A Note about Modern Fabrics
Synthetic fibers such as acrylic, nylon, olefin, polyester, and blends of
these fibers or cottons with permanent-press finishes are tough and durable
, but have a special attraction for oil stains. Oil stains should be removed
promptly. If oil stains get dryer dried or ironed into fabrics containing
these fibers or finishes, removal may be extremely difficult, if not
impossible. These oil stains show most on plain medium colors such as light
blue or khaki. On the other hand, if treated quickly, oil stains usually can
be easily removed.
Synthetic fiber fabrics are also heat sensitive. These fabrics shrink and
melt in high temperatures. They can get more-or-less "permanent" wrinkles in
the spin-cycle of a washing machine set for a hot-water wash, or from an
over-crowded dryer that has run too long. Steam pressing can sometimes
remove heat-set wrinkles, but the melting temperature of the fibers is so
close to the temperature needed to iron out wrinkles that pressing is
tedious and must be done carefully to avoid melting and creating holes. The
restored garment may fit differently because of the heat shrinkage.
It is easy to prevent wrinkling in washable blends and permanent press
- avoid overloading the washer; clothes should move freely,
- be sure the washer is set for "warm" not "hot" water temperature or
for the "permanent press" cycle,
- dry on permanent press setting,
- remove from dryer at end of cycle; do not overdry,
- hang on hanger; temporary wrinkles generally "elax" or fall out in a
Fabrics containing -vinyl or natural rubber will be damaged by most oil
solvents. Oil solvents tend to remove the plasticizer in vinyl film fabrics,
making them stiff.
Olefins may be damaged by perchloroethylene solvent, but are resistant to
trichloroethylene and fluorocarbon dry cleaning solvents.
Acetate fabrics will dissolve in fingernail polish remover (acetone).
Triacetate and modacrylic fabrics can be damaged by acetone or paint
Silk, wool, and other hair fibers, such as camel or cashmere, will
dissolve in fresh liquid chlorine bleach. Dilute solutions of liquid
chlorine bleach will cause permanent yellowing and stiffening of wool fibers
and usually cause weakening and color loss in silk.
Cellulosic fibers, such as cotton, linen, rayon, and ramie, will be
weakened by repeated exposure to dilute solutions of liquid chlorine bleach,
but bleaches can be safely used on cellulosic fibers for purposes of stain
removal. Undiluted bleach can weaken fabrics so that they tear or wear out
Special thanks to Iowa State University for allowing us to reproduce this
Reproduced with permission from the Cooperative Extension Service, Iowa
State University, Ames, Iowa, 50011.
Prepared by: Janis Stone,
Textiles and Clothing Specialist,
Iowa State University
No endorsement of companies or their products mentioned is intended, nor
is criticism implied of similar companies or their products not mentioned.
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and Fiber Content Labels
A Note about Modern Fabrics
Contrasting Colors or Trim
Removing Stains from
Treatment Technique (Sponging) for Apparel Fabrics
Chemical Solvents and
Follow These Safety
Classification of Stains
What to Do if You Don't
Unique Treatment Methods
Common Remedies to Avoid
How to Identify and