How to Wash Synthetic Fabric Clothes

Polyester, Acrylic, Acetate, Rayon, Vinyl, Nylon, Olefin

  • 01 of 08

    Synthetic Fabric Care - Acetate to Vinyl

    Fabric bolts
    Hemant Jain / EyeEm / Getty Images

    When synthetic or man-made fibers appeared in the market place, they changed the face of fashion and, in turn, laundry care. Gone were the days of cotton and linen that could be cleaned with hot water and strong soaps and required ironing. 

    Most man-made fibers are strong and durable but each has its own specific stain removal and laundry care requirements.

     

  • 02 of 08

    Acetate Care and Stain Removal

    Fabric
    Mary Marlowe Leverette

    Acetate and the triacetate fabrics that followed are one of the earliest man-made fibers in the United States. While often used as a substitute for silk in less expensive garments, care must be used when washing and treating acetate for stains.

    Acetate fabric dissolves in acetone or fingernail polish remover and triacetate and modacrylic fabrics can also be damaged by acetone or paint thinner.

    Learn how to care for clothes made from acetate.

  • 03 of 08

    Acrylic Care and Stain Removal

    How to Care for Acrylic Fabrics
    Photo by MML

    Acrylic fibers are one of the few synthetic fibers that have an uneven surface when manufacturing is complete. The fibers can be cut into short lengths and spun into threads that resemble natural fibers. They produce a fabric that drapes well and has a silky feel.

    Acrylic fabric is everywhere from sweaters to socks to luggage. The fibers are durable and tough but they easily attract oil stains that need a bit of extra care to remove. 

    Learn how to care for acrylic fabrics.

  • 04 of 08

    Nylon Care and Stain Removal

    care of nylon
    Chris Baldwin/ImageSource/Getty Images

    The introduction of nylon fibers in the late 1930s changed both the textile and manufacturing world. Not only would women havesheer stockings but fishermen could have strong lines, promising ballerinas could have tutus and cars could have sturdy seat belts. But, nylon fibers are heat sensitive and high temperatures in the dryer or when ironing can cause them to melt, shrink or deform.

    Learn how to care for nylon fabrics to remove stains and keep them looking their best.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Olefin Care and Stain Removal

    olefin
    Amazon.com

    Olefin is a trademarked name for fabrics made with synthetic polypropylene and polyethylene fibers. It was first produced in 1958 as olefin monofilament and then in 1961 as multifilament polypropylene for use in fabrics.

    Olefin is less expensive to produce than other man-made fabrics. And the fibers can be woven into a heavy textile like carpeting or into a soft, supple lightweight fabric that can be used for socks or athletic wear. It is valued because it wicks away moisture from the body.

    The...MORE fibers are easy to care for by following some simple guidelines but can be damaged by perchloroethylene solvent used by some dry-cleaners.

    Learn how to care for olefin fabrics and clothes.

  • 06 of 08

    Polyester Care and Stain Removal

    Polyester fabric
    Frank Leung/Getty Images

    You can thank British scientists, John Whinfield and James Dickson for the development of the first polyester fiber – Terylene – in 1941. Their work was inspired by the discovery of DuPont scientist, W.H. Carothers, the inventor of nylon. Following the end of World War II, DuPont bought the rights to manufacture polyester and the rest is history. Today, more than fifty percent of the world's clothing is made from polyester and you'll find polyester fibers in nearly every category of...MORE fabric from sheer tulle to heavy upholstery and carpets.

    Polyester is simple to care for but even the hot-water setting on a washer can create permanent wrinkles in polyester during the spin cycle.

    Learn how to wash and remove stains from polyester clothes.

  • 07 of 08

    Rayon Care and Stain Removal

    Rayon
    Amazon.com

    Rayon is a fabric made from cellulose fibers derived from wood pulp. While the fibers are nature-based, the fabric is manufactured by treating the wood fibers with chemicals and it is considered a man-made fiber. Rayon is one of the most popular fabrics used today for clothing and home accessories due to its low cost base materials.You may see it labeled as Rayon, Viscose, Lyocell, or Modal.

    Learn how to properly care for rayon clothes and accessories.

  • 08 of 08

    Vinyl and Rubber Care and Stain Removal

    vinyl rain coat
    Image Source/Getty Images

    Vinyl and rubber products were once relegated to just rain protection gear in our closets. But designers have embraced vinyl, neoprene and other synthetic fabrics for all types of fashion. They are often chosen as an alternative to leather or to make a high-fashion statement. 

    Because of their unique properties, just a toss in the washer won't work and traditional laundry techniques and products may ruin the finish. Vinyl and rubber fabrics are damaged by most petroleum or oil-based solvents....MORE The oil solvents remove the plasticizer in vinyl film fabric and cause stiffening.

    Learn more about how to care for vinyl and rubber clothes and textiles in your home.