Lay flat to dry.
How to Dry Different Fabric Types?
Tumble drying on a low heat setting or hanging to dry are both safe methods for drying cotton. Avoid drying on high heat, as this can cause shrinkage.
Avoid using a dryer to dry silk, as the heat can damage the fibers. Instead, hang or lay flat to air dry.
Tumble drying on a low heat setting or hanging to dry are both safe methods for drying polyester.
Avoid using a dryer to dry wool, as it can cause shrinkage and misshapen the fabric. Instead, lay flat to air dry.
Most of the clothing which contains elastane can be machine-washed. However, you should avoid chlorine bleach when washing spandex because it can ruin the structure of the material.
Some spandex blend fabrics can be tumble-dried unless stated otherwise on the care label. Keep in mind that clothing items with a higher elastane content may not do well with heat, therefore line-drying is the safest option. If you decide to tumble-dry this material, turn the heat as low as possible.
A lot of t-shirts you own are made of jersey fabric. This material is usually a blend of cotton, wool, and synthetic fibers. It’s versatile since it can offer natural stretch when it’s single-knit, but gives a heavier feel when double-knit.
Taking care of jersey fabric is similar to taking care of cotton because it’s a blend of cotton, wool, and synthetic fibers. Use standard settings on your washing machine, but keep the temperature down as this material is prone to shrinking in high temperatures. Due to that, avoid tumble-drying and use the flat drying method instead.
Rayon (or viscose, modal)
Rayon fabric is made out of cellulose fibers which come from wood pulp. It can also be labeled as viscose or modal. It’s widely used for making clothing and other accessories because of its versatility and low base price.
Taking care of rayon can be tricky. To avoid ruining the fabric you should either hand or machine-wash it on the Delicate setting. Never wring or twist viscose garments.
After washing, allow your rayon clothes to line-dry or leave them to drip-dry.
Recycled polyester (or rPET)
Recycled polyester or rPET for short is a fabric that contains synthetic fibers. Unlike regular polyester, it has a smaller carbon footprint. The reason is that rPET is produced by recycling existing materials (like plastic) instead of making more new waste. Recycled polyester has the same characteristics as regular polyester.
You should machine-wash rPET items using the Permanent Press washing cycle. This material has a tendency to become a little stiff after washing and produce static electricity, therefore you need to add a fabric softener during rinsing.
This fabric is best dried on a low heat setting in the dryer or line-dried.
Cashmere is a very soft and light fabric that feels great on your skin. It also requires special care.
Depending on the fabric composition of your cashmere garment, you can do two things: machine-wash it in cold water (no warmer than 86°F) on a Gentle cycle or gently hand-wash it, also in cold water.
Cashmere should be air-dried and never tumble-dried. Keep it away from any sources of heat, like the sun or a radiator.
There are different types of leather, therefore, it’s difficult to give a set of advice on all of them. The first thing you want to check out is, of course, the care label. If you see the Do Not Wash laundry symbol, you should trust dry cleaners with washing this item.
But there are types of leather you can indeed wash at home. If the care label says so, you’re good to go. You should wash leather like this: select the Gentle or Delicate cycle, set the water temperature to cold, and the spin cycle to medium.
When drying leather, you can use a towel straight after washing to remove excess moisture and then leave it to air-dry. Do not put leather items in a dryer, as it can lead to the material wrinkling.