How to Clean and Care for Nylon Clothes

A single visible nylon stocking on a foot
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Nylon is a synthetic fabric that is strong and lightweight. It is usually easy to wash and take care of, but it can be damaged if you don't use the right techniques. Nylon fabric is commonly found in pantyhose, some tights, track pants, lightweight jackets, umbrellas and more. Because nylon resists absorbing moisture and dries easily, it is often used for swimwear, activewear, and hosiery. Clothing may be a mixture nylon and another type of fabric.

Regular Care for Nylon

Usually, nylon should be washed separately on a cold water setting for best results. However, always check your clothing tags for specific directions. You can use regular laundry detergents on nylon but never use chlorine bleach. Typically, you should drip dry your nylon items. Put wet clothing on a non-staining hanger; smooth the cuffs and seams with the fingers while it's still wet. Lay out knit garments such as sweaters on a flat surface to dry.

If the clothing tag says that you can dry your nylon in a clothes dryer, you must put the load on the lowest temperature setting possible and remove it promptly from the dryer. It doesn't take nylon long to dry, so you'll need to be diligent about checking and removing the clothing to prevent damage and potential melting.

Special Issues with Nylon Fabric

Nylon fabrics are usually long-lasting, but the more they are washed and dried, the more likely they are to pill and become worn out. Hand washing and air drying are your best bets to avoid this. Washing and drying without machines can significantly extend the life of your nylon clothes. And since nylon washes and dries easily, hand washing isn't labor intensive.

If you've ever mixed up a pair of pantyhose in a regular load of laundry, you know that nylon attracts lots of static cling. To avoid this, use a small amount of fabric softener as directed when you wash a load of nylon items as well as a dryer sheet in the dryer.

Nylon lingerie and hosiery also need special attention because they are delicate. Use a mesh laundry bag for these items to protect them from getting snagged or torn during the washing cycle. Choose a gentle cycle and warm water. Air drying may still be your best bet to extend the life of your delicate nylon items.

Do I Have to Hand Wash Nylon Fabrics?

You definitely don't have to hand wash nylon fabrics, and it's not a tolerable task for everyone. But be aware that your nylon items will have a shorter life if you toss them in the washing machine. If you start to notice piling on your clothing, this is a major definite sign that these pieces of clothing are starting to show wear and tear. After nylon piles, a series of small holes will usually form that begin to get bigger and more noticeable. You can delay this degradation by hand washing.