Any experience with rayon fabric? or linen?


Hello all. I keep finding clothes that are made of rayon that say dry cean only. I recently bought a dress I really like and didn’t realize til I got home that it was rayon and said dry clean only. Does anyone have anything made of rayon? How do you wash it? Does it absolutely have to be dry cleaned? I looked it up on wiki, which didn’t help.

The same goes for a lot of linen things I find in stores. Does it absolutely have to be dry cleaned? Anyone know?



The fibers of rayon will weaken & split or fray if the garment is washed a lot. This is why they put “dry clean only” on rayon. There is minimal shrinkage in rayon.

Some manufacturers put “dry clean only” on their product, so they get professionally pressed and look just as nice as the day you bought it in the store… This is also the case with rayon.

However, Rayon can be washed. Cold Water only, tumble dry (lowest heat) for about 5 minutes & hang to dry. Sometimes I spray the garment with spray starch so it doesn’t feel so limp after it drys. You may/may not need to touch up with an iron.

I sometimes wash many rayon items and then take to the cleaners for “press only”

Just my two cents from someone who used to work in a dry cleaners.

PS If you have a lining, see what that is made of. Most are polyester and can be washed.


I wash everything - unless it has a lining or is something I don’t think will come back quite right, like a silk sweater I just took to the cleaners.

Silk, rayon, linen - I wash all of it. Wash by hand with Woolite, hang or lay flat to dry, do not wring out, do not pull on anything. When it’s dry, use a spray bottle of water and a good iron to get the wrinkles out. I can’t remember the last time I sent silk to the cleaners other than that sweater.

Oh - if it is a very bright color, like a deep red, I will send it away. Deep colors will tend to run or bleed if you try to wash them.



thanks for the responses. it doesn’t have a lining. it’s all one layer of rayon. It’s a blue dress I got on sale at gap. so if i wash it in a gentle cold cycle and let it dry flat or tumble no heat, it should be fine?


I concur with SirOscar’s professional experience.

The only rayon items I’ve had have been cheap, light Indian-made dresses and harem pants. They wash OK (hand wash in cold water, especially if you think the colour might run) but don’t always keep their shape very well so drying flat is a good idea, yes. The fabric tends to get a very fine crumpled texture when washed. Light rayon can be a complete pain to iron because you sometimes have to leave it flat on the board till quite cool before moving it to iron the next bit - move it hot and it takes on marks from the folds created as it moves. Depending on how easy the item is to iron, it will probably come back from the dry cleaner looking “newer”. I’ve only had “throw-away” rayon clothes so I don’t know how better-quality rayon fares. Heavier rayon probably isn’t as bad.

Linen washes OK but with heavy linen - say, winter skirt weight - I have found it impossible to press properly with an iron at home. You get the large wrinkles out but can’t get the completely smooth texture back, whereas the dry cleaners’ presses can. Also, ironing dark linens to death in an attempt to get the texture back can just give it that shine you get on a well-worn suit trouser seat and can give dark colours that washed-a-million-times tired look. For light summer-weight linens, you might not mind that slightly crumpled texture but the lighter linens iron up much better with domestic irons anyway so you don’t get the shiny/worn-looking surface.


Linen can be washed, but tends to wrinkle badly and needs to be ironed at high heat. It is tricky to do this and I avoid buying it. It’s beautiful, but you sit down once and when you get up, your skirt or pants is wrinkled.

Rayon tends to be cheap, but what you save in the purchase price, I think you pay in dry cleaning. Maybe you can find info on washing rayon of Google.


I would not put it in the machine unless you have it in one of those mesh lingerie bags. Then hang it to dry, and be warned it will probably look like heck when it comes out, it will be very wrinkled. Smooth it out, but don’t pull or tug on the fabric.

Also - you say it is blue. If it is a deep navy or a vivid color with a pattern you may wish to just take it to the cleaners so the colors don’t run.



I had a beautiful silk/linen suit years ago that wrinkled when you sat down and I complained about it at lunch with my boss - he said that wrinkles in the right places just show that it is a beautiful quality piece of fabric and nothing to worry about. :smiley: I have never stopped wearing linen since then! As a matter of fact, right now I have on an over sized linen blouse with baggy linen capri length draw string pants. No work for me today - totally casual!! :wink:

And it will all go in the wash this weekend.



it’s plain blue, not very dark. maybe doing it in the sink by hand might be better. but I do have one of those mesh things for delicates. i’m not sure if we have woolite though.


Do you have a baby detergent, like Dreft? That would also be very gentle. Otherwise use a bit of shampoo. :smiley: If it’s gentle enough for your head, it should be gentle enough for a rayon dress. Better than bullet proof Tide!



good idea. I work at a store that sells dreft.


THANK YOU ALL for this thread!!! :bowdown: I was just fretting a couple of hours ago about all the stuff I was going to have to get dry-cleaned just so I could wear it again.

Halelujah, I can wash it now!!


I think a lot of the “dry clean only” tags are for the garment manufacturers’ protection in case the garment gets ruined. I’ve got some beautiful embroidered cotton and linen pieces that do just fine on the extra-gentle (called “hand wash”) cold water cycle of my washer. I even wash my bras and slips on this setting and they last a really long time. The elastic on the bras stretches out from wear before the fabric wears out.

I’ve never had any problems using unscented/non-colored Tide with any of my delicates, including the white, gauzy embroidered cotton blouse that gets a LOT of wear (at least once every two weeks) and is in its third summer. I can’t remember where I heard that Woolite isn’t the greatest, but I can’t stand the smell of it so I wouldn’t use it anyway. :stuck_out_tongue:

Now stuff like my rayon blend trousers with the creases- I take those to the dry cleaner. I tried washing a pair once and while the fabric held up well, I could never get the creases right. :shrug:


You might also want to look and see if you have any discount dry cleaners in the area. Not all dry cleaners charge the same rates. In our old town, we had a dry cleaner that charged only $1.25 to clean and press any item. I would always take things there over handwashing.


my favorite fabric down here in summer is linen rayon blend, linen makes rayon stronger, and rayon makes linen keep its ironed look longer. with cotton added it is stronger, less flimsy, less likely to fray and easier to iron. but if you like a crisp look at all times, this is not it. wash according to directions, most of what I have allows cold water wash. be careful how you hand skirts and pants, the sag can stay in the fabric if they are hung wet. but it is so cool and comfortably it is still my first choice

linen is supposed to be ironed only on the wrong side of the fabric.

we have pretty hard water. we wash all darks on woolite for colors and use fabric softener. for real darks I add calgon dissolved in a cup of cold water to the first wash in my front loader


We have a lot of black clothing between the two of us, and I LOVE the Woolite and the Tide brands made specifically for black clothing. It truly does keep things from fading. It’s a bit more expensive, but then again I don’t use it for every load. Worth the cost if it makes my clothes last longer!! :thumbsup:



today I handwashed the blue rayon dress. it’s laying on a drying-rack now.


You will have to tell us how it turns out!! :smiley:



Rayon has to be dry-cleaned. If washed at home, it tends to fray, shrink up at the seams, it just becomes a mess.

I love Linen. But, it is easily wrinkled when worn. I wash mine at home though and the garments keep well. I have had one skirt for many years now and it still looks good even if a little faded.


it looks fine. might need a little of ironing. i’m pretty sure it is all dry by now, o i’ll try it on and see how it looks.

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