Can you dry clean a crocheted afghan/blanket?

Simple enough question. I have one that my mom made thirty years ago. No idea what kind of yarn she used. I’d like to clean it before using it on my bed. Can I have it dry cleaned? Or should I do something else?

I did try googling it, but either I’m not using the right terms, or my google-fu is failing me. Everything I find says it depends on the kind of yarn. All I can tell you are the various colors, but that’s kind of not what they mean.


It depends on what it is made out of, but generally, if it is made of either acrylic or wool, or some blend of the two (these three variations are the most common materials for afghans) then it’s dry cleanable.

If there’s a little end of yarn you can snip without damaging the blanket as a whole, you can also try a simple burn test. Hold it to a flame. Acrylic will melt into a blobby plastic end; wool will burn briefly into ash with a “burnt hair” smell. (more comprehensive burn test flowchart probably uneeded for your purposes).


A skilled and experience dry cleaner should be able to tell the difference and use the proper cleaning technique. Since there may not be any of those anymore, don’t take it to a dry cleaner. Or if you are in RI, don’t take it to a cleanser.

…? Holy nonsequitor Batman. Are you … feeling quite yourself, sir?

My local yarn expert here on the couch with me says that you can probably machine wash it at home, as long as it’s not unraveling. If it’s acrylic or cotton, then no problem. If it’s wool you should use Eucalan, Woolite, or something like that. The burn test is good at distinguishing what it is. Another, non-destructive option, is to dip the whole thing, or a corner, in water. Acrylic should not absorb any water, and will dry pretty quickly. Wool will absorb some water, and will probably smell a bit. Cotton will absorb a lot of water, like a towel would. We wash our acrylic afghans, knit and crocheted, whenever necessary in our front load washer, but we did it in the top load, too.

I’m also told, you can try taking it to a good local yarn shop “check on Ravelry for recommendations” as opposed to a hobby or crafts store which happens to sell yarn. They should be able to identify the material for you.

Which part is confusing you?

The part where you incoherently talk about Rhode Island. For no reason. My impression is that you were drunk.

The issue is that wool comes in two varieities: machine washable (“superwash”) and non-machine washable. if you put a non-machine-washable wool blanket in the machine, it will felt. “Felting” means the merges into a solid fabric, shrinking up to 50% in the process. Superwash yarn has been treated specifically to prevent felting – all wool that isn’t treated can felt. Blends can also felt, to whatever degree the fiber content is wool. It doesn’t matter if you use hot or cold water or special soap (and Woolite is actually horrible for wool, don’t use it) - agitation alone can cause severe felting in the right yarn. Then you will not have an afghan, you will have a very heavy dog blanket.

In all likelihood, this afghan is made of perfectly machine washable acrylic, but if a burn test says wool I would not risk it, if it is a sentimental item. “Should be fine” also means “can get totally ruined.”

In Rhode Island a dry cleaner is known as a cleanser. My impression is that you attribute your ignorance to other’s use of terms you don’t understand.

My impression is that randomly talking about Rhode Island when it has nothing to do with the question is strange behavior. The OP’s location, “Bellona” is a place in Italy, or New York, but not Rhode Island.

It was entirely congruent with the topic. I specified precisely that the term cleanser only applied if someone were in Rhode Island. Perhaps you should avoid the more complicated responses to questions that aren’t restricted to your narrow perspective.

GQ is for answers, not random irrelevancies, but if you enjoy spewing forth about Rhode Island whenever you think it might be tangentially applicable, more power to you.

This post has been Rhode Islanded by the Rhode Islander, etc.

GQ is for fighting ignorance. You are demonstrating why that has taken so long.

Moderator Warning

Hello Again, GQ is also not for picking fights with other posters for no reason, nor is it for insulting remarks, nor for acting like a jerk. There is nothing wrong with making tangential remarks. You’ve been here plenty long enough to know this, so this is an official warning. Don’t do this again.

General Questions Moderator

[Moderator Note]

Tripolar, it would have been better to report Hello Again’s posts rather than taking the bait and engaging with him on this. However, since I think your remarks aren’t as bad as his, I’m making this a note rather than a warning.

General Questions Moderator

Eep. I’d rather not risk it. My mom made it about 30 years ago.

I think I’ll just leave it as is. I was worried it’d smell weird, being locked in the closet for so long, but it doesn’t, and there’s no visible dirt.

Thanks, echoreply and Hello Again!

If you don’t want to risk washing, you can always take it outside, give it a good shaking, then leave it in the air/sunshine for a few hours to clear away any musty/storage odors.

If it’s densely crocheted, you can hang it over a regular close line but lacy/loopy types should be given better support. Like use a drying rack, or improvise something with a few chairs or drape it over a bush or whatever.

Another method you can use for telling whether the afghan is made of acrylic or wool - bury your nose in it, and inhale deeply. Wool will smell (very faintly) like sheep, while acrylic will smell (very faintly) of plastic. Cotton yarn has a altogether different feel and texture, heavier and not as springy, and if you do the smell test, it will have a (very faint) mildewy, papery scent.

Either way, it’s probably perfectly safe to wash it on gentle with some woolite. Don’t put it in the dryer. Lay it out flat on some towels to dry. If you hang it on a line it might stretch out unattractively in some spots.