How to Wash a Rayon Dress

Don't toss your favorite rayon dress into the washer.
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Clothing manufacturers appreciate rayon for the ease with which it holds dyes and patterns and its lack of pilling. Wearers of rayon appreciate its softness, comfort and lack of static electricity. Though it is easy to wear, rayon can be difficult to wash. Some rayon garments must be dry cleaned while others do best with hand-washing. If you have a rayon dress you love to wear, wash it properly so you can enjoy it for several years.

Fill a clean sink or basin with cool to warm water and add mild detergent.

Place the dress in the sink or basin and gently work the soapsuds into the fabric. You can gently squeeze the fabric or massage it, but avoid twisting, bunching or wringing it. Wet rayon loses much of its strength and can easily be torn.

Rinse the dress with cool water thoroughly until all soapsuds are removed. Do this by holding the dress under slowly running water or placing it in a basin of cool, clean water that does not contain any soap. You may need to empty and refill the basin several times to remove all the soap from the dress.

Shake out the dress gently and hang it on a plastic hanger or lay it over a drying rack to dry. You can also lay the dress flat to dry on a clean towel, lightly smoothing out any wrinkles by hand. The dress will feel wet, but resist the urge to wring it out or twist it.

Iron the dress only if necessary. Turn the garment inside out before you iron and do so while it is still slightly damp. Iron on low heat only.

  • Do not hang your dress on a metal hanger to dry as this may leave rust stains.
  • Check the labels on rayon fabrics before washing to make sure they are washable. Some rayon is dry clean only and should not be washed.
  • If you are pressed for time and absolutely must wash your rayon dress in the washing machine, place it in a mesh lingerie bag first to protect it from the agitation in the washing machine. You will still need to hang it or lay it flat for drying.

Writing professionally since 2008, Michelle Miley specializes in home and garden topics but frequently pens career, style and marketing pieces. Her essays have been used on college entrance exams and she has more than 4,000 publishing credits. She holds an Associate of Applied Science in accounting, having graduated summa cum laude.