Viscose is a semi synthetic, soft and light weight material obtained from wood pulp like eucalyptus, and beech.
It was made to be a cheaper alternative to silk, but that doesn’t make it sub par nonetheless as it’s used to make jackets, carpets, dresses, and upholsteries, while also having that luxurious look and feel to it.
Despite the fact that it’s a cheaper alternative to silk, it still doesn’t make it cheap nonetheless, so adequate care must be applied when washing or drying it. But first of all;
Can you wash viscose? You can wash viscose when the particular clothing was made washable by the manufacturer, otherwise, most viscose materials are better suited to be dry cleaned.
If you’re washing it, do ensure you hand wash with cold water and a soft/mild detergent to prevent the colors from coming off.
What are some characteristics to take note of when before you buy or while you use viscose?
Viscose is a very lustrous and absorbent material, which means it gets very heavy when wet.
Viscose also gets weaker when it’s wet and if you don’t dry it up properly, you’re going to be having some mildew problems.
Viscose does not build up static electricity when it’s rubbed against another viscose material, so it’s not necessary to use anti static build up spray
Last and most importantly, you have to be very careful when washing it, follow the steps I’m about to show you or you could risk shrinking your fabric.
How exactly do you wash viscose?
Due to the different chemical treatments the material faces, not all kinds of viscose materials out there are suitable to be washed, some are strictly dry cleaned.
To test whether it should be washed or dry cleaned, apply water and the other chemicals you would have used to wash it (like detergent) on a very small and inconspicuous area and observe the reaction.
If there are no adverse effects, proceed to wash but do it delicately, hand washing is recommended.
But how exactly do I hand wash it?
It’s very easy, all you need to do is soak the material in cold water for about 35 minutes, gently scrub it, and then rinse.
Put the cloth on a thick towel, roll it gently to squeeze out the water, and then lay it on a flat surface to dry.
You could choose to ignore that one and just press the water out of the material and then lay it on a flat surface, it’ll only take longer to dry than if you used the towel.
Do not wring it, press the water out Also, it’s not very advisable to hang it on a line. Why? Because if you don’t do it properly, since it gets heavier and weaker when wet, hanging it on the line would end up stretching and slacking the material. You could also use a hanger.
(Let me put this out there for emphasis; do not depend on the labelling on the fabric. Some viscose fabrics bear labels that says “Wash”, and some that says “do not wash”, unfortunately, a lot of them are labelled wrongly so to be on the safe side, please use the method I mentioned earlier that involved “inconspicuous area”)
While the clothes are getting dry, manually straighten out any wrinkles that may form because if you allow it to dry, it would leave wrinkles that may end up being very difficult to remove, even with a pressing iron.
Can I wash it in a washing machine Instead?
Yes, you can. However, you’ll need to turn the fabric inside out and place it in a mesh washer bag, why? Because apart from losing the colors, other accessories like zips and buttons could tangle with another viscose material inside the machine and begin tearing it.
While the clothes are in, ensure the water going into the machine is cold, and then switch it to delicate wash. The spin shouldn’t be fast.
How often should you wash viscose?
It depends, if you’re going to hand wash it then it’s safe to wash it after every use, or when it gets dirty and begins to emit some sort of odor.
Can I iron viscose?
You can iron viscose material but you’ll have to set it to medium heat on the iron. An iron is good, but you know what’s better? A steamer.
If you don’t have a steamer, a steam iron will work just fine, all you need to do is hover over the material and blast it with some steam.
Can I dry viscose with a dryer?
No, please don’t. Bear it at the back of your mind that a dryer is viscose’s worst enemy. Most times than not, viscose materials end up shrinking badly when they’re tossed into the dryer, so it’s best to sun dry.
How do I properly store my viscose?
Like I said earlier, viscose is plant based, which means it’ll grow mildew which would slowly eat it up if not properly stored. The best way to store it is to put it in a cotton bag. Plastic bags have the tendency to trap moisture so stay away from them.
How do I repair the damaged ones?
Well, if you’re not taking it to the tailor, you should take note that repairing it is going to be very tricky due to how delicate it is.
If there’s a slight hole or small slit, use a matching thread to gently hand stitch it back to normal from the under side of the cloth, but if the hole or slit is large, please get a tailor to do it for you.
How do I take care of different types of stains on my viscose?
Before I begin to tackle 3 of the most popular stains, I’ll like to put it out there that if you’re removing any type of stain, do not scrub it forcefully so as to not weaken and break the yarns.
Removing make-up stains
Let’s say there’s a patch of foundation on your cloth, try not to rub it off because you’ll only make it worse. What you should do is use the edge of your credit card to scratch away the particles, this applies to solid stains.
If it’s liquid, treat it with any known stain remover like tide or persil. Apply it with the help of a soft toothbrush.
Let it settle for about 15 minutes on the material and then scrub again with the soft toothbrush. If the stain is still there, use mild detergent to wash the cloth in the hottest water suitable for the material.
Removing ink stains
If your material’s been stained with ink from, let’s say, a pen, you’ll need to act fast because fresh stains are much easier to remove.
The first thing to do is soak a cotton swab with some rubbing alcohol. The next thing to do is dab the affected area gently, do not rub it to avoid spreading the stain.
Keep doing it and you should see some stains on the swab, change the swab so you won’t stain the material again, repeat the process till everything is gone.
Make sure you sun dry because apart from the fact that dryers shrink viscose, the heat would also make the ink stain settle deeper into the material.
Removing blood stains
If your fabric gets stained with blood, turn it inside out and flush thoroughly with cold running water, if you use hot water, the stain will settle deeper into the fabric.
If it’s a fresh stain, you could use detergent like Tide or Persil with the help of a soft toothbrush. Leave the detergent to soak in for about 20 minutes, gently scrub with the toothbrush and then sun dry.
If the stain is old, use the edge of your card to scrape it off and then submerge in a solution of cold water and oxygen based bleach for at least two hours then wash as usual. Again, do not put it in a dryer
Note: only use these methods if you’ve confirmed that your viscose is the type that you can wash. Also, any chemical applied must first of all be applied on a very small and inconspicuous area just in case there’s any adverse effect.
General precautions while dealing with viscose
It’s best to use soft water to wash viscose. To soften the water, a spoonful of ammonia diluted in water would help.
Add some vinegar into the water while washing to help retain, as well as brighten the color.
Look at the label, if it contains polyester then it’ll spool quite easily.
Stay away from detergents and bleach that are chlorine based.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does viscose shrink every time I wash it?
Unfortunately, yes. However, the rate is extremely slow if you’re washing it the right way but fast if you’re not.
Is viscose stretchy?
No, viscose is not a stretchy material.
Is viscose ideal for warm weather?
Yes, viscose is light and breathable, making it the right material for summer clothing and blouses.
Viscose is a very lustrous and versatile material that must be handled with utmost care. If you wash the ones that are washable, use cold water, and stay away from the dryer, your precious fabric will last longer and your pocket will thank you