Many people have complained that their beautiful items of viscose clothing have shrunk when washing them; mainly due to mistaking them for cotton, which is very hardy and can be washed in high temperatures. Viscose can feel very much like cotton; therefore it is very important to check the labels before embarking on washing them! Let’s talk about viscose and shrinkage…
Yes, it can. Viscose is a type of rayon, which is widely used in the clothing industry for a host of reasons. This type of fabric holds colours very well, but is very sensitive to any moisture. When viscose fabric becomes wet, it is weakened, which leads to a breakdown of the fibres that make up the garment. When viscose dries, it can lose its colours, and can also shrink.
The biggest reason why viscose shrinks is that is a manmade material, and the fibres that are constructed are not prepared for being in contact with an excessive amount of warm water (or any warm moisture). It is generally described as a fabric with ‘low-strength fibres’.
It’s a little bit of a mystery, but for some reason, viscose does not shrink in cold water. When reading instructions for recommended hand washing this fabric, the details are always to make sure that the water that you use does not get too warm or hot. Stick to cold!
Technically, no, and there are many guides to tell us that we should NOT wash viscose. Although many rayon fabrics (viscose is a type of rayon) can be washed, viscose is the most stubborn! Unless the garment is specifically marked washable (and some are mixed with other fabrics so can be washed) then DO NOT put it in the washing machine!
Yes you can – and this is the ONLY way to attempt washing viscose at home. Put two capfuls of very delicate hand washing-specific detergent in a washbasin or clean bathroom sink filled with COOL water. Evenly distribute the soap, and submerge the item in the water. Soak for up to 30 minutes, then rinse well with cool water.
After washing, do NOT wring as this can break the fibres. Always hang-dry them to make sure that they do not shrink due to any extra heat. Viscose doesn’t take that long to dry. You CAN dry your viscose in the sun, but for a short time. When your items are dry, store them in a cool place to avoid any shrinkage.
If you follow these guidelines, your viscose items should stay lovely and soft – and shouldn’t shrink!