16 Materials and Fabrics That Could Itch, Wrinkle, Or Fade

When choosing materials for your clothing and home goods, it’s important to consider more than just style. Some materials can cause itching, wrinkling, or fading, leading to discomfort and frustration. In this article, we’ll explore 16 common materials and fabrics that could have these effects. You might want to take this list along with you when shopping for your wardrobe and home decor.

Wool

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Of course, wool is at the top of this list, with its itchy stiffness. While wool is a popular material known for its warmth and durability, it is probably the itchiest cloth many have ever worn. If you love wool but want to skip the itch, look for softer variations like merino wool or choose blends that incorporate other fibers. These options give you the warmth and durability of wool without the scratchiness. 

Polyester

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Polyester is a synthetic fabric often used in clothing due to its affordability and wrinkle-resistant properties. However, it can cause skin irritation in some individuals, especially when worn in hot weather. While it is still a far cry from the itchy polyester suits that the 1970s were famous for, it can still be uncomfortable to wear. It is also bad for the environment since it is made from harsh chemicals that probably have no business near our skin. 

Silk

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Silk is a luxurious and delicate material that can easily wrinkle if not properly cared for. It is also prone to fading in direct sunlight, so be sure to store silk garments carefully and avoid excessive exposure to the sun. Silk should only be dry-cleaned and steam-ironed on a low setting. While silk itself is biodegradable, the process to produce it is hard on the environment. 

Denim

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Denim is a durable and versatile fabric commonly used in jeans and jackets. However, some people may find denim to be stiff and itchy until it is properly broken in. To prevent discomfort, consider washing denim garments before wearing them. While the process of making denim was traditionally a strain on the environment, there is a move in the industry towards more sustainable ways of creating this material. 

Rayon

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Rayon is a semi-synthetic material that is known for its softness and drape. However, it is prone to wrinkling, especially when wet, so be sure to follow the care instructions on rayon garments to maintain their appearance. Many consider rayon to be an environmentally-friendly material choice. 

Leather

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Leather is a durable and stylish material often used in clothing and furniture. However, leather can fade over time, especially when exposed to sunlight. To prevent fading, store leather items away from direct sunlight and condition them regularly. Of course, natural leather has caused a lot of stir in the fashion industry due to its origins. Some opt for synthetic leather instead.

Linen

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Linen is a lightweight and breathable fabric that is perfect for warm weather. However, linen is prone to wrinkling, so be prepared to embrace the relaxed, slightly rumpled look that is characteristic of this material. Picture the sexy male model relaxing in a crumpled, pastel suit on vacation. That’s linen.

Spandex

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Spandex is a stretchy material that is commonly used in activewear and form-fitting clothing. It is also used in shapewear that is worn under clothing for a slimming effect. While spandex is comfortable to wear, it can lose its shape over time and become saggy or baggy. To maintain the elasticity of spandex garments, avoid using high heat when washing and drying.

Acrylic

Acrylic fabric
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Acrylic is a synthetic fiber that is often used as a wool substitute in clothing and home goods. While acrylic is soft and lightweight, it can pill easily, leading to a worn and fuzzy appearance. To prevent pilling, wash acrylic items inside out and avoid washing them with rough fabrics. Be aware that the flame-retardants in acrylic clothing have been said to cause health issues. 

Nylon

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Nylon is a durable and quick-drying material that is commonly used in activewear and swimwear. However, nylon is prone to fading in the sun, so be sure to rinse nylon garments after swimming and avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. While nylon has been known to cause allergic reactions in some people, it is a fairly low-priced and durable fabric.

Velvet

velvet curtains
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Velvet is a plush and luxurious fabric that adds a touch of elegance to clothing and home decor. However, velvet can easily crush and lose its luster if not properly cared for. To maintain the appearance of velvet items, avoid putting pressure on the fabric and consider using a steamer to remove wrinkles. Velvet is a great way to add a soft, luxurious feel to your clothing and decor. 

Corduroy

Red corduroy fabric gathered with elastic close-up
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Corduroy is a ribbed fabric that is soft and warm, making it perfect for winter clothing. However, corduroy can lose its shape and flatten over time, especially in high-friction areas like the elbows and seat of pants. To prevent flattening, avoid excessive rubbing, and consider using a clothes brush to restore the pile. Some clothing manufacturers opt for patches over problem areas. 

Suede

suede shoes
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Suede is a soft and velvety leather that adds a luxurious touch to shoes and accessories. However, much like velvet, suede is prone to fading and staining, especially when exposed to moisture. To protect suede items, store them in a cool, dry place and use a suede brush to remove dirt and revive the nap. The environmentally conscious should keep in mind that suede is a type of leather.

Acetate

Acetate fabric
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Acetate is a synthetic material that is often used as a rayon or silk substitute in clothing and linings. While acetate is lightweight and drapes beautifully, it is prone to shrinking and wrinkling when exposed to heat. To prevent damage, avoid using high heat when washing and drying acetate garments.

Cashmere

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Cashmere is a luxurious and soft material that is perfect for cozy sweaters and accessories. However, cashmere is delicate and prone to pilling, especially in areas that experience friction. To prevent pilling, store cashmere items folded and avoid hanging them, as this can stretch the fibers. Cashmere comes from the fur of animals, usually goats, which are not destroyed to create the rare fabric. 

Tencel

Tencel fabric
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Tencel is the trademarked name of a sustainable and eco-friendly material called lyocell. It is known for its softness and breathability. However, Tencel is prone to wrinkling, especially when wet, so be sure to follow the care instructions on Tencel garments to maintain their appearance.

Getting the Best From Your Fabrics

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As we go about our daily lives, we encounter many materials in the clothes we wear, the furniture we use, and the items we touch. Those who are prone to allergic responses often choose more natural fabrics. The environmentally conscious pay close attention to the manufacturing process. Whatever fabric type you choose, following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to enhance durability while decreasing wrinkling, itching, fading, and other issues is best.

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