What Is Rayon? How To Use It Right?

More Details About This Wonderful Fabric

More Details About This Wonderful Fabric

Rayon can be called a true miracle – all because of its fascinating ability to shapeshift, both literally and in terms of imitation of the other fabrics’ characteristics.

And since this material can be rather challenging for a common user to maintain, below we will provide the basic information that will be 100% handy for everyone.

What Is Rayon? How It Is Manufactured

To begin with, rayon is not that simple thing even when it comes to defining its origin. Being produced from the purified fibers of cellulose that are originally derived from wood pulp, rayon, however, needs certain chemicals to receive the material from those fibers. 

Because of that, rayon eco-friendliness is often questioned even though some kinds of it are quite nature-safe and sustainable.

For this reason, it can not be called a completely natural material, and that is also why rayon is considered to be a semi-artificial fabric.

Being very versatile, this material includes several variations, for instance, viscose rayon that reminds cotton very much, then it’s modal rayon that is received from the beech trees, and finally, lyocell.

All of those materials are used for making clothing of all types and for any purpose, from daily use to sportswear.

  Characteristics Area of Use
Viscose rayon soft and smooth, breathable, highly absorbent, lightweight, doesn’t keep the body heat dresses, linens, shirts, outerwear, upholstery, carpets, disposable wipes, etc.
Modal soft, creasing-resistant, smooth, absorbent and breathable, cool to the skin clothing and household items e.g. pajamas,  towels, bedsheets, etc.
Lyocell soft, absorbent, very strong both wet and dry, wrinkles-resistant. Ok with dry-cleaning and machine wash casual clothing, towels, underwear.
Cuprammonium rayon fine fibers, soft, lightweight, burns quickly lightweight clothing e.g. dresses or blouses
High tenacity rayon a very high tensile strength tire cords, reinforcing fabrics

Material’s Specifics

Since rayon can mimic many other fabrics, it has universal characteristics. The material

 is soft and smooth, it doesn’t tend to trap the body heat which makes this fabric always cool on the skin. Moreover, rayon is easy to dye since its half-natural origin makes it the same color perceptive. Besides, it is breathable and not heavy at all which (in addition to the pleasant feeling it leaves on the skin and the fabric’s nice appearance) make rayon one of our favorites.

What Is Rayon How It Is Manufactured
Photo by Aditya Wardhana

Nevertheless, certain specifics exist and they need to be remembered. For instance, rayon tends to shrink . The material is very predisposed to heat which makes it troublesome to launder rayon, besides, it is badly resistant to water and humidity, that is why on humid days rayon items can get a bit oversized.

However, dealing with these nuances is pretty simple and doesn’t take much effort.

To better understand what are the pros and cons of this fiber, check this chart out.

Pros Cons


Doesn’t trap body heat

Pleasant to the skin

Looks good and expensive

Easily blends with other fabrics

Easy to dye





Deforms when wet

Not that strong

Can be damaged by ironing

Needs to be dry-cleaned or manually laundered 

Tumble-drying is forbidden

Can’t stand the heat

Maintenance Nuances

This material is rather sensitive to heat and moisture, that is why proper care is a must.

What is Viscose Fabric?What is Viscose Fabric?

The best option is to dry-clean rayon items, but for the daily clothing, handwash can be ok, too. Only keep in mind that the water must be warm, and the optimal laundering product is soap or heavy-duty detergent.

  • Never wring or twist rayon to avoid deformation
  • Don’t rub when laundering. For deleting stains, better take the item to the dry cleaner’s
  • Iron when items are still a bit wet
  • Flat dry rayon apparel, but never tumble-dry

Like that, you will keep the garments longer.

So, like any synthetic material, rayon has its benefits and nuances. However, the number of positive features is way more than of negative ones, besides, rayon is only half-artificial, so this material can be quite a good substitute for the fully synthetic fibers.

Frequently Asked Questions

⭐ Is rayon a polyester?

No, these two are different fabrics since polyester is made of processed petroleum, and rayon is half-natural.

⭐ Does rayon make you sweat?

No, the fabric is very breathable, besides, it doesn’t trap our bodies’ heat.

⭐ Is rayon better than cotton?

It’s more absorbent than cotton, but it’s the only thing that makes rayon better since it is weaker than cotton and less resistant to moisture and heat.

⭐ Why is the use of rayon becoming popular?

The fabric mimics different fibers and it’s cheap which, for instance, allows producing silk-like clothing that costs less than the real ones. Besides, the fabric is more versatile.

⭐ Is 100% rayon stretchy?

The fibers themselves do not stretch, but they can deform under the impact of moisture.

⭐ How do you wash rayon?

It must be washed manually of dry-cleaned.

⭐ How long does it take Rayon to decompose?

Depending on whether it’s pure or blended, decomposition can take from 20 to 200 years.

Written by
Camilla Moln
She worked as a consultant for more than 60 articles and has 20 years of work experience as a freelance writer. Now her focus is on decoration tips that are affordable for every family and what you can do without special consultants at home.
Or editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here.
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