Care of Tencel Fabric

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Breathable, comfortable, earth-friendly and easy to care for, Tencel is the trade name for lyocell, a fabric manufactured by Lenzing from wood pulp. Tencel fibers are used for clothing, sheets, towels and drapes. Many Tencel items can be machine washed and dried, but some require hand washing or dry cleaning. Always check the label.

Washing and Drying

Your Tencel item's label should give you the proper care information. Joyce Ann Smith, Ph.D., a clothing specialist with the Ohio State University Extension, says that woven or knitted Tencel fabrics, as well as sueded, denim and chino Tencel, can often be machine washed and dried. She advises treating the item as you would a cotton or cotton-polyester blend item. Use a warm setting to wash and cold to rinse and tumble dry on medium heat or permanent press setting. If you choose to tumble dry your Tencel item, be aware it might shrink up to 3 percent the first time it's dried. Some Tencel fabrics blended with cotton or rayon or those with a silk-like finish might require hand washing and line drying. Tencel fabrics can become stiff if they are allowed to air dry. You can soften them by putting the item in the dryer with a soft towel on low temperature. Tencel fabrics that need dry cleaning often have a smooth or sanded surface.

Ironing

Tencel fabric dries relatively wrinkle-free, but if you want to spruce it up with an iron, use a warm or "synthetic" heat setting and turn off the steam. High heat can damage Tencel, especially microfiber fabrics, and steam can leave spots that won't come off until the next washing . A safe option is to hang the item in a warm, moist area, such as a shower.

Stain Removal

Oxygen and chlorine bleaches won't hurt Tencel fibers, but these products could harm the dye or other finishes applied to the fabric. Some Tencel fabrics can be damaged if you rub them with stain remover while they are wet.

Storing

Moths and mildew can damage Tencel items. Make sure they are clean and dry when stored in a cool, well-ventilated location. Don't store items in plastic bags.

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