Does Chenille Shrink? How to Wash Chenille Blanket or Sofa

Chenille is a popular fabric. The reason it is so popular is that its look changes almost every time the light hits it from a different direction, it changes its color or looks. That makes this a very interesting fabric to work with in your next sewing project.

Does chenille shrink? Yes, chenille fabric will shrink on you if you are not careful. Hand washing is the best method to use as is hang drying. For sofas and other pieces of furniture, a simple spot cleaning will suffice and make sure your fabric looks good again.

To learn more about chenille fabric, just continue to read our article. it has the important information you need to know about so you can care for your chenille items in a better fashion. Take a few minutes to get up to speed on this fabric.

Does Chenille Shrink?

Yes, chenille can and it can shrink when you least expect it. This is one of those fabrics that should be dry cleaned only because of its ability to shrink whether it is wet or heated. But that is mostly for clothing items made from this material.

One reason this fuzzy material shrinks is because it can be made from cotton, silk, wool, rayon, and other fabrics that shrink naturally. But that shrinking ability does not seem to be present when the material is used for sofas, chairs, and other home decor items.

Of course, to clean those home decor items, you only need to do spot cleaning which should protect the fabric from shrinking. The word Chenille is a French word for caterpillar and it looks like a fuzzy caterpillar when it is in its best original state.

Also, the fabric has not been around that long, as it was first invented in the 18th century by twisting 2 warp threads over a weft thread.

Does Chenille Shrink When Washed?


There is no escaping the shrink factor when you are using modern appliances to clean your new fabric. The washing machine will definitely shrink your chenille fabric if it is not placed on the delicate cycle and even then it may still lose its size.

The danger in washing this material is that if it doesn’t shrink, it may stretch on you. So it is best to dry clean this fabric or wash it by hand in cold water. The hottest the water can get is warm and any cycle above gentle or delicate on your washing machine should be avoided.

Washing by hand may take a little more time but it is always the safest method to use when you are wearing delicate fabrics that are a bit touchy as to how they get clean. Never wash a chenille sweater as that action may compromise the softness of the material.

Does Chenille Shrink in the Dryer?

Again, chenille can shrink in the dryer. It seems that just about every cleaning option is not safe from the shrinking ability this fabric has. At least that is what it seems. You still have dry cleaning and drying as well as letting the material air dry.

But even if you do air dry it, the experts say that you should not hang the material, as that would cause some stretching to take place, but let it lay flat as it dries. Some experts also say that you can use your dryer set to a warm or no heat level and again go with a delicate or gentle cycle.

Finicky fabrics like Chenille tend to make laundry time dreary and full of frustration as one has to remember all the different settings to use for all the different materials one own.

Can You Shrink Chenille?

As you already know, this is a possibility and an easy feat to do. It seems that if you look at this material wrong, it will shrink on you. Chenille is a very delicate material and that is understandable as it is made from delicate fibers from other fabrics.

Cotton, rayon, wool, and silk are all known to shrink somewhat if you are not careful. Since those fibers are used to make this material, expect it to shrink quite easily. The wrong water temperature, the wrong dryer heat setting and you are passing the clothing item or bedspread on to the next generation or donating it to your local thrift store.

Then if the shrink factor doesn’t get you the stretch factor may if you try to air dry the material the wrong way. It looks like a person is in a no-win situation with this fabric.

How to Shrink a Chenille Sweater


The easiest answer is to wash it in hot water and then dry it with the dryer set to a high heat level. Heat is not the friend of this fabric and you should be cautious when you are even using warm water.

Do not hang dry the material as that will not shrink the fabric but allow it to stretch out and get larger. You can also hand wash the fabric in hot water and then dry it in your dryer at a high temperature.

Shrinking the material is not going to be one of your hardest tasks. But like we have said for other materials you want to shrink, you can’t control how much size you will lose. Your results will depend on the material alone.

Don’t be surprised if there is too little shrinkage or too much. You will get what you get and nothing can be done about it.

How to Shrink Chenille Yarn

The way to shrink chenille yarn would be to wash it in hot water and if that hasn’t shrunk the yarn enough, place it in the dryer and turn the heat up. Your yarn should be a lot smaller once you have done that.

Because there is no way to control the amount of shrinkage no matter which method you use, there is no one best way to shrink chenille yarn. No matter which method you use you are taking your chances and have to hope that it does not lose too much size.

You can try using other heat sources to see if you get the amount of shrinkage you want but those other heat sources may be too time-consuming and you have to stay in one spot for a lengthy period.

Is Chenille Easy to Clean?

It can be if you follow the care instructions correctly. Keep the water temperature down and avoid the dryer and you should be okay. It may take a little longer to wash your chenille fabrics but at least they will be clean.

When you have chenille material on your sofa or chairs, it is even easier to clean as you can get away with simply spot cleaning. You can pretreat the fabric to get rid of any hard to remove stains but be careful in the type of spot cleaners you use.

A little presoaking will handle those hard stains and when the cloth is ready to be washed, the material should come out cleaner when the cycle is over. Just make sure to rinse with cool to cold water to avoid any hassles that come with heated water.

Turning the fabric inside out, if you can, will also help protect the fibers, the look and still allow for the material to get clean.

Can You Wash Chenille?


Yes, it is possible to wash chenille fabrics. The best way to do this is to simply hand wash any clothing or other chenille items in cool to cold water. That should protect them from losing their size.

The difficulty in handwashing will be in getting the excess moisture out so the fabric can dry properly and quickly. Some experts say to simply use towels to dry the fabric and then let the materials air dry after the excess is gone.

To be on the safest and best side when it comes to cleaning this material is to take it to your dry cleaners. They know how to handle this material and should even get out those hard to remove stains you have struggled over.

When you do not have time, let the professionals do it for you. You save some anxiety and are free to take care of other errands.

What Happens if You Wash Chenille?

The good news is that nothing will happen and your clothes will come out nice and clean without fading or other laundry ills. When you follow the care instructions correctly that should be the normal results you will get.

However, if you don’t follow the care instructions properly, then you may end up with clothes that no longer fit. They may be too large or too small depending on if you hung dried the items or used heated water to clean them.

Your results will differ as every situation is not the same. Then the type of detergent you use, if you use bleach or not, and other factors may play a role in how the result will look.

The only way to get sure results is to hand wash using a mild soap and no bleach products. Also, you should use cold or cool water when washing. That way you will know that almost every result will produce clean clothes that remained the same size as they went into the laundry basket.

Does Chenille Wash Well?

Yes and no. It can wash well if you follow the instructions and do not alter them in any way. Then those chenille-covered sofas, and chairs, rugs, bedding, etc., also wash extremely well if you are careful.

Those latter items only need some spot cleaning and they should be ready for the next round of use. It shouldn’t take too long to get the dirt and stains out of your sofa, etc., when you clean those heavier items.

On your sofas, etc., you will have to use a little more time and possibly different cleansers to get all the soap out. But once you are done and let the items dry you should be rewarded with a nice-looking chair, etc.

A little elbow grease never hurts anyone and that doesn’t hinder the washing of this material. So you can say that yes chenille doe swash well in a variety of forms if you are careful.

How to Wash a Chenille Sweater


One of the first things you do when your chenille sweater gets dirty is to avoid the washing machine. While it is tempting to use that appliance it is also a tool that will harm the softness of your sweater and possibly shrink it.

The good news is that you can hand wash the item and make sure it doesn't shrink or stretch on you. Lay it flat on some towels to dry. If by chance the sweater does shrink on you, you can always stretch it out again if you are careful.

Plus, you can shrink the sweater quite easily if by chance it does stretch too far on you. Use cold to cool water when washing, be gentle with your hands, and use a mild soap. Then place it in between some towels to dry or use cool or no heat on your dryer.

How to Wash a Chenille Blanket

To start, you need to set your washing machine to delicate. The reason for this is that the friction can make the blanket shed some of its fibers. Once you have the right setting add some mild laundry soap and no bleach. Then let the washer handle the rest.

Or if you want, you can hand wash the blanket, again, using mild soap and no bleach. Then watch the amount of friction you use as even your hands can remove some of the fibers. Rinse with cold water and gently wring the excess moisture out.

To dry the blanket, you can hang dry it and do this if your dryer does not have a delicate cycle. if it does then use that setting and let the dryer handle the chore. Be careful of the amount of friction your dryer gives this material as it does shed quite easily.

It may be best to put the blanket in a pillowcase to protect it. The pillowcase should reduce any friction in your appliances.

Does Chenille Pill?

If you consider shedding the same as pilling, then expect the material to pill when it is washed. It will happen and the amount of pilling that takes place will depend on how tightly woven or loosely woven the fabric is.

Also, it will depend on the fibers used. If the fibers used do not normally pill, then do not expect to see any pilling. Or at least expect to see a little pilling. With the fibers woven as they are and all the fluffiness that comes with this fabric, it is a sure bet it will pill.

A good fabric shaver should solve the problem and return the material to its original good looks as soon as it can. Or you can hand wash the material to see if that will stop any pilling from taking place.

Chenille fabric will require a little extra effort on your part to care for it properly and have it last a long time.

How to Clean a Chenille Sofa


Because of the tufted nature of the fabric, it may be a little difficult to get your sofa nice and clean again. But there is a low moisture method that should work on those easy to remove stains.

The first step is to choose a furniture cleaner that is designed for hand washing. Avoid those cleaners that need a steam cleaner to get the dirt out. Then mix the cleaner in cool water.

Just dampen the cloth, sponge, or baby hairbrush but pick up some suds to help the cleaning go smoother. Lightly apply the soap being gentle and use some light rubbing.

Once that is done, take a clean soft, towel and blot the area. If the stain or dirt remains, just rep[eat the cleaning method till they are gone. Once you are done, let the cushions stand till they are dry and keep kids and pets away until the fabric is fully dry.

Some Final Words

Delicate and fussy fabrics are not wrong and they are okay to have in your wardrobe or home as long as you are willing to put the extra time in to clean them. It takes some time and effort to keep the material clean and avoid the shrinking factor at the same time.

But the time and effort are worth it when the fabric looks as good as chenille does when it is clean.

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