How to Wash Acetate

Written by nicola gordon-thaxter
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How to Wash Acetate
Acetate holds its shape well and doesn't crease easily. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Acetate is a synthetic fabric made from a chemical compound called cellulose acetate. Acetate fabrics tend to look like silk, are shiny and don't crease much. As acetate garments are so thin they dry quickly; they can only absorb about 6 per cent moisture, however, it is this thinness which makes them sensitive to heat, so you have to be careful when you wash it. Use cooler wash cycles, about 40 degrees Celsius, and don't put acetate garments in the dryer, hang them on the washing line while still wet or if the weather is bad, on an indoor drying rack.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Washing machine
  • Water
  • Outdoor sink or washing basin
  • Detergent

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  1. 1

    Load the acetate fabrics into your washing machine along with the detergent appropriate to your load weight.

  2. 2

    Turn the machine to the synthetics program which is between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius. This programme has less movement than the natural fibres cycle and rinses the acetate clothes in cooler water than a general wash cycle which runs at 70 degrees Celsius, therefore protecting them from the effects of heat.

  3. 3

    Hand wash your acetate garments if you prefer or if you only have a few acetate pieces, but be gentle with the fabric. Fill a basin with water no hotter than 40 degrees Celsius and add detergent according to the size of your basin. Soak the acetate garment in the soapy water for about 15 minutes and then gently wash it. Don't scrub, twist or wring it, just gently squeeze the water out when you have finished.

Tips and warnings

  • Triacetate, which is acetate containing three different types of acetate, can withstand more heat than normal acetate and can be washed in normal washing machine temperatures of 70 degrees Celsius. Triacetate garments are easier to wash with the rest of your clothes as they can be done on the same cycle.

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