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Rayon is the delicate, whisper-thin fabric that often has a vibrant-colored print or a drape effect. When summer comes, rayon blouses may be among your favorite tops, thanks to their airy, California-chic feel. Cleaning a rayon blouse can be as delicate a process as the fabric itself, but if you’re careful, your blouse will be clean and fresh in no time.
Read the Labels
Most rayon blouses come in two types of washing options: washable and dry clean-only rayon. Read your rayon labels carefully; you don’t want to assume the blouse is washable when it’s not. When wet, rayon fibers are at their most vulnerable and can shrink, bleed colors or change to a stiff texture. Following the label is important because if you machine wash a blouse that requires hand-washing, the delicate rayon fibers can break down too fast and you may find your top doesn’t last as long as you’d hoped.
If your rayon blouse tag reads “hand wash only," you can wash with warm water and a wash made for delicate fabrics. The key to hand washing rayon is to avoid wringing out or twisting the fabric, which will damage the fibers. Instead, gently squeeze out excess moisture. If your rayon blouse can be put in the washing machine, wash in cool water on the gentle or delicate cycle. Blouses that say “dry clean only” should be dry cleaned if they are a bright print or color or if they have stitching or beading since these fabrics need a professional’s touch.
Once your blouse is clean, you can’t just hang it up and go. Instead, put the blouse on a towel and roll the blouse up to soak up excess moisture without damaging the fibers. If the label says to dry flat, place the blouse on a new, clean towel or drying rack and reshape it to the appropriate blouse outline so it dries just right. You may need to turn the blouse over a few times to allow it to air-dry on both sides. If you hang the blouse to dry, hang on a padded hanger to protect the delicate material.
Just like your skin, rayon fabrics will change color in the sun. But unlike your skin, rayon won’t get tanner or more vibrant. Instead, the fabric will fade and lose the color you love. That’s why it’s best to store rayon fabric out of the sun. If your rayon blouses get wrinkled in your closet or drawer, use a warm iron set on a steam setting. Also, use a pressing cloth between the blouse’s layers to keep the garment from being singed.