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Washing viscose - how to keep your favorite piece in shape

Viscose feels good on the skin. The precious material shimmers like velvet and goes with almost every fashion trend - whether as flowing dresses and pants, fluttering scarves or colorful shirts. But how do you wash viscose correctly so that it will retain its shine? Not so easy, because this material is sensitive.

A brief introduction to materials - what is so special about viscose?

To understand how to properly wash viscose, it is of advantage to know its properties. Viscose, also called artificial silk, is a hermaphrodite product: half natural, half chemical fabric. Viscose is made from cellulose, which is further processed on a chemical basis.

How to wash viscose fabric?

Viscose is delicate, it wrinkles easily and shrinks quickly. Therefore, it is important to choose the right temperature and a suitable detergent. However, sometimes you do not need to consider any restriction when washing fabric made of viscose, namely when the garment is made of a mix of materials.

  • Since viscose tends to shrink, it only tolerates low temperatures up to 40°C. This is true if you're washing a viscose shirt, but it's also true for any other garment.
  • If you do not want to take a risk, you should go with a lower temperature and wash viscose at 30°C. If in doubt, take a look at the care label.
  • In order to protect the material, it is recommended to fill the laundry drum to no more than two-thirds.
  • Zippers, sequins or rhinestones may chafe and cause stains. It is better to wash these garments separately.
  • Sometimes it is advisable to wash viscose cold, for example, if it is a viscose scarf. It is best to use a detergent that is also suitable for wool. To maintain the shape and lightness of your flutter scarf, it may help to dry it in a horizontal position and iron it at a low temperature and covered by a cloth.
  • Viscose suffers from improper care. If a garment has shrunk, wash it again at 40°C or soak it in water with a gentle hair care product for infants. This will loosen the fibers so you can gently pull them back into shape.
A close-up of a care label from a garment made of 100% viscose.
With the right care, your favorite pieces made of viscose will stay beautiful for a long time.

The dryer is a no-go

The structure of viscose makes it crease very easily and that is why garments made of this material are not suitable for the dryer. It is best to hang the textiles on a hanger in fresh air. Never put the fabric on a radiator: the high temperatures there pose a risk of shrinkage. To get the viscose nice and smooth again after washing, start ironing before the fabric is completely dry. Iron at the second level with the fabric placed under a damp cloth. A steam iron is also well suited.

Why did my T-shirt shrink?

Washing your viscose garment for the first time and taking it out of the washing machine in a strange state is something you might have experienced. The fabric felt almost as stiff as a piece of cardboard. Don’t worry: you don’t have to recycle your garment. You might have noticed that during drying, the fabric becomes soft again and after ironing, it regains its original texture.

Which detergents are suitable for viscose?

Make sure that the detergent also works at low temperatures so that your clothes made of viscose actually get clean. A mild detergent is suitable for delicate fibers. The best choice would be a liquid detergent such as Wolle & Feines by Perwoll which maintains the intensity of colors.

Is it possible to wash viscose at 60°C?

This depends on the type of viscose. Modal, for example, consists exclusively of beech wood fibers and is spun differently. The advantage: the fabric dries faster and is heat-resistant. Therefore, linen, home textiles and bedsheets are often made of the modal which can even be boil-washed. The same applies to Lyocell, which is obtained from the wood of eucalyptus trees and is popular for summer dresses and underwear.