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Can 100% Acrylic Yarn Be Washed?


100% acrylic yarn is a popular choice among knitters and crafters due to its affordability, versatility, and ease of care. However, proper washing techniques are crucial to maintaining the quality and appearance of your acrylic yarn projects. This article provides a comprehensive guide on how to wash 100% acrylic yarn, ensuring your handmade items stay vibrant and durable.

Understanding 100% Acrylic Yarn

What is 100% Acrylic Yarn?

Acrylic yarn is a type of synthetic fiber made from polymers, specifically polyacrylonitrile. It is designed to mimic the properties of natural fibers like wool, providing softness, warmth, and durability. 100% acrylic yarn is entirely composed of these synthetic fibers, making it a cost-effective and low-maintenance option for various projects.

Properties of 100% Acrylic Yarn

  • Softness: Feels comfortable against the skin.
  • Durability: Resistant to wear and tear, maintaining its shape and texture over time.
  • Colorfastness: Holds dye well, resulting in vibrant and long-lasting colors.
  • Hypoallergenic: Ideal for individuals with wool allergies.
  • Lightweight: Easy to handle and work with.

Can 100% Acrylic Yarn Be Washed?

The Short Answer

Yes, 100% acrylic yarn can be washed. In fact, one of the significant advantages of acrylic yarn is its easy care. Unlike some natural fibers that require delicate handling, acrylic yarn is machine washable and dryable, making it an ideal choice for everyday items that need frequent cleaning.

Benefits of Washing Acrylic Yarn

  • Maintains Appearance: Proper washing helps maintain the vibrant colors and soft texture of acrylic yarn projects.
  • Removes Dirt and Oils: Regular washing removes dirt, oils, and other residues that can accumulate over time.
  • Enhances Longevity: Keeping your acrylic yarn items clean and well-maintained extends their lifespan.

How to Wash 100% Acrylic Yarn: A Step-by-Step Guide

Machine Washing

Step 1: Check the Label

  • Description: Always check the care label on your yarn or finished project for specific washing instructions. Most acrylic yarns are machine washable, but it's essential to confirm.
  • Benefits: Ensures you follow the manufacturer's recommendations for optimal care.

Step 2: Use a Gentle Cycle

  • Description: Set your washing machine to a gentle or delicate cycle to minimize agitation, which can cause stretching or pilling.
  • Benefits: Protects the integrity and appearance of your acrylic yarn projects.

Step 3: Use Cold Water

  • Description: Wash your acrylic yarn items in cold water to prevent shrinking and fading.
  • Benefits: Maintains the size and color of your items.

Step 4: Use Mild Detergent

  • Description: Choose a mild, gentle detergent that is free from harsh chemicals or additives.
  • Benefits: Prevents damage and keeps the yarn soft and vibrant.

Step 5: Place in a Mesh Laundry Bag

  • Description: Place smaller or delicate items in a mesh laundry bag to prevent tangling and snagging.
  • Benefits: Provides extra protection during the washing cycle.

Hand Washing

Step 1: Fill a Basin with Cold Water

  • Description: Fill a basin or sink with cold water and add a small amount of mild detergent.
  • Benefits: Creates a gentle washing environment for your acrylic yarn items.

Step 2: Submerge and Soak

  • Description: Submerge your acrylic yarn items in the water and gently agitate them with your hands to distribute the detergent.
  • Benefits: Loosens dirt and oils without causing damage.

Step 3: Rinse Thoroughly

  • Description: Drain the soapy water and refill the basin with clean, cold water. Rinse the items thoroughly to remove all detergent residues.
  • Benefits: Ensures no detergent is left in the yarn, which could cause irritation or stiffness.

Step 4: Gently Squeeze Out Water

  • Description: Gently squeeze out excess water without wringing or twisting the yarn, which can cause stretching or distortion.
  • Benefits: Maintains the shape and structure of your items.


Step 1: Lay Flat to Dry

  • Description: Lay your acrylic yarn items flat on a clean, dry towel. Roll up the towel with the item inside to gently press out excess water.
  • Benefits: Prevents stretching and helps the item maintain its shape.

Step 2: Air Dry

  • Description: Unroll the towel and lay the item flat on a dry towel or drying rack. Reshape as necessary and allow it to air dry completely.
  • Benefits: Avoids heat damage and keeps the yarn soft and vibrant.

Step 3: Avoid Direct Sunlight

  • Description: Keep the drying items away from direct sunlight, which can cause fading.
  • Benefits: Preserves the color and quality of your acrylic yarn projects.

Tips for Maintaining 100% Acrylic Yarn

Avoid High Heat

  • Description: High heat can damage acrylic fibers, causing them to melt or become misshapen. Avoid using high heat settings on your washing machine or dryer.
  • Benefits: Protects the integrity and appearance of your items.

Store Properly

  • Description: Store your acrylic yarn projects in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. Use breathable storage containers to prevent mold and mildew.
  • Benefits: Ensures your projects remain in excellent condition when not in use.

Handle with Care

  • Description: While acrylic yarn is durable, it's still essential to handle your projects with care, especially during washing and drying.
  • Benefits: Prevents unnecessary wear and tear, extending the lifespan of your items.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can 100% acrylic yarn be machine washed?

Yes, most 100% acrylic yarns are machine washable. Use a gentle cycle with cold water and mild detergent for best results.

How should I dry my 100% acrylic yarn projects?

Lay your acrylic yarn items flat to dry, avoiding direct sunlight and high heat to prevent damage and maintain shape.

Is acrylic yarn hypoallergenic?

Yes, acrylic yarn is hypoallergenic, making it an excellent choice for individuals with wool allergies.

How often should I wash my acrylic yarn projects?Wash your acrylic yarn items as needed, based on use and exposure to dirt and oils. Regular washing helps maintain their appearance and cleanliness.

Can I use fabric softener on acrylic yarn?

It's best to avoid fabric softeners, as they can coat the fibers and reduce the yarn's softness and breathability.

What should I do if my acrylic yarn project stretches?

If your acrylic yarn project stretches, gently reshape it while damp and lay it flat to dry. Avoid excessive heat and agitation in the future to prevent further stretching.


100% acrylic yarn is a versatile and easy-care material perfect for a wide range of projects. By following proper washing and drying techniques, you can ensure your acrylic yarn items remain soft, vibrant, and durable. Whether you're a crafter or a consumer, understanding how to care for acrylic yarn will help you enjoy your handmade creations for years to come.

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