Granny square throw -- how to clean?

JamieJune 14, 2013

Hello crocheters,

I have a granny square throw with sentimental value. I want to give it to my niece and I'd like to have it cleaned first. But I fear that cleaning it could make go out of square or develop curled corners.

It is very soft and floppy -- I have a feeling it is very high quality wool, but I can't really tell for sure. It is lightweight and kind of open in feel.

(Haha, now that I have looked closely at it and described it to you, I want to keep it. Forget my niece! My mom made it, and there's more yarn left and I even have the hook she used.)

I believe that "blocking" is something that you used to be able to have done at a good dry cleaner? I don't live near a "good" dry cleaner, and I don't even know if they practice this kind of art any more, or if that's what I need.

What is the recommended method to clean my throw without harming it?

If I have to have it professionally done, would you please tell me the right questions, or magic words to use to make sure it gets done right? I've had some really lousy experiences with dry cleaners in recent years.

I don't crochet or do much of anything beyond hemming with iron-on tape, but maybe I could do this myself? How?

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The first thing I would do is find out exactly what kind of yarn the afghan is made from. If you have a needleshop close to you take the afghan in and show it to them.

Since you have some of the same yarn you can call a shop and mail them a piece of the yarn with an inquiry. Most will respond if you call and talk to them first. I would be afraid to trust it to dry cleaning with out being able to tell them the exact materials used.

Post a pic and you may get more advice on how to crochet the pattern.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 2:25PM
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You have yarn, do a burn test. Take some ran and try to burn it.
This will tell what yarn it is made of. Once you know that you can know how to wash.

Acrylic...washer and dryer..nothing special
Wool/wool blend...hand wash, good soap to shampoo. NOT woo lite, it is too harsh. Put in cool..not cold water, gently swish. Let sit for about 15 minutes, swish again. Ring out ( can use delicate cycle of washer, but do not use hot water) lay on flat surface, stretch to proportions you want (block), air dry.


Here is a link that might be useful: Burn test

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 6:53PM
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Don't use baby shampoo - the pH is wrong for wool. Go to a yarn store and purchase some wool wash. It will clean better and rinse better.

This post was edited by aliceinwonderland_id on Sun, Jun 16, 13 at 13:49

    Bookmark   June 16, 2013 at 1:48PM
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(IMO) Wool wash is unnecessary (& I believe a rip off). I'd OK using liquid dish soap & cold water.

The issue here is not just the soap, it's also the agitation, I'm not a swisher, it's too much motion. I'd just dip & lift it out & rinse several times.

That burn chart maybe nice but it's way too complex. As a lifelong textile person & a recovering textile designer who went to Textile School, allow me to condense this into the short version.

I think the chart is too focused on smell; which can be both relative &/or subjective. I think it's relying too much on smell as indicator of surface application of chemicals (known as finishes, in the industry). Also, I've discovered over the yrs. that many people either have no sense of smell or a lousy one.

As a former (lifelong) smoker, one would think I'd have a bad sense of smell. In truth I had a great sense of smell before & now 5 yrs. after no tobacco, I'm like a gosh darn bloodhound; I smell EVERYTHING, not always what one wants.

if it smells of burning hair, it's a protein like wool or silk.

if it smells like burning paper, it's something like cotton, rayon or maybe linen (I forgot its smell).

ANY hard bead residue left over is at least partly synthetic (will cause it to burn to residue of bead).

ANY softer ash like residue is likely all natural & plant based at that (cotton, rayon, ramie or related blends).

Pls. be sure to do the burn test over an ash tray or the sink & perhaps use tweezers.

Anyway, I'd try the burn test first & then decide how to proceed.

Good for you deciding to keep the Afghan for yourself, especially if your Mom had made it (& you even have her hook)!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2013 at 1:10PM
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Why not dry clean it? I can see washing in the big washer, but drying would be line drying and I don't have any space for something that big to line dry. What can one do with big granny squares? It seems like they are uncleanable. How much does it cost to dry clean it?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 12:55PM
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I also have a granny square afghan that I bought many years ago for $5. at a garage sale. Its one big granny square. A man was selling it and he wanted to get rid of it so when he said $5. I gave him the money and ran to the car with it I love that afghan and my granddaughter and grandson have snuggled under it since they were young, now grown. It smells like long cabin syrup as they ate pancakes while they were wrapped up in it. I have often thought I should wash it too, but since I bought it at a garage sale I have no idea what type of yarn was used. Scraps I think. I love this afghan smell and all. It is so warm. Thank you to the special person whoever you are that made it.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 7:51AM
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If you have more of the yarn it was made from, does it have a label with washing instructions? That is where I would start.

Jamies and Grandmamary, for either one I would not be afraid to fill the washer with cool water and just let them soak for 15-20 minutes. Then set the washer to spin DO NOT adgitate! When the water is spun out carefully lift it from the washer and roll in white towels. Then step on it to get more moisture out while it's rolled up. Now unroll it and lay out on more white towels and smooth out to desired size. Let air dry away from sunlight.

If the water is really dirty after you let it soak let the water out and do it again. Just be careful when you lift it out of the washer as you do not want it to stretch.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 5:09PM
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Thanks for the washing advice. Will definitely give it a try.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 8:51PM
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Thanks for the washing advice. Will definitely give it a try.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2014 at 8:52PM
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