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How to Wash Crochet Blankets

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Crocheted and knitted blankets are some of the most beloved treasures you can have. Their soft fibers wrap you in warmth and infinite comfort. 

You need to keep these treasures in the best condition possible. To do that, you need to know how to wash crochet blankets properly. That way they don’t get stretched or damaged.

I had to learn how to wash a crochet blanket after I received one from an old family friend. The blanket was beautiful, in just the right colors. Unfortunately, the blanket had been in storage and had a musty smell clinging to it. It needed a good cleaning.

Where did you get your crochet blanket? It might be a baby shower gift from a family member. It might be a yard sale find of the century. The blanket could even be your own creation. In any case, caring for that blanket is not difficult. You do need to know what type of yarn it’s made from and how to clean it without causing damage.

What Is the Yarn Made From?

The most important step you need to take is figuring out what kind of yarn it’s made with. This will determine the best method for cleaning it. 

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If you made the blanket yourself, refer to the label that came with the yarn. It will tell you what the fibers are in the yarn. It may also give instructions for how to wash the final piece.

If the blanket was a gift or you bought it at a craft fair, ask the person who made it about the type of yarn. Most crafters will be happy to tell you and even give you pointers on how to care for the blanket.

If you bought the blanket second-hand, you need to do some further investigation. You can use this simple test to figure out the type of yarn.

Snip a bit of yarn off from the fringe or another inconspicuous area. Light the yarn with a match. 

  • If it melts and has a chemical smell, it’s a synthetic fiber. If it melts into a hard bead, it’s likely acrylic. If it leaves small balls, it’s likely polyester yarn.
  • If it turns to hard, crumbly ash and smells like burning hair, it’s likely wool.
  • If it turns to a fine ash and smells more like burning leaves, it’s likely cotton.

Another way to differentiate natural versus man-made fibers is by touching the yarn. Natural fibers, like wool or cotton, will always have a texture to them. Man-made fibers, like acrylic or polyester, are almost always smooth to the touch. 

Should You Hand Wash or Machine Wash?

You know what type of yarn it is. Next, you need to determine if you should hand wash the blanket or if you can use a washing machine. 

  • If the blanket fiber is acrylic, polyester, or cotton, it’s safe to wash in the washing machine.
  • If the blanket fiber is wool, cashmere, or mohair, you should hand wash it.
  • If the blanket fiber is unknown, hand wash in cold water to avoid the chance of damaging it.

Which Detergent and Water Temperature Should You Use?

Your choice of detergent and water temperature is as important as the method of cleaning. 

If you are hand washing any blanket, go with a mild detergent formulated for delicate fabrics. Also, use cold water for the wash and rinse. 

When washing a wool blanket, choose a detergent that contains lanolin. This natural oil helps preserve the wool fibers. This keeps the blanket in good condition over a longer period. Always wash wool in cold water to avoid shrinkage.

Choose a mild detergent when machine washing synthetic or cotton fibers. You can use cold or warm water. 

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Machine Washing a Crochet Blanket

Crocheted materials snag on zippers or buttons. To avoid this issue, you can wash the crochet blanket separately, or put it inside a mesh laundry bag. If possible use a front-loader or top-loader without the center agitator. This will allow the blanket to move freely and avoid damage from the agitator.

When you are ready to wash the blanket:

  • Put the blanket in the washer.
  • Add a small amount of detergent.
  • Select the delicate or permanent press option on the washer. 
  • Run the blanket through the wash cycle.

Hand Washing a Crochet Blanket

Hand washing may sound like a lot of work, but it’s not that hard. Plus, it’s well worth it to preserve your crocheted treasure. 

Where you clean the blanket, depends on its size. You can wash a baby blanket or a throw in a large sink or basin. However, if the blanket is any larger, you will need to use the bathtub or a large plastic storage container. 

  • Fill the basin with cool, clear water.
  • Add a small amount of detergent to the water. Use your hand to mix the detergent in, creating suds.
  • Lower the blanket into the water.
  • Gently move the blanket back and forth, allowing the suds to penetrate the yarn.
  • Allow the blanket to soak for 15 to 20 minutes. 
  • Drain the water out of the basin.
  • Refill with clear water. 
  • Swish the blanket through the water to remove the suds.
  • Repeat draining and refilling the basin, until there are no more suds coming out of the blanket.

If the basin has a built-in drain, let the blanket sit while the water drains away. Keep it in the basin for a few minutes to let excess water drain off the fibers. 

Layout some white towels. Gently remove the blanket from the basin and lay it flat on the towels. Roll up the towels with the blanket inside, pressing as you roll. This will help remove moisture from the blanket. 

Do not wring the towels or blanket. This can cause the blanket yarns to stretch out of shape.

You may need to replace the wet towels with dry ones. Then, repeat the rolling and pressing to get the blanket to a damp state.

Drying the Crochet Blanket

The best way to dry any crochet piece is to dry it flat. This allows it to dry without stretching the yarns or stressing the knitting. 

  • Find a safe place where you can lay the blanket flat. It might be on your guest room floor or across the dining room table.
  • Place some heavy plastic or a vinyl shower curtain down. This will protect the surface below from the moisture coming off the blanket.
  • Place a layer of clean, dry towels down across the entire surface. These will absorb the moisture as it wicks off the blanket.
  • Lay the crochet blanket out on the towels. Reshape the blanket to its original form. Take care to redistribute the yarns and knitting, so it sets properly.
  • Allow the blanket to dry for 24 hours. If you want to speed up the drying time, run a fan across the surface.
  • If the blanket isn’t completely dry after 24 hours, flip it over onto a new layer of dry towels. Reshape it as needed. Let dry for another 24 hours.
  • Once the blanket is dry, fold it and put it away.

Can You Use a Dryer for Your Crochet Blanket? 

If your blanket is made from synthetic fibers, you can dry it in the dryer on low to medium heat. Just don’t over dry it because it can start to burn the fibers.

That’s how to wash crochet blankets. You always need to take care with crocheted or knitted items because the yarns can stretch out of shape. Knowing what yarn its made from and the best way to clean it will preserve your crocheted blanket for years to come.

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