Acrylic is a synthetic fibre so it will not shrink or felt when washed, unlike natural fibres such as wool. However, acrylic may stretch when washed, especially in very hot water. Items made with acrylic thread do not require the same special handling as items containing wool.
Read the care label on the ball of acrylic thread or acrylic garment. Determine if your thread is 100% acrylic or a wool blend. If the thread contains wool or another type of natural fibre, read the washing instructions. Some wool blends are machine washable, while others require hand washing cold water.
Prepare your thread or garment for washing. If you need to wash thread that has not yet been knitted or crocheted, do not try to wash the entire ball. Instead, wind the thread around the back of a chair or around a laundry basket to make a skein of thread. Tie the skein in several places to keep the thread from tangling. If washing fabric made from acrylic, remove any stitch markers or safety pins, zip up any zippers and close any buttons.
Fill the sink or bowl with warm water and add a small amount of washing powder. Add the acrylic thread or fabric to the warm water. Allow it to soak for a few minutes, then drain the water out of the sink or bowl and gently squeeze the excess water out of the thread or fabric. Refill your sink or bowl with fresh warm water and soak the thread in it for four minutes to rinse out the washing powder. Drain the rinse water and gently squeeze the excess water out of the thread. Do not wring the thread as this may cause it to stretch.
Roll the thread into a towel and press down firmly on the towel to remove as much water as possible. A skein of thread or a small, lightweight item made from acrylic may be hung to dry. You should dry larger items, like sweaters or blankets, on a flat surface to prevent stretching.
If the label indicates the thread is machine washable, put the acrylic item in the washing machine on the gentle cycle, using cold water.
Few threads can survive a trip through the dryer. Hanging a garment to dry takes only a little extra time and will help preserve the item.