Can You Tumble Dry Viscose? (will it shrink or is it safe)

100% viscose should never be tumble dried and shouldn’t even be washed in a washing machine. This is because viscose is a man made fabric which is made from cellulose.

Cellulose is wood fibre and other plant materials that are treated with chemicals to turn the plant fibres into long filaments which are spun into a yarn.

Although it is strong in its natural form, cellulose loses strength when it has been processed. The bonds between the cellulose molecules can become weakened especially when wet. 

This is why viscose should not be tumble dried because the wet fibres will easily tear apart. Especially during the tumbling action in a tumble dryer. 

What The Tumble Dryer Symbols Mean On Viscose

Tumble Dryer Symbols On Clothes

There are various symbols relating to tumble dryers used on care labels. Many of these will never be found on viscose or blended viscose items.

However, we have included them all for your information.

  • Square With White Circle And A Black X On Top – “Do not tumble dry” This is the most likely symbol to be found on viscose and most viscose blended garments.
  • Square With White Circle – This symbol indicates that the item can be tumble dried. Some viscose blended items carry this symbol.
  • Square With Black Circle – This symbol indicates that the item can be tumble dried on the no heat setting. This could be found on some viscose blended items.
  • Square With White Circle, One Black Dot In Circle – This indicates you can dry on the low heat setting on your tumble dryer. It is not likely that you’ll find this on any viscose or blended viscose items.
  • Square With White Circle, Two Black Dots In Circle – This indicates you can dry on a medium heat setting and is unlikely to be found on any viscose or blended viscose garments.
  • Square With White Circle, Three Black Dots In Circle – This symbol is used to indicate that the item can be tumble dried using the high heat setting. This is highly unlikely to be found on any viscose or viscose blended items.

How To Dry Viscose Without A Tumble Dryer

The best way to dry viscose is to air dry it, either by laying it flat or hanging it on a hanger. Below we have listed the most recommended ways of drying your viscose garments.

Air Drying Viscose Clothes On A Washing Line

To prevent viscose garments from shrinking, it is recommended that they are air dried on a hanger which is then attached to a washing line, rotary line or retractable clothesline.

The garments should be hung in a shady area to avoid damage from the sun.

SEE ALSO: Our Recommended Retractable Clotheslines

Air Drying Viscose Clothes On An Airer

Airers, or clothes horses as they’re also known, are a great device for drying viscose clothes. The garments can either be laid flat to dry or hung on hangers and then suspended from the bars of the airer.

Airers can be used outside in the shade, or indoors in a well ventilated room.

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Speed Up The Drying Time Indoors Using An Electric Fan

Placing an electric fan in the same room as the drying viscose items can speed up the drying time.

The fan simulates a gentle breeze especially if there is a window open to allow sufficient air flow.

A Dehumidifier Can Decrease Indoor Drying Times

Dehumidifiers remove excessive moisture from the air of the room they are placed in. 

By placing a dehumidifier in the same room as your drying Viscose garments, you can decrease the amount of time it takes to dry them.

SEE ALSO: Top Dehumidifiers For Drying Clothes

What Happens If You Tumble Dry Viscose?

Always check the wash care labels

Viscose and viscose blended garments should not be tumble dried. If you disregard the care instructions on your viscose garment, you can expect;

Viscose Garments To Shrink

Viscose is made from chemically treated wood pulp and other plant materials. These materials will shrink if they are subjected to high heat.

Even blended viscose is likely to shrink in a tumble dryer.

Viscose Garments To Wrinkle

As the viscose fibres dry and shrink in the tumble dryer, they are also likely to cause the garment to form wrinkles.

The Viscose To Become Damaged

Viscose should never be treated roughly. This means no tumble drying otherwise the fibres are likely to weaken. 

This will lead to the fabric ripping or tearing or at the very least becoming thin in places.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to put Viscose in a tumble dryer?

It is normally not considered safe to tumble dry viscose. 100% viscose should be dry cleaned by a specialist.

What happens if you tumble dry viscose fabric?

If you tumble dry viscose fabric it is likely to shrink, wrinkle and/or tear.

Does viscose always shrink?

It depends on how much viscose is in the blend, but 100% viscose is likely to shrink every time it is washed.

How much does viscose shrink in the dryer?

If you were to wash viscose in hot water and tumble dry it on a medium heat, it could shrink by 25% during the first wash. Then 3-5% every subsequent wash.

How can I dry viscose without a tumble dryer?

You should air dry viscose either on a hanger suspended to a washing line or on an airer where it can be laid flat or hung on a hanger.

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