How to Best Care for Tencel

It is no surprise that Tencel is a Sotela favorite. As much as I try introducing other eco-friendly fabric options, there aren’t many that drape and lend its way to most of our designs. Tencel feels and drapes like silk, but doesn’t come with the ‘dry clean only’ tag. However, over the years I’ve come to understand how to best care for Tencel so that it maintains its shape, color, and drape. 

So if you didn’t know this about me, I’m pretty clumsy and prone to stains. Unfortunately, I’ve had my fair share of ruining garments in the wash because I either let my husband do laundry or I just don’t take the time to properly care for my clothing. It has been a process, but I’m starting to understand how to best launder clothing that doesn’t involve scrubbing stains with any soap I find or washing with the most vigorous cycle. 

Even though Tencel is a fabric that is considered machine washable and dryer friendly, it is best to take precautions, especially if you have hard water.

These are some steps and suggestions to best maintain your Tencel garments:

1. Pre-treat

Once you find stains on your clothes, pre-treat immediately! I’ve often used a very diluted castile soap to treat deodorant stains or a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. For those really tough stains like oil, I use Dawn soap. Make sure you don’t scrub stains because that can be hard on the fibers.

After pre-treating stains, I make sure to wash the garment because you will get a hard water stain.

2. Wash

Wash your Tencel garments on cold and the most delicate cycle! Our Tencel garment care labels include machine wash cold, but they don’t mention delicate cycle, which I now wish they did. Take it a step further and wash your Tencel in a mesh laundry bag. 

An even better approach would be to dunk your Tencel garments in the sink with cold water and mild soap like The Laundress. The gentler you are, the longer your Tencel will last! 

Washing tencel is a process because it can leave white streaks if you aren’t careful. Those white streaks are caused by the fabric rubbing together, which can happen if you wash on normal or overfill your machine. The more clothing you have, the more your clothing will agitate.

3. Dry

This is the kicker— hang dry anything Tencel. The dryer will suck the life out of your Tencel pieces and fade colors slowly. Dryers are pretty harsh on most clothing anyways. 

Since Tencel can be pretty wrinkle resistant, I lay my garments flat on a towel to dry. Never twist or wring the fabric because that will break the fiber!

If there is one thing you take from these tips, I hope it’s to hang dry your Tencel garments! That is the number one way to make your clothing last longer. If you have any other suggestions or laundry tips, I’d love to know!

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