How to clean felt

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How do you clean felt? In this article we tell you everything you need to know about how to clean felt – Can you put felt in the washing machine? Can you wash felt in warm water? Can you put felt in the dryer? We answer all of these questions and more. 

In order to determine how to wash felt, it is useful to be aware of all of the possible ways that washing felt can go wrong. Here are the main concerns you have to keep in mind when cleaning felt. First, felt is prone to shrinking when exposed to warm temperatures so you have to be very careful to wash it in cold temperatures. Second, felt garments that have a lot of structure such as felt shirts and felt sweaters are prone to becoming misshapen when they are exposed to warm temperatures and water. Lastly, felt garments often bleed dye when they are exposed to warm temperatures.  

How to clean felt: Use a fabric brush or delicates brush to remove debris from felt when possible. Spot treat felt when possible. Exposing felt to excessive moisture can cause it to lose its shape or bleed dye. Hand wash felt in cold water. Do not put it in the washing machine or dryer. Wash your hands before handling felt garments to avoid getting oils from your hands on them.

How do you clean felt?

Felt is a material that is made by matting and compressing fibers together. Historically, felt used to be made of wool but modern day felt is often made with synthetic fibers or a blend of wool and synthetic fibers. Heat and moisture are used to help interlock the fibers in felt and pack the fibers together. Naturally, this means the heat and mixture can also degrade felt garments and pull the fibers apart.

So how do you clean felt? Here are some of our best tips for cleaning felt. 

  • Spot clean felt when possible. Only clean the full felt garment when the entire garment is dirty. 
  • Use a clothes brush or delicates brush to remove dirt from the surface of the felt. You are better off using a fabric brush to wash debris off of felt rather than washing it with water in most cases. 
  • Felt should be hand washed. Most felt garments are too delicate to be washed in the washing machine. 
  • Always use cold water when washing felt. Felt is prone to shrinking when exposed to warm water. The dye in felt garments also often bleeds when it is exposed to high temperatures.
  • Only use delicate detergents like woolite to wash felt. 
  • Never put felt in the dryer. Even the coolest setting on the dryer is too warm for felt.   
  • If your felt garment has an oil based stain on it you can apply baking soda or baby powder and leave the substance to soak up the oil for a little bit. 
  • Always wash felt garments separately from garments with lots of zippers or velcro patches that are likely to snag on the felt and pull up its fibers. 
  • Use a fabric shaver or a small pair of scissors to cut off any balls of lint that collect on the surface of the felt. 
  • Always follow the care instructions that come with the garment. Some kinds of felt stand up better to cleaning than others. 
  • If you are looking for specific instructions on how to clean a felt hat, we have an article on that too!

Can you put felt in the washing machine?

Can you put felt in the washing machine? Felt should never be put in the washing machine. Felt is a very delicate fabric that is prone to both shrinking and losing its shape. Felt is more likely to shrink and lose its shape if it is getting tossed around in the washing machine. You are best off washing felt by hand. 

Can you use laundry detergent on felt?

Can you use laundry detergent on felt? You should stick to using water or a dry fabric brush to clean felt unless there is a strain that requires a stronger solution. If you have a stain or if your felt is visibly dirty then you can use a laundry detergent but be sure to use a very gentle laundry detergent like woolite. 

Can you wash felt in warm water

Can you wash felt in warm water? You should never wash felt in warm water. Felt is very prone to shrinking, especially when it is exposed to warm water. Felt will also often bleed dye when it is washed in warm temperatures. You should always wash felt in as cold water as possible. 

Can you put felt in the dryer?

Can you put felt in the dryer? No you should not put felt in the dryer. It is much too warm for felt even on the coolest setting of the dryer. If you put felt in the dryer it will shrink and lose its shape. You should air dry felt in a cool, dry area. If you are washing a structured felt garment such as a shirt or a sweater you should lay the garment flat to dry rather than hanging it up.

Other tips for handling felt garments

  • Felt is very absorbent and absorbs oils easily if it comes in contact with oil. Make sure to wash your hands before handling your felt garments so you do not transfer oils onto the garments. 
  • If you have an oil based stain in your felt you can apply a baby powder or baking soda to the stain to absorb some of the oil. You are best off using baking soda but you can see other substances that absorb oil stains here.

How to clean other fabrics


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