Nylon is a common synthetic fabric used in various garments and cloths. It is sometimes coated with polyurethane to lend a windproof and waterproof characteristic to the fabric. Though useful, the polyurethane coating can make washing and cleaning the nylon fabric difficult. You can take several steps to clean the fabric in a manner that is polyurethane-safe and preserves the coating without sacrificing your need for fresh, clean laundry.
Brush the area that is soiled. Use a soft-bristled brush such as a toothbrush. This works best for loose particles such as dirt, dust or lint, and avoids the need for a moisture-based cleaning method.
Clean the nylon with plain water. Moisten a soft rag or paper towel and dab the dirty area on the fabric. Avoid wiping the fabric with the rag or towel, as this may push the dirt particles into the fabric and create a permanent stain. This works best for many liquid problems, such as a juice or milk spill.
Spot-clean with a detergent mixture. Mix a tablespoon of powder detergent with a few drops of water until it forms a thick paste. Use a toothbrush and scrub the offending area on the nylon. Moisten a paper towel with water and dab to rinse away the detergent.
Wash the polyurethane-coated nylon fabric in a washing machine if the soiled area is large. Place in your washing machine alone without other fabrics or garments. Run a cycle with laundry detergent, but set the water level to cold. Use a delicate wash cycle if your washing machine offers this option.
Air-dry the nylon fabric. Place on a hanger, clothes rack or clothing line. Air-drying may take several days, depending on the thickness of the fabric and your local environment. Expedite the process by directing a fan at the garment.
Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.