Understanding the differences in fabric types can help you better care for them.
CELLULOSE—Cellulose consists of many different fabrics such as cotton, the world’s most popular fiber. Other cellulose fibers include linen, seaweed, bamboo and synthetic cellulose (rayon, ramie and viscose).
Characteristics: Soft and strong, cellulose fibers are absorbent to spots from liquid and grease. They also readily absorb odors. Use care when spot-treating cellulose fibers as dyes sit on the surface and may run. These fabrics also wrinkle easily.
PROTEIN (WOOLS)—Wool fabrics come in many different weights, from fine cashmeres to heavy threads used for rugs.
Characteristics: Wool fibers naturally wick away moisture and odors, and may be hung to release the majority of wrinkles. Wools resist staining and travel well.
SYNTHETIC—Synthetic materials include nylon, polyester, acetate, acrylic and spandex.
Characteristics: Long fibers of these man-made fabrics give a luxurious sheen and stable, soft yarns. These fibers are primarily modified plastic thread and are generally heat sensitive.
MINERAL—Quite rare, these threads are usually used as an accent, as an appliqué or as a paint coating on thread.
Characteristics: Sometimes used as fiberglass material for draperies, these fibers do not absorb stains but are difficult to maintain when spots are near the appliqué.