A Note about Modern fabrics

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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 clothes:

  • 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 few hours.

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 thinners.

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 more quickly.


Special thanks to Iowa State University for allowing us to reproduce this information.

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

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The information found on the pages in this section are provided by Ohio State University for educational purposes.  ApparelSearch.com is not associated in anyway with Ohio State University.  Apparel Search is simply providing viewers of the fashion industry with easy access to the helpful educational material that has been developed by Ohio State University.  Please visit the Ohio State University web site to learn more about the wonderful educational opportunities that they provide. 

Clothing Care and fiber Content Labels

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A Note about Modern fabrics

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