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Solved! How to Wash Chenille in 12 Easy Steps

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The luxurious appeal of chenille makes the material popular for a wide range of items such as throw blankets, upholstery, and clothing. The name of the fabric comes from the French word for caterpillar. It’s easy to see the connection considering the characteristic fuzzy yarn of chenille that resembles the texture of furry caterpillars. Aside from its textural appeal, chenille is also a stylish fabric type thanks to its iridescent shine.




Due to the delicate nature of the material, you need to be careful when using conventional cleaning methods on chenille. The agitation of machine washing can be quite damaging to chenille fibers. For this reason, it’s usually best to stick exclusively to manual cleaning ways for most items that are made using chenille. Take a look at these reliable methods with easy-to-follow steps if you want to wash chenille correctly.



1. Spot Treatment

Chenille Material



1.1. Absorb the Excess Liquid From the Stain

If you only need to deal with a particular stain on chenille, it’s recommended to go for a spot treatment instead of a full wash process. As always, it’s ideal to eliminate stains when they’re fresh. You should act fast once the spill happens to absorb most of the stain with the help of a material like a paper towel.




Compared to other fabrics, chenille is particularly absorbent making it quite difficult to clean the stain at a later time. Dab the paper towel and try to lift up as much of the stain as possible right after it happens. Pay attention to avoid rubbing the stain in even further.



1.2. Apply a Stain Remover

Next, it’s time to use a reliable stain remover product that’s safe to use on gentle fabrics like chenille. Here’s a great product on Amazon. Removing the stain is fairly easy from this point as you simply need to follow the instructions of your chosen cleaner. The typical process involves saturating the stain thoroughly and allowing the spot treatment to do its job for around 10 to 15 minutes.



1.3. Blot the Area With a Dry Towel

Finally, once the solution has properly soaked up the stain, you need to absorb it with a dry towel. Check the cleaning results and repeat the process if necessary.



2. Hand Washing

Hand Washing Chenille



2.1. Prepare the Water Basin

Washing the chenille throw blanket or clothing piece by hand represents a solid solution to clean this type of material safely. Start by filling a basin of water large enough to accommodate the chenille item that you plan to wash. Add approximately one tablespoon of detergent to the water. Make sure you select a special detergent formulated for delicates. Check out this great product.



2.2. Submerge and Move Around the Chenille Piece

The chenille piece needs to be submerged in the water basin. Pay attention to how you’re moving around each part of the item to ensure that all the fibers get properly saturated with the detergent water. Remember that you’re washing a gentle type of fabric so avoid rubbing or any other kind of excessive force. If you’re dealing with a particularly dirty chenille piece, try letting it soak for a longer time in the basin.



2.3. Gently Squeeze the Item

After you feel satisfied with the soaking process, it’s time to remove the chenille item from the water basin. It’s important to squeeze out all the excess water but without wringing because you might damage the fabric. You shouldn’t worry too much if you can’t seem to squeeze all the moisture properly out of the chenille piece. The next step involves submerging the item in clean water anyway.



2.4. Rinse the Chenille Fabric

Rinsing is a critical step because you have to get all the suds out together with any leftover dirty water from the washing. Using a different basin with clean water is recommended for this purpose but it may not be enough. Consider rinsing the chenille piece directly under running water as well. Squeeze the item from time to time during the process to ensure that soapy water is replaced by clean water.



2.5. Dry the Chenille Piece

Even though you need to squeeze out as much water as possible after rinsing, it’s safe to say that excess moisture can still be a problem when dealing with such a delicate item. Place the chenille piece on a flat surface to press out any remaining water with the help of a dry towel. The idea is to let the towel absorb the moisture from the chenille fibers. Drying the chenille item fully can be done by spreading it out on another clean towel. Alternatively, you can also air dry it but this might cause stretching problems.



3. Machine Washing

Machine Washing Chenille



3.1. Put the Chenille Piece in the Washing Machine

Although it’s recommended to stick to manual cleaning methods, machine washing is worth trying to get the most efficient cleaning results. Keep in mind that lots of chenille items can lose their softness in the washing machine. Use your best judgment to figure out whether you want to go through with the process for a more expensive chenille piece. Put the item in a protective pillowcase when adding it to the washing machine to minimize the risk of friction damage.



3.2. Use Only the Delicate Cycle

Using anything but the most delicate cycle on your washing machine can have disastrous results when it comes to cleaning chenille. It’s particularly important because the fabric is easily ruined by regular cycle rinsing. The fact that a delicate cycle runs shorter can also help to prevent any damage during the washing process.



3.3. Add Mild Detergent

Regular detergent isn’t suitable for delicates such as chenille fabrics. Always use a mild detergent labeled to work gently on chenille.

3.4. Air Dry or Use a Low Heat Setting





After the washing is done, you should avoid using the dryer unless the appliance features a dedicated low-heat setting for delicates. Don’t take out the chenille piece from the case for additional protection. Although the dryer is convenient to use, there’s still a risk of damaging the fibers. It’s probably best to go for air drying just to be safe.

By Stefan Bucur

Stefan is the founder and owner of Rhythm of the Home. He has 6 years of experience in home improvement, interior design, cleaning and organizing.

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