How to Wash Afghan Blankets In Washing Machine?

Afghan blankets should be washed, preferably in a front load or HE (High-Efficiency) washing machine.

Washers using spindles or central agitators can stretch the blanket’s fabric.

In order to wash an Afghan blanket, make sure to set your washer to run on a delicate or wool cycle and always use mild detergent (non-bleach) and cold water settings.

You can use an extra rinse cycle to remove excess suds from the blanket fibers and lay them flat to air dry naturally.

Key InformationDetails
Check the Stitches– Inspect for weak stitches or fiber splitting.
– Fasten loose stitches before washing.
Choosing the Right Washing Method– Hand wash in a tub with cool water and mild detergent.
– Repeat soaking and rinsing until water runs clear.
– Avoid machine washing to prevent fiber stress.
Skip the Oxyclean– Oxyclean can break down acrylic fibers; avoid as a soak.
Water Temperature– Try using tepid water, neither too hot nor too cold.
Drying Techniques– Roll Afghan in towels, step on to absorb excess water.
– Lay flat on dry towels, use a fan for faster drying.
Fabric Softener Consideration– Optionally use fabric softener in the last rinse for added softness (It’s best to stay away if possible).

Key Takeaways

  • Afghan blankets are hand-woven pieces of body wrappers. They are also available in the form of scarves and shawls (small blankets).
  • You will have to treat them just as you would treat a delicate piece of fabric and wash them with the utmost care.
  • You should always wash them in cold water and use a mild detergent suitable for colorful and delicate fabrics.
  • Afghan blankets made out of synthetic materials like cotton or acrylic can be machine washed, whereas ones that are made using natural materials should be hand washed.
  • Read the care label carefully to figure out the right washing approach.

What is an Afghan blanket?

Afghan blankets are usually crocheted blankets woven by hand and are commonly made out of fabric materials such as polyester, cotton, acrylic, or wool. These blankets contain knitted cells or pores and can keep you warmer in cold conditions.

Afghan blankets are quite popular in the form of shawls, which are smaller blankets used to wrap your body for warmth as you walk in a cold climate.

One of the hallmarks of Afghan blankets is the hand-woven fabric that comes in a variety of colors in one piece.

They are also very special because they have beautiful designs carved into them.

Motif Afghans are the most versatile type of popular blanket and can also be found as shawls or scarves.

This particular design is made by weaving multiple square-shaped blocks of different colored yarns or textures and is later joined together along with a fine surrounded border.

How to wash Afghan blankets in a washing machine?

Instructions to machine wash afghan blankets

Of all the fabric types, you should include Afghan blankets woven with synthetic materials, cotton, or acrylic for machine washing.

Note: Do not forget to check their care labels for special washing instructions, if any.

Let us quickly pretreat if required to remove excess dirt or mold and mildew formation.

Instructions to Machine Wash an Afghan Blanket

Step 1: Pre-treat for excess dirt

Soaking these blankets in water easily removes and loosens any excess dirt from their knitted surfaces.

  • Fill a sink with water and add a mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrics.
  • You can add half a cup of vinegar to the solution.
  • Soak the blanket for 15 minutes. 
  • Swirl the blanket around the sink using your hands in a gentle manner.
  • Put them in the washer after giving them a clean water rinse.

Step 2: Load the blanket

Place the Aghan blanket in the washing machine (try not to mix any other load).

Do not include any garment that contains hooks, zippers, or any hard objects during the wash.

Even buttons can easily get caught in the pores of the blanket and lead to stretching or tearing.

Step 3: Mild detergent for delicates and cold water setting

Do not choose a detergent or any other chemically formulated solutions or bleaching compounds that can be harsh and cause color fading.

Instead, use a mild detergent suitable for delicate fabrics or a Plant-based natural detergent.

Now set your washer to cold water settings.

Step 4: Use the delicate cycle

Most washers include a cycle for woolen or silk fabrics, you can simply choose this cycle.

If your washer does not have one, use delicate, handwash, or gentle cycle settings.

Step 5: Select a short duration

Afghan blankets can be washed in a shorter time; hence, you can select a shorter duration for washing.

So, the less time your blanket spends in a washing machine, the better.

Step 6: Low Spin and extra rinse

It is always better to set low spin speed (RPM) settings for hand-woven knitted fabrics such as Afghan blankets.

You can use the extra rinse cycle to get rid of excess suds from the blanket.

Step 7: Hit the start button or run the wash cycle

Once you have selected the right washing machine settings it’s time to hit that start button and let the washer complete the wash cycle.

Step 8: Drying process

Once the wash cycle completes, gently shake the blanket to remove excess water, or you can lay them on a large towel to soak them for quick drying.

For air drying, you can spread them over a drying rack or hang them over a clothesline evenly.

If possible, use soft padded clips to secure them over the clothesline.

Flip the blanket to the other side after the exposed surface dries.

Do not expose them to direct sunlight for drying; instead, use a shaded space.

How to hand wash Afghan blankets?

Afghan blankets made using natural fibers should be hand washed as a preferred method.

  • Fill a large container with cold water – You can use a sink, basin, bucket, or bowl that can accommodate the blanket.
  • Next, add mild liquid detergent and let it mix with water.
  • Place the blanket alone and let it submerge in the solution.
  • Swirl and swish the blanket in a gentle manner for a minute or so.
  • Leave it to settle for about 20 minutes and give it a final swirl and swish as a part of gentle agitation.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water and hang them on a clothesline for air drying.

Note: If your blanket needs sanitation, you can always use a liquid disinfectant like Lysol or Dettol.

How to remove the musty smell from Afghan blankets?

A foul odor from an Afghan blanket is quite common if you leave it in a damp state for long enough.

There is always a possibility of mold and mildew formation on the knitted surface if it does not dry completely.

To remove the musty smell from the blankets, you can choose the pre-treating method.

  • Fill a container with warm water and add a mild detergent to it.
  • Add half a cup of distilled white vinegar or liquid disinfectant like Dettol and mix it well.
  • Next, put the blanket in the container or sink and let it soak in the solution for 10 minutes.
  • Swirl it gently with your hands for a while and let it settle for another 20 minutes.
  • Then, rinse it thoroughly with clean water before you put it to air dry naturally.

Note: Squeeze gently to remove excess water and, if possible, use towel wrapping to soak up excess water.

For drying, you can lay them flat over a clean and dry surface, which may be a towel or carpet.

Flip them over to evenly dry from either side and make sure the blankets are completely dried before storing them away.

Which is better hand washing or machine washing afghan blankets?

Hand-washing with a gentle detergent and cold water is the recommended technique for cleaning crochet items. If using a washing machine, choose a front-load washer without a center agitator to prevent stretching and damage.

Final Thoughts

Afghan blankets are delicate and need special care, especially during washing.

To be on the safe side, always wash your machine-washable Afghan blankets in cold water and on a delicate cycle, no matter what material they are made of.

Furthermore, it is best not to wash these blankets with non-suitable garments, especially those that you wear on a daily basis.

Lastly, choose the desired washing method depending on the fabric (read the care label). Doing this will help to prolong their lives and keep them in good shape in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use synthetic shampoo to wash Afghan blankets?

Simply use a liquid detergent suitable for delicates or you can use a natural detergent during the wash. Natural detergents are plant-based and do not include artificial chemical properties.

Should I dry the Afghan blanket in a clothes dryer?

Heat settings may not be the ideal way to dry the hand-woven Afghan blankets, and the washer itself uses a spin cycle that should be more than enough. Air drying these types of blankets naturally should be considered as the final drying process.

Can I use fabric softener for Afghan blankets?

If the care label suggests it, then you can simply use a fabric softener suitable for the material type.

Can you wash a crocheted afghan in the washing machine?

In most cases, you can machine-wash the crocheted Afghan blankets. However, it is advisable to read the care label first before deciding to wash your blanket. Use the delicate or gentle cycle along with cold water and low spin settings.

Can you dry clean an Afghan blanket?

Yes, Afghan blankets can be dry cleaned as well as hand washed or machine washed depending on the instructions on the care label.

What is the best drying method to retain shape and prevent shrinkage in Afghan blanket?

Gently press out excess water by rolling the afghan in a towel. Lay it flat to air-dry, avoiding heat or hanging to prevent shrinkage.

Should I wash afghan blankets separately or with other items?

Wash afghan blankets separately to prevent damage to yarn, patterns, or colors. Washing with other items may cause tangling, pilling, or color bleeding.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)