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What Is Rayon? Everything You Need to Know

This versatile fabric comes with a few considerations.

Last Updated on September 21, 2023

Looking to find out what Rayon is? Then you have come to the right place. Ehether you’re browsing online or even at physical stores, we often see rayon on the labels, but this type of fabric remains a mystery for most of us.

When it comes to clothing, I’m very particular about the fabric and often opt for wrinkle-resistant materials. It saves me energy from ironing it, plus, leaving the house in well-pressed and crisp clothes makes you look more polished and put together. But the big question about that is: is rayon one of them?

To help you understand more about it, I’ve listed down everything you need to know about the fabric, complete with some hints and tips about how to best look after your rayon-based garments. Make sure you also check out which fabrics are eco-friendly and the 411 about stretching your denim jeans. You may also want to check out just how ethical and sutainable Zara is, via our comprehensive guide. Now, let’s get back to rayon.

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What is rayon? What you need to know

Basically, rayon is a semi-synthetic fabric since it is made from natural materials, particularly wood pulp or plant cellulose, but it underwent certain chemical processes that made it fall under the synthetic category. To sum it up, it is a mix of synthetic and natural materials. In addition, it is first known as artificial silk or, in some countries, as cactus silk or sabra silk. Meanwhile, rayon is considered viscose, which is one of the most common materials in clothing.

Does rayon wrinkle?

Rayon has a good resistance to wrinkling, especially types like Lyocell and Tencel, so it’s basically a wash-and-dry type of fabric. As for washing, it is best not to pop it in the washing machine but to opt for hand washing in cold water (more on this later). Also noted is that it’s advisable to use only air-drying instead of using a dryer.

Disadvantages of rayon

While there’s a ton of cons to wearing rayon, there’s also a few disadvantages to choosing this type of material. Since it shrinks quickly, keep in mind that you have to be extra careful when washing, especially the ones that are 100%. Moreover, if you are cautious about environmentally friendly materials or choosing fabrics that are sustainable, you might want to skip with this material. 

So, is rayon any good?

Although it is considered a cheap fabric, rayon has a luxurious appearance because it drapes and hangs well, which is why it is among the most popular fabrics used in clothing. In addition, it is very comfortable to wear because it’s soft, lightweight, and breathable, plus it’s also anti-bacterial, making it perfect everyday clothing. There are some watch-outs, though. When washing you have to extra careful as it can bleed or stretch easily. We would always recommend avoiding the washing machine with rayon, and instead pre-treat stains with a mild stain remover, before soaking in some cold water.

Rayon FAQ

Does rayon shrink when washed?

Yes. Rayon does tend to shrink so never wash it in hot water. Instead, opt for cold water and be very careful. Whilst this doesn’t elimiate the risk of shrinkage completely, it does reduce the risk. Some rayon garments will support being washed in a washing machine, but we would always advise hand washing in cold water as a first port of call.

Can rayon be ironed?

Yes, but be very careful with it. Rayon can’t handle high heat, so opt for the coolest setting possible when ironing your rayon garments.

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