How to Clean Felt

So you need to clean your felt fabric items, and you are unsure where or how to begin? Don’t sweat it; we’ve got your back. Felts need customized attention, not like other fabrics; proper care is needed if you want to ensure their durability. So today, we’ll be telling you all about how to clean felt.

Certain general guidelines are followed; you’ll avoid your felt becoming damaged by doing this. So if you make sure you take special care during the cleaning process, you can rest assured your felt fabric items stay in top conditions for as long as possible.

Whether your felt has become dirtied with dry debris or you’re working to remove spills and stains, these special cleaning measures need to be taken to ensure the longevity and safety of the fabric during the cleaning process. Now that you know how important it is to clean felt properly, let’s dive into the steps, tips, and tricks on cleaning felt. You might also be interested in reading how to clean faux leather!

How to Clean Felt & Felt FAQs

What is felt?

Felt is a nonwoven thick fabric made by compressing and felting different types of fibers using different techniques.

Can felt be washed?

With the passing of time and regular use, your felt goods will get dirty, so yes, you need to clean them properly, and washing can be done. That said, felt becomes very vulnerable when wet, and it needs special care during cleaning to avoid being damaged.

How is felt fabric made?

Felt fabric is made by compressing (natural or synthetic) fibers together, creating a textured cloth. The fibers are compressed using heat, moisture, and agitation. Felt types include beavers, meltons, doeskins, and velours.

Main types of felt?

There are two main types of felt:

Acrylic felt: It can be found in vivid colors and is very inexpensive and easily available. It does not shrink after washing. However, it is not as durable or strong.

Wool felt: Wool felt is made by layering carded and combed wool fibers at 90 degrees in thick layers and heat, soap, and agitation. It is the most durable and thicker because of its make and fibers. It also does not pill like the other felts. It is usually treated with lanolin to make it water-resistant and slightly antibacterial. As you may imagine, wool felt is expensive.

What to do if felt pills?

It is not typical of felt to pill; however, if it does, get yourself a com and direct it to problem areas, making sure you glide the com in the same direction.
This works best if you use the comb between wears to lint, fuzz, and hair. A cashmere brush is recommended because it helps the fabric to release natural oils that rejuvenate yarns.

Why does pilling occur?

Pilling is a direct result of friction; in other words, when you move, the more you wear an item, the more likely it is to pill. When wool fibers become loose, they form little balls or pills.

How to clean felt

Let’s imagine you wish to clean wool blankets, sweaters, jackets, etc., structured or have a lining as a blazer, coat, or suit typically would; then what you want to do is avoid a full wash and spot treats stains and odors instead. Follow the next steps to spot-treat stains and odors on your woolen:

  1. Wet your wash bar of choice with cool water and gently work into affected areas.
  2. Remove excess soap with a lint-free cloth.
  3. Continue dampening the cloth with cool water as needed, and repeat the process until the stain is gone.
  4. Felt shouldn’t be placed in the dryer, so what you want to do is finish with steaming.

Handwashing method

1. Fill a washbasin or sink with cold water.
2. Add 2 capfuls to your preferred wool shampoo or bar to the sink.
3. Submerge the item and gently agitate the water with your hands to evenly distribute soap.
4. Leave the items soaking for up to 30 minutes.
5. Rinse well by running cool water through the item, ensuring the water is no longer soapy.

How to dry felt after handwashing?

Very important! Do not wring, here is what you need to do:

1. Once the item is washed, press the water out of the item.
2. If there is color in the water, it’s ok. The felt is simply releasing excess dye.
3. Ideally, you shouldn’t notice any loss of color after the wash is complete.
4. Lay the items flat, allowing them to stay in their natural shape and air-dry.

Machine washing method

If you must machine wash after spot treating, here is what you do:

1. Turn the item inside and place it in a mesh washing bag.
2. Select the woolens or delicate cycle on the washing machine.
3. Make sure the water temperature is cold
4. Check the spin is on low.
5. Keeping in mind the machine and load size, add the right amount of soap.

How to dry felt after the Machine washing method?

1. Remember not to put your items in the dryer.
2. Lay them flat on a drying rack or clean towel.
3. If you want to make the process faster, roll it up in the towel to remove excess water once the item is on a clean towel.
4. To remove wrinkles, steaming is highly recommended for the best and safest finish.

How to store felt

If you want to avoid distorting your items as they may be stretched, make sure you fold your knit items and store them that way.
On the other hand, if you are dealing with heavier items like suits and jackets, these should be stored using a solid structured hanger.
As a gold rule, you always want to make sure your items are stored clean because wool is prone to damage from insects. If you want to take it up a notch, you can invest in a breathable cotton bag and store your items there. This will also be helpful to prevent a moth infestation. Whatever you do, do not store items in a plastic bag since plastic gives way to yellowing and may trap moisture.

Tips on how to clean felt

  • Whether hand or machine washing wool, always pretreat stains first.
  • To remove odors from wool, presoak the item for 30 minutes in cool water mixed with ¼ cup of scented vinegar.
  • Handwashing is always the best, and safest method for washing felt blankets and other items.
  • Felt is sensitive to water temperature and agitation, and it can shrink if not treated properly.
  • If using the washing machine, remember to remove your items promptly from the washing machine to reduce creasing. Avoid direct sunlight and heat sources when drying your felt items because they can yellow, shrink, or damage woolens.
  • Do not hang wet woolens.
  • If ironing, get your item inside out and use the lowest temperature setting and iron. A pressing cloth between the iron and item it’s a good idea.
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