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Once upon a time, I hated the feel of Spandex, and when manufacturers started weaving small amounts into pants and jeans, I went through a shopping slump. My sister finally convinced me to give it a try, and today I am a huge fan of a small amount of Spandex in garments because it provides a nicer fit. The best thing is, even with lots of movement and stretching, garments retain their original shape. At the end of the day, you don’t look like a crumpled, stretched out mess.

What is Spandex?

  • It’s an elastic fiber produced from a long chain of polymer consisting of polyurethane.

What does it do?

  • Because of its composition, the material stretches over the body, drawing in or firming to the body as the fabric contracts.

Benefits of Spandex:

  • It stretches out but has the ability to snap back.
  • It is resistant to sunlight, weather, abrasion, solvent, and flexing.
  • The fibers can be produced with varying degrees of stretch.
  • It can be used uncovered or covered with other textile yarns in both woven and knitted garments.

Disadvantages of Spandex:

  • The material is not breathable, and as a result, it traps moisture, sweat, and bad odor within the garment. Blending small amounts with other fabric, in particular cotton, seems to reduce this issue.
  • It is sensitive to heat and doesn’t absorb liquid. Therefore, washing in hot water, placing in the dryer, or ironing can damage the fabric.
  • Because of the way the fabric is manufactured, it has the potential for shrinkage during the cleaning process. The shrinkage is more pronounced on cotton, linen, and rayon blended with Spandex.
  • Yarn can weaken after repeated wearing, especially after repeated exposure to body oils, perspiration, flexing, and cleaning, causing the loss of stretching.
  • Sometimes yarn can snap, causing fibers to stick out from the weave of the fabric.

Caring for Spandex:

  • As with all garments, check the care label before cleaning.
  • If there is no care label, we would recommend handwashing with a mild detergent. If handwashing makes your head spin, you can try placing the garment in a mesh bag and using the gentle cycle. Then lay it flat to dry.
  • In many garments, especially dress clothes, Spandex is a minor component; therefore, a professional would clean the garment based on the majority fiber.

Spandex is a popular addition for fabrics because of its elastic properties. It’s both dry cleanable and washable, and according to the Dry-cleaning and Laundry Institute, nearly 80% of the clothing sold in the United States contains Spandex. That means that A Cleaner World can handle these garments with ease.

spandex dress
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