Tencel Fabric Care: How to Look After Your Clothes

April 23, 2023

 If you are searching for a TENCEL™ fabric care guide, it’s likely you already own Tencel clothing and want some easy care tips. 

It’s important to care for your Tencel fabric correctly to help it last longer. This means a low temperature gentle wash cycle, ideally hang drying and using gentle laundry detergents that will help the fabric hold up.

While TENCEL™ is easy to care for, there are things you can do to help it last as long as possible. 

If you follow this simple Tencel fabric care guide, your Tencel clothes will last for many years. 

But let’s not waste time, you’re here for advice. Here is a shortlist of the best Tencel fabric care tips:

  • Cold water wash or 30°C
  • Wash on a delicate cycle
  • Wash with similar colours
  • Don’t add bleach to wash cycles
  • Store in a well ventilated location
  • Don’t use a tumble dryer unless the care label permits
  • Use a steamer to remove wrinkles and increase softness

TENCEL™ is one of the most sustainable materials and will help you transform your wardrobe into an eco friendly haven. It's made from sustainably sourced wood pulp without toxic solvents in a closed loop system.

To read more on Tencel, this article might interest you: 

What is Tencel? And why is it such a eco friendly fabric?

Cariki Tencel Shirt Hat

How to wash TENCEL™ clothes?

You should always wash TENCEL™ on a cold water or 30°C wash. For the longevity of all clothes it’s best if you can hand wash. But let’s be honest, none of us truly want to hand wash our clothes. So when using a washing machine, wash using a low temperature with a gentle cycle.

This will not only prevent the fabric from shrinking and colours from running, but it will also use less energy. 

Like any other fabric, it’s best to wash tencel with similarly coloured items. Tencel fabrics shouldn’t run, but with any new item it’s best to err on the side of caution, especially when machine washing it for the first time. You can also turn clothes inside out for added protection, and use a gentle detergent.

Never add bleach or other chemical cleaners to your wash cycle, as this can accelerate the fading of colours as well as damage the microfibres of Tencel fabric. You can add fabric softener, but this is not necessary as Tencel items are naturally soft and don't require additional softener.

How often do you wash Tencel?

It’s best to wash Tencel as little as you can. That’s not because it’s a weak material, and it’s certainly not an excuse to never wash your clothes. 

One of the most sustainable things you can do to make your wardrobe greener is to wash all clothes less regularly

You only need to wash tencel when it is dirty or smells. This will depend on whether the material is against your skin or an outer layer. You should wash tencel underwear every day whereas tencel trousers will need to be washed much less frequently. 

Want inspiration? Levi’s CEO Chip Bergh hasn’t washed his jeans for over 10 years - now that is dedication.

how often to wash tencel

Can you dry Tencel fabric?

The best way to dry TENCEL™ clothing is by hanging it and leaving items to air dry. If possible, it's a good idea not to use a tumble dryer if you can help it. This will help the tencel fibers last longer.

If your care label states it can be tumble dried, then use a medium or low heat to avoid shrinkage. A low tumble option will help all clothes last longer and avoid shrinkage, particularly with much newer fabric. If in doubt, always follow the washing instructions.

It’s also not recommended to wring tencel fabrics dry as this could damage the natural fibres.

Does Tencel shrink in the dryer? 

Tencel will shrink around 3% when you first wash and dry a new garment. Don’t be alarmed by this stat, as this shrinkage is similar to other materials. A new cotton item shrinks by around 2-5% as well

One thing to avoid if planning to tumble dry tencel is to avoid high heat. Machine drying tencel clothes using high temperatures will accelerate shrinkage, so use a moderate or low heat. Whilst it is a durable material, it can be damaged at high temperatures. 

If in doubt, always check the care instructions of the garment. 

how to wash tencel

How do you make Tencel soft again?

To make Tencel soft again, for best results use a steamer. If you don’t have access to one, use a tumble dryer and add other items like a soft towel or bed sheets and run a short cycle on low heat. 

Tencel is a soft natural fibre that is kind to sensitive skin. Even delicate fabrics can become slightly stiffer if air drying on a clothes dryer or line. Whilst being the safest method to dry your clothes, the chances of wrinkles also rises. 

How do you keep Tencel from wrinkling?

Tencel is naturally wrinkle free, but if any wrinkles do appear it’s best to gently steam your Tencel clothes or tencel sheets. If you don’t have access to a steamer, a light iron should do the trick. Do not hold the iron in one place on the fabric for too long, press gently and use a steam setting that’s not too hot if possible.

Generally speaking, tencel doesn’t crease as much as most other fabrics and creases fall out relatively easily. 

how to clean tencel

Do stains come out of TENCEL?

Even a stubborn stain will come out of Tencel or Lyocell garments. If you spill something on your tencel clothing, rinse the stain immediately using cold or hot water. 

If this doesn’t work, add a drop of mild detergent (such as wool detergent) and gently spot wash with a cloth. Don’t rub too hard as this can damage the fibre. Similarly, avoid using any bleaches or harsh stain removers.  

How to store Tencel clothes? 

Tencel is incredibly long lasting if it is cared for and stored correctly. Correct storage will also maintain the quality, colour and shape of the item. 

If you have a non stretchy tencel garment, these items can be hung in a dry, well ventilated wardrobe. If the items are stretchy, then hanging will likely result in the garment losing shape. It’s best to neatly fold these clothes and stack them in drawers or shelves. Always ensure all clothes are stored in a dry place and ideally out of direct sunlight.

Want more info on storage? We have written an article here to help make your clothes last longer.

Want to read more?

What are the eco benefits of Tencel, and are there any disadvantages of this amazing fabric?

What’s the difference between Tencel and lyocell?

Is bamboo better than cotton? Sadly the truth is never as simple as it first seems

Recycled polyester - even better than Tencel?

Complete sustainable fabric ranking guide

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