What Is Rayon? Here's What You Should Know


(Image credit: @vivian.yrl)

Rayon is one of the most versatile fabrics, yet it remains somewhat of a mystery. That’s partly because of its remarkable ability to shape-shift and imitate other fabrics. Rayon has been known to take on the properties of silk, cotton, and wool, to name only a few. Plus, it can be used in nearly any type of clothing. This can make it challenging to pin down what it is, how to launder it, and what weather it’s best suited for. To help boost your familiarity with this ubiquitous fabric, keep reading to see everything you need to know about rayon.

What Is Rayon?


(Image credit: Szymon Brzoska / The Style Stalker)

In a nutshell, rayon is a fabric made from purified cellulose fibers, which are typically created from wood pulp. Though rayon is derived from natural materials, it requires certain chemicals, so it’s considered to be a semi-synthetic fabric.

One of the most common types of rayon is viscose rayon, which has a lot in common with cotton. It’s breathable, moisture-absorbent, and a popular choice for casual and athletic wear. It also shows up in dresses, blouses, and outerwear. Secondary types of rayon include modal rayon (typically made from beech trees) and lyocell (seen in everything from denim to dress shirts).

How Do You Wash Rayon?


(Image credit: Szymon Brzoska / The Style Stalker)

Laundering rayon takes a little extra consideration. Rayon is often blended with other fabrics (such as polyester and cotton), so washing instructions can vary significantly. While its texture and versatility make it an ideal choice for a range of apparel, rayon isn’t a durable fabric, and standard machine washing can cause it to stretch, shrink, or bleed onto other articles of clothing. As a result, most experts recommend hand-washing rayon, but always be sure to check the care label instructions beforehand.

Now, shop our favorite rayon picks:

This story was published at an earlier date and has been recently updated.

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