Elastane explained: What it is, how it's related to spandex and lycra, and how to care for these fabrics!
Elastane fabric comes either on its own, like those spandex cycling shorts, or gets blended with other fibres to create a stretchy material that can be used for all kind clothing. However, you should always give your elastane clothing the best care possible, so find out more about elastane clothing and washing elastane.
What is lycra, elastane and spandex?
Elastane, which is also known as spandex and lycra, is a manmade fibre made from a segmented block of copolymers containing randomly coiled, long, and liquid soft segments that move in a linear structure. These polymer chains contain hard segments that link them together in an infinite network. Elastane can be stretched to 4-7 times its length and has great elastic recovery, it’s also stronger than rubber. Spandex fabric often blended with other fibres like cotton, nylon and polyester to give garments a stretch and also helps with compression and shaping.
What clothes are made from elastane fibres?
While elastane is often combined with other fibres, like stretch jeans or tops, but it’s also used in garments where comfort and fit are desired, or even compression and foundation garments. Most clothes containing elastane fabric, or spandex, contain other fibres, but these will depend on the use. Those which are nylon based are used for swimwear, cycling shorts, dancewear and costumes. Other popular blends include cotton and rayon based garments, which are used for t-shirts, leggings and some sportswear, like yoga wear.
How to wash elastane fabrics?
- Always follow the instructions on the fabric care labels, especially since elastane is often blended with other fabrics.
- Most garments containing elastane can be machine washed.
How to dry elastane fabrics?
- Unless the fabric care label advises otherwise, you can tumble dry garments that contain elastane.
- Use Bounce dryer sheets to prevent the build-up of static electricity.
- Purely elastane garments may need to air dry.
How to iron and store elastane fabrics?
Garments containing elastane tend not to wrinkle if washed and dried properly. It’s best to avoid ironing, but if your care label says you can iron your elastane based clothes then use the lowest possible heat setting on your iron. Fold your elastane based garments instead of hanging to avoid any bulging at the shoulders or elsewhere due to the hangers.
Each fabric is different, so your laundry will come with different challenges, from a variety of stain types to various fabrics such as cashmere, synthetic fibres and linen, for example. Ariel can help you see outstanding results in the 1st wash.