Hand knitted blankets can be a beautiful and cozy addition to any home. Whether they are heirlooms passed down through generations or handmade gifts from loved ones, these blankets require special care to keep them clean and in good condition. Improper washing techniques can damage the delicate fibers and cause the blanket to lose its shape or become misshapen. In this article, we will discuss the proper techniques for washing hand knitted blankets to ensure they stay soft, clean, and last for years to come.
Firstly, it is important to check the care instructions for your hand knitted blanket. Most handmade blankets will come with specific instructions on how to wash and care for them. Always follow these instructions as they are tailored to the specific type of yarn and knitting technique used. If there are no care instructions available, it is generally safe to wash the blanket by hand.
When washing a hand knitted blanket by hand, it is best to use a mild detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach as they can damage or discolor the yarn. Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water and add a small amount of the detergent. Gently submerge the blanket in the water and agitate it with your hands to distribute the detergent evenly. Let the blanket soak for about 15 minutes, then drain the water and refill the basin with clean water to rinse.
Drying the hand knitted blanket is just as important as washing it properly. After rinsing, gently press the excess water out of the blanket, being careful not to wring or twist it. Lay the blanket flat on a clean towel and roll it up, pressing on the towel to absorb more water. Unroll the towel and transfer the blanket to another clean, dry towel. Reshape the blanket to its original size and lay it flat to dry. Avoid hanging the blanket to dry, as this can cause it to stretch or lose its shape.
Importance of Washing Hand Knitted Blankets
Hand knitted blankets are cherished possessions that require special care and attention when it comes to cleaning. Proper washing techniques are essential to maintain the quality, look, and longevity of these blankets.
Here are some reasons why washing hand knitted blankets is important:
- Removing dirt and bacteria: Over time, hand knitted blankets can accumulate dust, dirt, and bacteria. Regular washing helps to remove these impurities, ensuring a clean and hygienic blanket.
- Preserving softness and fluffiness: Hand knitted blankets are known for their cozy and soft texture. Washing the blankets helps to maintain this softness, ensuring a comfortable and luxurious feel.
- Preventing odors: Frequently used hand knitted blankets can develop unpleasant odors. Washing the blankets helps to eliminate these odors and keeps them smelling fresh and clean.
- Preventing discoloration: Exposure to dust, dirt, and other environmental factors can cause hand knitted blankets to lose their vibrant colors. Regular washing helps to prevent discoloration, keeping the blankets looking beautiful and vibrant.
- Extending the lifespan: Proper washing techniques can help extend the lifespan of hand knitted blankets. By removing dirt, bacteria, and impurities, and preventing discoloration and damage, washing helps to keep the blankets in good condition for years to come.
It is important to note that hand knitted blankets require gentle washing techniques to avoid stretching, shrinking, or damaging the delicate fibers. Following the care instructions provided by the knitter or manufacturer is crucial to ensure the best possible outcome.
Overall, regular washing of hand knitted blankets is essential for maintaining their cleanliness, softness, and appearance. By following proper washing techniques, these cherished blankets can be enjoyed for years while maintaining their quality and beauty.
Why Regular Washing is Necessary
Regular washing is necessary for hand knitted blankets in order to maintain their cleanliness, quality, and durability.
While hand knitted blankets are made with love and care, they can easily accumulate dirt, dust, oils, and other particles over time. Regular washing helps to remove these accumulated substances and keeps the blanket fresh and comfortable.
Here are a few reasons why regular washing is necessary for hand knitted blankets:
- Maintain cleanliness: Regular washing removes dirt, sweat, and body oils that can accumulate on the surface of the blanket. This helps to maintain a clean and hygienic environment.
- Prevent odors: Washing removes any unpleasant odors that may develop over time. This is especially important if the blanket is used frequently or in contact with pets.
- Prolong lifespan: Regular washing helps to keep the fibers of the hand knitted blanket in good condition. By removing dirt and other particles, the blanket is less likely to experience damage or wear and tear.
- Preserve softness: Washing the blanket keeps the fibers soft and fluffy, providing a cozy and comfortable feel. Over time, blankets can become stiff and rough if not properly cleaned.
- Prevent discoloration: Regular washing helps to prevent discoloration of the hand knitted blanket. By removing stains and dirt, the blanket can maintain its original color and vibrancy.
It is important to follow proper washing techniques and use gentle detergents or wool wash to ensure the longevity of the hand knitted blanket.
Preservation of Knitted Blankets
Proper care and preservation of knitted blankets is essential to maintain their quality and prolong their lifespan. Here are some tips to preserve your cherished hand-knitted blankets:
- Store in a clean and dry place: It is important to store your knitted blankets in a clean and dry place to prevent the growth of mold or mildew. Avoid storing them in damp basements or attics.
- Avoid direct sunlight: Excessive exposure to sunlight can fade the colors of your knitted blankets. To prevent this, store them in a place where they are not exposed to direct sunlight.
- Avoid sharp objects: Keep your knitted blankets away from sharp objects that can snag or damage the delicate yarn. This includes keeping them away from pets with sharp claws.
- Use moth repellent: Moths can cause damage to knitted blankets by eating through the yarn. To protect your blankets, use moth repellents such as cedar chips or lavender sachets in your storage area.
- Keep blankets clean: Regularly clean your knitted blankets to remove dirt and oils that can accumulate over time. Follow the recommended washing instructions provided by the knitter or manufacturer.
- Use gentle detergents: When washing your knitted blankets, use a gentle detergent that is suitable for delicate fabrics. Avoid using harsh chemicals or bleach, as they can damage the yarn.
- Avoid excessive washing: Washing your knitted blankets too frequently can cause them to lose their shape and softness. Only wash them when necessary, and consider spot-cleaning small stains instead of washing the whole blanket.
- Handle with care: When handling your knitted blankets, be gentle to avoid stretching or pulling the delicate yarn. Avoid hanging them on sharp edges or hooks that can cause damage.
By following these preservation tips, you can ensure that your hand-knitted blankets remain beautiful and cozy for years to come.
Choosing the Right Detergent
When it comes to washing your hand-knitted blankets, choosing the right detergent is crucial to ensure proper care and maintenance. Here are some important factors to consider when selecting a detergent for your blankets:
- Gentle Formula: Look for a detergent that is specifically formulated for delicate fabrics and wool. Avoid harsh detergents that contain bleach or strong chemicals, as they can damage the fibers and cause fading or shrinkage.
- pH Neutral: Opt for a detergent with a pH-neutral or slightly acidic formula. This helps to maintain the natural pH balance of the wool fibers and prevents them from becoming weak or brittle.
- Wool-Safe: Make sure the detergent you choose is safe for use on wool fabrics. Check the label or product description to ensure that it is recommended for wool or other delicate fibers.
- Fragrance-Free: Avoid detergent with strong fragrances, as they can linger in the fibers and cause allergic reactions or irritation. Opt for fragrance-free or hypoallergenic options if you have sensitive skin.
- Test Before Use: It’s always a good idea to test a small, inconspicuous area of the blanket with the detergent before washing the entire piece. This will help you ensure that the detergent does not cause any adverse effects on the fabric.
Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the detergent and use the recommended amount. Avoid using too much detergent, as excess soap residue can be difficult to rinse out completely and may leave a sticky residue on the blanket.
By choosing the right detergent for your hand-knitted blankets, you can help preserve their softness, shape, and overall quality for years to come.
Step-by-Step Guide for Hand Washing
To properly wash your hand knitted blanket, follow these steps:
- Prepare the washing area: Find a clean and spacious area where you can comfortably wash the blanket.
- Fill a basin or sink with lukewarm water: Fill the basin or sink with enough lukewarm water to fully submerge the blanket.
- Add a gentle wool detergent: Add a small amount of gentle wool detergent to the water and mix well to create a soapy solution.
- Submerge the blanket: Gently place the blanket into the soapy water and ensure it is fully submerged.
- Hand wash: Gently agitate the blanket in the soapy water using your hands. Avoid rubbing or twisting the fabric too vigorously to prevent damage.
- Rinse the blanket: Drain the soapy water and refill the basin or sink with clean lukewarm water. Submerge the blanket again and gently squeeze it to remove excess detergent.
- Repeat the rinsing process: Repeat the rinsing process until the water runs clear and no more soap suds are present.
- Remove excess water: Gently press the blanket against the side of the basin or sink to remove excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting the fabric.
- Prepare a drying surface: Lay a clean towel or drying rack where you can place the blanket to dry.
- Transfer the blanket: Carefully transfer the blanket onto the drying surface, ensuring it is evenly spread out and not bunched up.
- Reshape if necessary: If the blanket has lost its shape during washing, gently reshape it to its original dimensions and smooth out any wrinkles or creases.
- Allow the blanket to air dry: Leave the blanket to air dry in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Turn the blanket occasionally to ensure even drying.
- Final touch-ups: Once the blanket is completely dry, give it a final gentle shake to remove any remaining stiffness or folds.
Following these step-by-step instructions will help ensure that your hand knitted blanket remains clean, soft, and in great condition for years to come.
Drying Techniques for Hand Knitted Blankets
After washing your hand knitted blanket, it is essential to properly dry it to ensure its longevity and maintain its shape. Here are some techniques for drying hand knitted blankets:
- Rolling in a towel: Lay a clean towel on a flat surface and place the washed blanket on top. Gently roll the blanket and towel together, applying gentle pressure to squeeze out excess water. Unroll the blanket and transfer it to a fresh dry towel, reshaping it as needed. Repeat the process with dry towels until most of the moisture is absorbed.
- Flat drying: Lay the washed blanket on a clean, flat surface such as a drying rack or clean towels. Gently reshape the blanket to its original dimensions, ensuring that it lies flat. Avoid hanging the blanket as this can stretch it out of shape.
- Blocking: For blankets that require additional shaping, such as lace patterns or cables, consider blocking. Wet the blanket, gently reshape it to the desired dimensions, and then pin it to a blocking board or mat. Leave it to air dry completely before removing the pins.
Regardless of the drying method chosen, it is important to avoid direct sunlight and heat sources such as radiators or tumble dryers, as they can cause the fibers to shrink or become damaged. It is also important to ensure that the blanket is completely dry before storing it to prevent mold or mildew.
By following these drying techniques, you can ensure that your hand knitted blanket retains its shape, softness, and beauty for years to come.
Preventing Shrinking and Stretching
When washing hand knitted blankets, it’s important to take extra care to prevent shrinking or stretching. Here are some proper techniques you can follow:
- Use cold water: Washing your knitted blankets in cold water helps prevent shrinkage. Hot water can cause the fibers to contract and shrink.
- Use gentle detergent: Choose a mild detergent specifically designed for delicate fabrics. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach, as they can damage the fibers.
- Hand wash or gentle cycle: Hand wash your blankets using a gentle kneading motion in the sink or use the delicate cycle on your washing machine. Be sure to follow the instructions on the care label for your specific blanket.
- Avoid excessive agitation: When washing by hand or using a washing machine, avoid excessive agitation, as it can cause stretching or warping of the knitted fabric.
- Don’t twist or wring: After washing, gently squeeze out excess water without twisting or wringing the blanket. Twisting can cause the fibers to stretch or warp.
- Dry flat: After removing excess water, lay the blanket flat on a clean, dry towel or a drying rack. Avoid hanging the blanket to dry, as it can cause stretching.
- Avoid direct sunlight: When drying, keep the blanket away from direct sunlight, as it can fade the colors and damage the fibers.
By following these techniques, you can ensure that your hand knitted blankets stay in great shape for a long time without shrinking or stretching. Remember to always read and follow the specific care instructions provided by the manufacturer for your blankets.
Softening Hand Knitted Blankets
Hand knitted blankets are known for their warmth and coziness. However, sometimes these blankets can be a bit stiff or rough to the touch. Fortunately, there are several techniques you can try to soften your hand knitted blankets and make them even more comfortable.
1. Soak in lukewarm water:
Start by filling a basin or sink with lukewarm water. Add a gentle wool detergent and mix well. Place your hand knitted blanket in the water and gently press it down to ensure it is fully submerged. Let the blanket soak for about 15-20 minutes.
2. Rinse with fabric softener:
After soaking, drain the water from the basin or sink. Fill it again with clean lukewarm water and add a small amount of fabric softener. Agitate the water gently to mix in the fabric softener. Submerge the blanket again and let it soak for another 5-10 minutes.
3. Press out excess water:
Remove the blanket from the water and gently squeeze out the excess water. Avoid wringing or twisting the blanket, as this can damage the fibers and affect the softness of the blanket. Instead, press the blanket against the side of the basin or sink to remove as much water as possible.
4. Block the blanket:
Lay a clean towel on a flat surface and place the damp hand knitted blanket on top. Gently shape the blanket to its desired dimensions, smoothing out any wrinkles or creases. Allow the blanket to air dry completely on the towel, flipping it over halfway through the drying process.
5. Store properly:
Once your hand knitted blanket is soft and dry, store it properly to maintain its softness. Fold the blanket neatly and place it in a cotton or linen storage bag. Avoid plastic bags, as they can trap moisture and lead to musty odors.
By following these simple steps, you can easily soften your hand knitted blankets and ensure they remain cozy and comfortable for years to come.
Storing Hand Knitted Blankets Properly
Properly storing hand knitted blankets is essential to maintain their quality and prevent damage. Follow these tips to ensure your blankets stay in the best possible condition:
- Clean the blankets: Before storing, make sure the blankets are clean. Follow the proper washing techniques mentioned in the previous section to remove any dirt or stains.
- Avoid direct sunlight: When selecting a storage location, avoid areas that receive direct sunlight. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can fade the colors of the blankets and cause them to lose their vibrancy.
- Use clean and dry storage containers: Choose storage containers that are clean, dry, and free from any pests or insects. Opt for plastic or fabric containers with lids that seal tightly to prevent any moisture or dust from entering.
- Avoid hanging: It’s best not to hang hand knitted blankets for long-term storage as they can stretch out of shape. Instead, fold the blankets neatly to minimize any creases or wrinkles.
- Add moth repellents: Moths can be a common problem when storing hand knitted blankets. To prevent moth damage, add natural moth repellents such as lavender sachets or cedar balls to the storage containers.
- Avoid storing with other fabrics: Store hand knitted blankets separately from other fabrics, especially those that are heavily scented or prone to shedding. This will prevent any unwanted odors or fibers from transferring onto the blankets.
- Label and rotate: If you have a collection of hand knitted blankets, it’s helpful to label each container with the contents or the specific blanket. Additionally, consider rotating the blankets every few months to prevent any uneven wear or damage.
- Check periodically: Occasionally check on your stored hand knitted blankets to ensure they are still in good condition. Look for any signs of pests, moisture, or damage that may require immediate attention.
By following these proper storing techniques, you can preserve the quality and longevity of your hand knitted blankets for many years to come.
How often should I wash my hand knitted blanket?
It is recommended to wash your hand knitted blanket every few months, or whenever it becomes visibly dirty or starts to smell.
Can I machine wash my hand knitted blanket?
No, it is not recommended to machine wash hand knitted blankets, as it can cause them to stretch, shrink, or lose their shape.
What is the best way to wash a hand knitted blanket?
The best way to wash a hand knitted blanket is to fill a tub or basin with lukewarm water and a gentle wool detergent. Gently submerge the blanket in the water, agitate it gently, and then rinse it thoroughly. After that, gently squeeze out the excess water and lay it flat to dry.
Can I use fabric softener when washing a hand knitted blanket?
No, it is not recommended to use fabric softener when washing a hand knitted blanket, as it can leave a residue on the fibers and affect their softness and texture.