Whirlpool washing machine spinning knitted items.

How to wash hand knitted items

If your family has any hand-knitted or crochet sweaters, scarfs or blankets, you know that these items are not only beautiful but also delicate because of the time and care that went into creating them. Hand-knitted items are typically made of yarn or wool, but can also be made from cotton, bamboo, silk, acrylic yarn and plant fibers. They can be made in a variety of styles and designs, each requiring proper care and maintenance to help them stay looking their best for years to come. In this article, explore how to wash hand-knitted items to keep them clean and in great condition.

Knitted-items in washing machine. Knitted-items in washing machine.

Can you put handmade knits in the washing machine?

When it comes to washing hand-knitted items, it's important to proceed with caution. While some hand-knitted items can be safely washed in the washing machine, others may require more delicate care. 

If you’re not sure how to wash a knitted blanket or garment, check the yarn label and laundry tags to determine the appropriate washing method. If machine washing is recommended, use a gentle cycle and cold water and consider placing delicate or loosely knit items in a laundry bag to help minimize stretching. If there are no care tags, when in doubt, hand wash your garment.

The Whirlpool® Washer with 2 in 1 Removable Agitator is designed to provide a gentle wash for delicate hand-knitted items. By removing the agitator, the washer creates more space in the drum, allowing delicate items to be washed with less friction and stretching.

For more delicate or intricate items, like a knitted blanket with attached embellishments, hand washing in cool water with a gentle detergent is usually the safest choice to help minimize any damage to the knit or embellishments. Swash® Free & Clear Laundry Detergent1 is designed to protect your delicate garments by using precisely the right amount of detergent, without any excess. It is phosphate-free, 8x concentrated and the Precision Pour Cap means less waste and less dulling residue.

It’s also advisable to avoid hot water, to help minimize the shrinking or felting of the fibers. With proper care and attention, your hand-knitted items can look good and last for longer.

Knitted clothes in washer Knitted clothes in washer

How to wash hand knitted clothes and blankets in the washing machine

Handmade knitted clothes and blankets are treasures that deserve proper care. Washing them in a washing machine can be a convenient option, but it’s important to do it right to help minimize damage to the delicate knits. By following the steps below, you will learn how to wash your handmade knits.

  • Gentle laundry detergent

  • Fabric softener (optional)

  • Laundry bag (optional)

Care label icon

Step 1: Check the care label

If your handmade knitwear has a care label, always check it before washing. If it doesn't have a label, refer to the label on the packaging of the material used. Look for any specific instructions, such as water temperature, cycle type or special care recommendations. This will help ensure that you wash your knitwear correctly. 

Sink icon with water

Step 2: Use cold water and a gentle cycle

To help minimize the damages to the delicate fibers of hand-knitted sweaters, it’s best to use cold water and a gentle cycle on your washing machine. This will help prevent stretching or other damage to your knitwear. Be sure to add a mild detergent that is safe for wool or other delicate fabrics.

You can use a fabric softener to help keep the fibers soft and smooth.

Dryer icon

Step 3: Dry the hand-knitted item

Once the hand-knitted blanket or other item has been washed, remove it from the washing machine and gently squeeze out any excess water. If the item is made from animal fiber, avoid squeezing or wringing it out to help prevent stretching or damage. Instead, lay the item flat on a clean towel and roll the towel up to absorb more water. Unroll the towel and carefully reshape the knitted item, then lay it flat on a drying rack or clean surface away from direct sunlight or heat. Allow the item to dry completely before storing or using it again.

Knits in the dryer Knits in the dryer

Can you put knitwear in the dryer?

It is best to air dry hand-knitted items since high heat in the dryer can cause the fibers to shrink and become misshapen. Lay the item flat to dry on a clean, dry towel, shaping it to its original dimensions. 

If you must use a dryer, choose the lowest heat or tumble dry setting and remove the item while still slightly damp. Whirlpool® dryers' Air Only cycle features no heat option.

How do you wash crochet items?

Crochet items can be delicate, so it’s important to wash them with care. To wash crochet items, fill a sink or basin with cool water and add a gentle detergent. Gently massage or swirl the item in the water and soak, then rinse thoroughly. 

Avoid wringing or twisting the item, instead gently squeeze out the excess water. Lay the item flat on a towel and roll it up to absorb excess moisture, then reshape and lay flat to dry. Follow any additional care instructions on the label to learn how to wash crochet items properly. Remember to always test a small, inconspicuous area first.

Whirlpool® dryer with Advanced Moisture Sensing helps you dry delicate items by using low heat settings and sensors to monitor the moisture levels and temperatures during the drying process.

How to hand wash knitwear?

To hand wash knitwear, fill a sink or basin with cool water and a mild detergent. Submerge the item and gently massage or swirl it for a few minutes. Rinse with cool water and gently press out excess water.

Avoid wringing or twisting the fabric. Roll the item in a towel to remove remaining water, then lay flat to air dry.

Black and white Whirlpool washer with washing knits Black and white Whirlpool washer with washing knits

Tips for washing hand knitted items

When it comes to washing hand-knitted items, there are several tips to keep in mind. 

  • Determine what type of fabric your item is made of to properly care for it. 

  • When treating stains, avoid using hot water as it can damage the fibers. For repairing hand-knit items, consider using a needle and thread to fix any loose or pulled threads. 

  • Avoid washing hand-knit items too frequently, as this can cause wear and tear. Wearing a cotton shirt underneath can help reduce the amount of contact with body oils and using a clothing refresher spray can help keep knit items fresh between washes.

Tips for storing hand knitted items

Proper storage is essential for keeping hand-knitted items in good condition. 

  • Before storing, make sure the items are clean and completely dry. 

  • Hand-knits should be folded and not hung to avoid stretching. 

  • If storing for a longer period of time, place them in a linen or cotton storage bag to protect them from dust and insects. 

  • It’s also a good idea to store them in a cool, dry place to prevent moisture buildup.

Shop Whirlpool® washers and dryers

Whirlpool brand offers a wide range of washers and dryers that are designed to meet your laundry needs. With features like Intuitive Controls and Adaptive Wash Technology on select models, Whirlpool® washers help you give your family’s laundry optimal care. Shop now and discover the right laundry solution for your home.

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1. Swash® and the recommending brands are owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.