The popularity of viscose fabric in the fashion industry can be attributed to its softness, comfort, versatility, breathability, drape, cost-effectiveness, dyeability, and sustainability. These properties make it a preferred choice for a wide range of fashion applications, from clothing to home textiles, and it continues to be widely used by fashion designers and consumers alike. Keep in mind viscose can shrink but many people confuse about this that’s why they ask do viscose shrink?
Viscose Fabric Shrink?
Yes, viscose fabric can shrink, like many other types of fabric, has the potential to shrink when exposed to certain conditions, such as heat, agitation, and moisture. Viscose fabric can shrink when it is washed in hot water, dried in a high-heat setting, or exposed to excessive agitation during washing or drying. The shrinkage can occur in both length and width, and it may vary depending on the specific type of viscose fabric.
What is Viscose Fabric Actually Is?
Viscose fabric, also known as rayon, is a type of semi-synthetic fabric. Viscose fabric is known for its soft and smooth texture, and it is often used as a versatile and affordable alternative to natural fibers like cotton or silk.
Viscose fabric was first developed in the late 19th century as a way to create a silk-like material using a more economical and readily available source of cellulose. It was initially called “artificial silk” or “rayon” and was used as a substitute for silk in the production of various textiles, including clothing, upholstery, and household items. One of the notable characteristics of viscose fabric is its ability to mimic the drape and sheen of silk, making it a popular choice for clothing such as dresses, blouses, and linings.
Making of viscose fabric:
The production of viscose fabric involves extracting cellulose from plant-based materials, creating a viscose solution, spinning it into fibers, washing and neutralizing the fibers, optional bleaching and dyeing, optional carding and spinning into yarns, and finishing treatments. These steps result in the production of viscose fabric, which is a versatile and popular choice in the fashion industry for its softness, comfort, and drapability. the production of viscose fabric can vary depending on the specific manufacturer, as there are different methods and variations of the viscose process.
Characteristics of Viscose Fabric:
It possesses several characteristics that make it popular in the fashion industry, including:
Breathability: Viscose fabric is breathable, allowing air to circulate through the fabric and making it comfortable to wear in warm weather. It has good moisture absorbency, which helps to keep the body dry and cool.
Versatility: Viscose fabric can be blended with other fibers or processed in different ways to create a wide range of fabric types with varying properties. It can be made to resemble silk, cotton, or linen, making it a versatile choice for a variety of garment styles.
Absorbency and Dyeability: Viscose fabric has good absorbency, which allows it to hold dyes well, resulting in vibrant and rich colors. It can be easily dyed in a wide range of colors, making it suitable for various fashion applications.
Smooth and Lustrous Appearance: Viscose fabric has a smooth and lustrous appearance, which gives it an attractive sheen similar to silk. This makes it a popular choice for garments that require a luxurious and elegant look.
Easy Care: Viscose fabric is generally easy to care for, as it can be machine washed and dried, although it is recommended to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. However, it can be prone to shrinkage, as mentioned earlier, so proper care is important to prevent any unwanted changes in size or shape.
The Shrinkage Factor of Viscose:
Viscose fabric, also known as rayon, can be prone to shrinkage if not properly cared for. There are several factors that can contribute to the shrinkage of viscose fabric, including:
Moisture: Viscose fabric has a high absorbency rate and can easily absorb moisture from the environment or during washing. When the fabric becomes wet, the individual fibers can swell, causing the fabric to shrink as it dries. This is particularly true for viscose fabric that has not been properly pre-shrunk during the manufacturing process.
Heat: Heat can also cause viscose fabric to shrink. High temperatures, such as those in hot water during washing or in a dryer, can cause the fibers in the fabric to contract and shrink. It’s important to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer, which often recommend washing viscose fabric in cold water and avoiding high-heat drying.
Agitation: Agitation during washing or drying can also cause viscose fabric to shrink. Vigorous washing or drying, such as heavy agitation in a washing machine or tumble drying on high heat, can cause the fibers to compress and contract, resulting in shrinkage.
Mechanical Stress: Viscose fabric can also shrink when subjected to mechanical stress, such as twisting, pulling, or stretching. This can occur during washing, drying, or when the fabric is worn or handled roughly. Mechanical stress can cause the fibers in the fabric to deform and contract, leading to shrinkage.
Lack of Proper Pre-shrinking: If viscose fabric has not been properly pre-shrunk during the manufacturing process, it may be more susceptible to shrinkage. Pre-shrinking is a process where the fabric is treated to reduce its tendency to shrink when exposed to moisture, heat, or mechanical stress. If the fabric has not undergone this process, it may be more likely to shrink when exposed to these factors.
How Viscose Shrink? with Example
Let’s say you have a viscose dress that you’ve recently purchased. You love how it fits and looks, but after the first wash, you notice that it has visibly shrunk. Here’s how it could have happened:
Moisture: You washed the viscose dress in warm water, and the fabric absorbed moisture during the wash. The individual viscose fibers swelled as they absorbed water, causing the fabric to expand temporarily. However, when you hung the dress to air dry, the moisture started evaporating, and the fibers began to contract as they lost water. This contraction resulted in the fabric shrinking, and the dress ended up smaller than its original size.
Heat: You decided to tumble dry the viscose dress in a high-heat setting to save time. The high heat caused the viscose fibers to contract, resulting in the fabric shrinking. Viscose fabric is sensitive to heat, and exposure to high temperatures during washing or drying can cause it to shrink.
Preventing Tips of Viscose Fabric from shrinking:
Here are some tips to prevent viscose fabric from shrinking:
Follow care instructions: Always read and follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer on the garment label. These instructions provide specific guidelines on how to care for the viscose fabric and avoid shrinking.
Hand wash or use gentle cycle: If possible, hand wash viscose fabric or use the gentle cycle on your washing machine. Avoid using hot water, as viscose fabric is sensitive to heat and can shrink when exposed to high temperatures.
Use mild detergent: Use a mild detergent specifically formulated for delicate fabrics when washing viscose. Harsh detergents can cause the fabric to shrink or lose its shape.
Avoid tumble drying: Air drying is the best option for viscose fabric. Avoid tumble drying or using high heat settings in the dryer, as this can cause the fabric to shrink. If using a dryer, use a low heat setting or hang the garment to dry instead.
Handle with care: Avoid aggressive agitation or mechanical stress when washing or handling viscose fabric. Gentle handling and minimal friction can help prevent the fabric from shrinking.
Pre-shrink before sewing: If you plan to sew with viscose fabric, it’s a good idea to pre-shrink it before cutting and sewing. This involves washing and drying the fabric using the recommended care instructions to allow for any potential shrinkage before sewing the garment.
By following these tips and taking proper care of viscose fabric, you can minimize the risk of shrinking and help maintain the integrity and shape of the garment.
Alternative Methods of Cleaning Viscose:
Viscose fabric, also known as rayon, can be delicate and requires special care when cleaning. In addition to traditional washing methods, there are alternative methods of cleaning viscose that you can consider:
Dry Cleaning: Dry cleaning is a professional cleaning method that uses chemical solvents instead of water to clean delicate fabrics like viscose. Dry cleaning can be a good alternative for viscose garments that are labeled as “dry clean only” or if you are unsure about how to safely clean the fabric at home.
Steam Cleaning: Steam cleaning is a gentle method that uses steam to remove dirt and freshen up fabrics. It can be used on viscose fabric by holding a steam cleaner at a safe distance from the fabric and using short bursts of steam. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid direct contact with the steam with the fabric to prevent damage.
Spot Cleaning: Spot cleaning involves treating specific stains or soiled areas on the viscose fabric without immersing the entire garment in the water. You can use a mild detergent or stain remover specifically formulated for delicate fabrics, and gently blot the stained area with a clean, damp cloth. Be careful not to rub or scrub the fabric vigorously, as it can cause damage or shrinkage.
Hand Washing: If you prefer to hand wash your viscose garment, you can do so by filling a sink or basin with lukewarm water and a mild detergent. Gently agitate the water to create suds, then immerse the garment and gently swirl it around. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and gently press out excess water, avoiding wringing or twisting the fabric. Lay the garment flat on a clean towel and roll it up to absorb excess water, then reshape and air dry.
Drying can be harmful for the viscose fabric. Drying can make the viscose fabric color dull and can make it to shrink.
Cold water can shrink viscose but less than hot water. Hot water is more dangerous to this kind of fabrics.
Viscose can get shrink upto 20% in hot water and 10% in cold water.
It’s important to note that different types of viscose fabric may have varying levels of shrinkage, as it can depend on factors such as the quality of the fabric, the manufacturing process, and the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. To minimize shrinkage, it’s recommended to follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer, such as washing in cold water, avoiding high heat drying, and avoiding excessive agitation or mechanical stress.
It’s also a good idea to pre-test any washing or drying methods on a small, inconspicuous area of the fabric before applying them to the entire garment to avoid potential shrinkage issues.