Viscose is a semi-synthetic fabric that is made from regenerated cellulose and is known for its smooth, silk-like texture. Viscose dyes well and has a lustrous finish. Wondering how to wash viscose or whether viscose can be washed? You’re not alone. Viscose clothing care isn’t always straightforward.
To properly care for viscose, first understand that viscose is a type of rayon. Although many rayons can be washed (be sure to check the tag!), viscose has been known to shrink or warp to extreme proportions. Shrinkage when laundering viscose does happen, so take special care when laundering this fabric. Unless the garment is specifically marked washable and/or you have completed a water test, we recommend avoiding washing at home. Viscose is generally not machine washable unless marked otherwise. We do not recommend taking the risk of laundering as the shrinkage, elongation, distortion, or puckering that can occur is typically not reversible.
What is the proper viscose fabric care regimen? Viscose has a very high shrinkage factor. Unless your viscose item is clearly labeled as washable with viscose washing instructions included on the tag, you shouldn’t attempt machine or hand washing it.
If you’re not sure about an item, it’s best to play it safe and dry clean or steam clean at home - otherwise, you might risk irreversible fabric damage. While our philosophy is centered around washing your fabrics, and dry cleaning at home to help reduce your dry cleaning bills, in some cases, it’s best to leave your beloved little black dress or heirloom scarf in the hands of an experienced professional.
Example: Our often-cited “why is viscose not washable” example is the classic black matte wrap dress by Diane Von Furstenberg. It shrinks to half its size!
Viscose can wrinkle, so if your viscose item is wrinkled, but not dirty, you should consider steaming at home with a fabric steamer. Steaming is a great way to lift odor and can help save money by skipping the dry cleaners. Does something smell off? Get that “clean laundry smell” between cleanings by spritzing your viscose items with your favorite fabric refreshing spray after steaming.
Polyamide is often blended with viscose or rayon. We don’t recommend washing items that contain polyamide since this fabric can expand or warp when laundered. Gwen once washed her favorite pants that were made of a polyamide blend, and they grew to twice their size!
Example: Women’s blazers and suit pants (especially those that have lining and structure)