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Fabric Types and Basic Care Tips

Updated on December 24, 2010

Fabric Care Basics

Have you ever wondered why that blouse or shirt you bought a few months back looks like it's been in the trunk of your car for about 10 years? Well there is no reason for that visual if proper care is given to fabrics from the start. How about a little history about the materials and their proper care. First I'll begin with the basic Cotton.

Simple Cotton Dress
Simple Cotton Dress


Cotton is made from the fluffy fibers of the cotton plant. Most cotton fabrics are preshrunk so you really can't mess them up(watch out for the bleach)

To properly wash cotton use cold or warm water with an all-purpsose detergent. If you don't use or have a clothes dryer, dry cotton in the shade on a line dryer because it will yellow in the sun.

 Wool Suit
Wool Suit


Wool is woven from the undercoats of goats,sheep and other hairy mammals. Wool is very durable but will shrink in warm water,so be cautious and read those labels. To wash wool, dry-clean or hand wash in cold water with a mild detergent. Air Dry. Also if possible use cedar hangers to repel moths.

Silk Dress
Silk Dress


Silk is an organic material that is made from protein fibers produced by the silkworm. This fabric is both luxurious and durable. One key point about silk is that it may have dyes that cause the fabric to bleed. Silk should be dry-cleaned or hand washed in cold water and also air-dried.

Rayon Blouse
Rayon Blouse


Rayon is a material created from wool pulp which has been treated with chemicals. What results is a material which is cool and comfortable and considered a semi-synthetic fabric. Rayon may bleed,shrink or lose its cripness when laundered. Dry cleaning or hand washing in cold water with a mild detergent and air drying is highly recommended. If laundered at home, iron slightly damp.

Polyester shirt and jacket (circa 1970)
Polyester shirt and jacket (circa 1970)


My least favorite material is the synthetics. Remember the heat sweltering polyester suits worn in the 70's?(if your old enough that is). to add to that list are nylon,spandex,acrylic, and acetate. Two good things about synthetics is that they will not shrink and will resist water based stains. Most do produce static, and may permanently wrinkle in a hot clothes dryer. Always dry on a low temperature.

Linen Napkins
Linen Napkins


You may not know this but linen is woven from fibers from the flax plant. It like silk is treated with sizing( a pasty substance used as a glaze or filler on plastics,paper or cloth) that makes it crisp. It wrinkles easily and requires ironing. Linen needs to be dry-cleaned or hand washed in cold water and should be air dried. Machine wash on gentle.


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    • laringo profile image

      laringo 7 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Orange County I appreciate the comments.I hope they helped you.

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      Orange County Homes for Sale 7 years ago

      Simply, admirable what you have done here. It is pleasing to look you express from the heart and your clarity on this significant content can be easily looked. Remarkable post and will look forward to your future update.I procrastinate a lot and never seem to get something done.

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      office chairs 7 years ago

      Good job. It's great to hear the useful information from this. Hoping that you will have more posts for us so that we can improve our knowleage

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      Mark Downson 7 years ago

      Cool post.

      I like silk. Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from cocoons made by the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity (sericulture). The shimmering appearance of silk is due to the triangular prism-like structure of the silk fibre which allows silk cloth to refract incoming light at different angles thus producing different colors.

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      webhostings 8 years ago

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      Web Hosting 8 years ago

      The fabric that is made by natural materials is very useful. All product is made by this I like and want to wear them

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      cricket games 8 years ago

      Good job. It's great to hear the useful information from this. Hoping that you will have more posts for us so taht we can improve our knowledge

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      adjustable 8 years ago

      This is my first time i visit here. I found many interesting stuffs in your article. Well-done!.

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      laringo 9 years ago

      Thank you Die'Dre.

    • Die'Dre' profile image

      Die'Dre' 9 years ago from The Great Pacific Northwest

      What a wonderful, useful hub. My least favorite fabric is fleece.