How to Wash Acetate

by Dan Ketchum ; Updated September 28, 2017

Wash your acetate fabrics after a few wears.

IngaIvanova/iStock/Getty Images

Cellulose acetate may sound like something you'd find in a petri dish, but this man-made fiber actually lends its silky texture to everything from blouses to linings to lingerie. Although acetate fabrics resist wrinkles, they're quite delicate and prone to burns without proper care. A delicate touch is key to keeping your acetate and blended-acetate fabrics clean -- gentle hand-washing serves as your safest bet.

Items you will need

  • Gentle laundry detergent
  • Large towels
Step 1

Run the garment under cold water in the sink or bathtub. Don't scrub or twist the piece -- simply let the water run through the fabric to help dilute stains.

Step 2

Fill the sink or bath with clean water and add a few spoonfuls of gentle laundry detergent that doesn't contain dyes or perfumes. Dip the garment in the water, shaking it gently, then rinse it free of detergent. Repeat the process two or three times, then hold the garment over the water to drip-dry for a few minutes.

Step 3

Lie the garment flat on large, absorbent towels to air-dry. Arrange the garment so that it lies in its natural shape. Place the towels in a warm, dry and airy location. You may need to change the towels and flip the garment about halfway through the drying process.


  • For more intense cleaning, machine-wash on a gentle cycle with warm water if the garment's label allows. Use a gentle detergent, at about half the amount recommended by the detergent manufacturer.

    To iron your acetate, press the fabric while it's still damp, using a cool iron. Turn the garment inside-out for your first run, then use a pressing cloth to iron the exterior of the garment.


  • Acetate-blend care instructions may vary per fabric construction -- always consult the garment's care label and closely follow any instructions or warnings provided by the manufacturer.

    Some acetate fabrics are dry-clean only. Likewise, major stains require a trip to the dry cleaners.

    Never put your acetate clothing in the dryer, run it under hot water or iron it on high heat.

    Do not apply vinegar to acetate or acetate blends. Although this time-tested home remedy works as a laundering agent for many common fabrics, it can damage acetate.

Photo Credits

  • IngaIvanova/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Dan Ketchum has been a professional writer since 2003, with work appearing online and offline in Word Riot, Bazooka Magazine, Anemone Sidecar, Trails and more. Dan's diverse professional background spans from costume design and screenwriting to mixology, manual labor and video game industry publicity.