How to wash felt, wool felt foods, soft sculpture & toys.

23 Apr

felt food tomato how to wash felt food

Sooner or later you’re gonna have to clean that felt food. Here’s how to do it!

Felt Cherry Pie

While dry felt can withstand major abuse it becomes a whole different creature when wet and must be treated gently so here is a walk though, please remember use of soap will result in further felting your felt, I.E creating piling and fuzz. The following is written with wool and wool blend felt in mind but it is also useful for acrylic or eco-felt, (eco-spun & eco-fi) synthetic felts which although washable, have a tendency to tear at the seams when hand sewn.Please note that I am erring on the side of caution and your felt items are generally not all that delicate, a good quality felt will actually stand up to a lot of rubbing but better safe than sorry right?

Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning is the obvious way to go with 100% wool felt but a lot of dry cleaners won’t touch soft sculpture or basically anything that isn’t clothing you CANNOT use a product like dryel on felt the heat and moisture will continue to felt your piece, this would not be a good thing. The #1 thing to keep in mind is avoiding drastic temperature fluctuations on the felt.

Surface Wash

If your item is only slightly messy for example moist cookie crumbs, I would suggest letting them dry, before proceeding with your clean up, you may mash the mess into the wool mesh, say that 5 times fast!

The exception to this rule is a substance which you feel will stain. In that is the case proceed to hand wash. After felt is dry brush off the crumbs and gently wash the surface with a baby wipe.

sinkHand Wash

Lets say your felt food is really messy, for example your child dunked his felt cookie in his real milk. You can hand wash using the steps outlined below, I have used this method with great success Using these methods I have removed apple juice, wet candy cane, yogurt and cracker mush from my daughters felt food collection.

1. Brush as much of the dirt, dust or dried whatever off as you can while the item is STILL DRY. If whatever has gotten on your felt is in liquid form that’s OK to but please avoid rubbing it.

2. Fill a sink or basin with cool or cold water, no soap.

3. Place said item in water and wait until it soaked, gently squeeze the air out if it is a stuffed item

4. Gently press water out of felt without rubbing

5. Continue to squeeze like a sponge do not rub,  Repeat until spot is gone, you may soak the felt overnight if needed.

Air dry, felt may feel stiff at first but will regain its softness when played with for awhile.


Worse case scenario…

Got something really nasty on your felt, like boogers or pee? Luckily for you wool has antibacterial properties so it’s isn’t as germ laden as you think however you now need to remove whatever germs remain and any smell, try lemons. Lemons contain antibacterial and antiseptic properties on top of naturally removing odor. Cut lemons and squeeze into the water in your basin and proceed as outlined above.

But it’s winter in the middle of nowhere…

Your last best hope is Vinegar. Vinegar will  disinfectant and help destroy odor, the weird vinegar smell will fade with time , it dissolves grease too! So if you have a stuffie that’s gotten really grungie this is your method! Put in 1/2 part vinegar to 1 part water and wash as directed above be sure to lay it out to dry as soon as possible and do not use it to soak your item for longer than 10-15 minutes as it could in theory hurt your fabric although this has never been my experience. The bonus to this method is your dried felt will be surprisingly soft.

Drop me a comment or two and let me know how it all turned out and show me some love by checking out the store,

Happy Crafting- Andie


Please give credit where credit is due and be sure to link to my blog when using this info. Thanks, you’re the best!

For more on how to clean felt see our post on cleaning and storing felt fabric.

Wondering how to clean felt - wonder no more - step by step photos

How to Clean Felt – Step by Step 

27 Responses to “How to wash felt, wool felt foods, soft sculpture & toys.”

  1. Karyn May 18, 2009 at 8:16 pm #

    I have been looking every where for this information! Thank you so much. I cleaned my daughters felt food and it looks great! No shrinkage or fuzzing! Thanks again.

  2. urban craft May 18, 2009 at 10:01 pm #

    I love your blog. I want to come up with some kind of MTV real world/road rules type craft challenge for you. Some kind of extreme mountain bike crafting with wool or something. Great stuff! Can’t wait for tutorials!

    • americanfeltandcraft May 18, 2009 at 10:31 pm #

      I welcome any challenge! 🙂 Do I have to craft WHILE mountain biking? I am not sure that MTV’s insurance people would allow that, what with the scissors and all. I think that would be more of a Jackass kind of show, and I am NOT hot gluing anything to my body even in the name of crafting, well wait is it cute? If so maybe. Look for the tutorial in the next 2 days. And thanks for the love!

  3. Ruthie February 3, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    Is it completely taboo to wash the felt toys on the delicate cycle with woolite? I’m not sure I want to commit to handwashing my little ones’ toys!!

    • americanfeltandcraft February 4, 2010 at 9:22 am #

      You can wash the felt toys on delicate with woolite on cold just make sure they have plenty of room in the washer (don’t squish them in) and make sure the stitches are tight. And NO DRYER, let them airdry. but seriously hand washing takes less time then loading the washer, it’s literally sink water squish squish and set out to dry.

  4. Heidi June 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm #

    Worked like a charm! Thanks!

  5. N J November 30, 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    Have white background 3′ x 5′ church banners with various colored felt designs gluded on the white background. Washing is impossible, at this point all I can think of is gentle brushing of the white felt, or vacuuming ? Any suggestions? Problem is years worth of dust that has turned the white to grey. N J

  6. Konnie Trone December 16, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    I hve an old fashioned Christmas felt stocking; made way back when….will this method work on that as well?

    • AmericanFeltandCraft December 16, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

      Anything of great importance should always be professionally cleaned. But if your going to do it yourself since the composition is unknown I would gently vacuum (with brush attachment or gentler hand vac) or brush to remove loose dirt and then hand wash gently in Woolite. I am not so concerned about the felt as I am how it was attached some older glued pieces don’t hold very well if you see pieces starting to lose their hold you can rescue them quickly. The good news is older felt is usually really nicely made.

  7. Joan December 24, 2011 at 9:45 am #

    I have a yellow felted purse that I made that is in great need of cleaning. I don’t think it’ll get clean without rubbing. What do you suggest?

    • AmericanFeltandCraft December 24, 2011 at 10:27 am #

      By felted I assume you mean knit and then put through the felting process. If so I would suggest Woolite, cold water, gentle cycle then air dry. Let me know how it goes. Andie

  8. Amy April 12, 2012 at 3:45 am #

    I have seen some cute sewing tutorials that have you make an applique out of felt and sew it to a garment. It looks adorable, but I am wondering – how do you then wash the garment? I Googled and found your page! So how would I wash a little girl’s skirt, for example, that had a felt applique sewn onto it?

  9. Casey July 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    This is very helpful! I do have a question about a project I am about to start. I am going to make some toy duckies for my first child, and I am planning to make the feet and bills out of orange felt. I am wondering whether or not I should wash the felt before I make the ducks. If you could give me your advice, that would be great!

  10. Louise November 26, 2016 at 2:10 am #

    Wondering if anyone can help me track down a felt pattern from the 1970s please??!
    When I was about 6 or 7, in the mid 70s, my mum made me the most glorious, high heeled felt shoe, with a load of felt mice. It was, of course, the Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe.
    Regretfully, my mum got rid of the book it came from (which a neighbour had given to her, as my mum was craft mum of the nrighbourhood!!), so we have no idea what the book is called or how to find this particular pattern inside. I have spent hours trawling images and websites on internet to find it but to no avail, sadly.
    If anyone can help me in my quest to find this pattern again I would be so grateful! I found a similar pattern last night but mum says it’s not the actual one, which she is sure came from a book not just a single pattern.
    Many thanks in advance!
    Ps. I’m in the UK but at guessing the book could be either British or American.

  11. Sher March 24, 2017 at 10:09 pm #

    Bought a bucilla kit. When I opened it the lines had started to bleed onto the white background how do I clean it without taking all the lines off

    • AmericanFeltandCraft March 25, 2017 at 2:51 pm #

      Hello there,
      My understanding is that the lines in most kits (although I can’t be sure about yours) are usually washaway, I would complete the project as much as possible and then try gently dabbing at the lines to see if they are in fact come off when wet.

  12. Satya Baglio February 8, 2018 at 8:39 am #

    Is a felted toy animal a safe thing to give a teething 1 year old?

    • AmericanFeltandCraft February 8, 2018 at 12:41 pm #

      It is as safe as any toy, just watch the size you wouldn’t want to give a child anything too small but felt is thicker and often stronger than most fabrics.

  13. Evelyn Ng August 8, 2018 at 5:36 pm #

    Would this work with felt pieces that have screen print on them like the ones from Melissa and Doug?

    • AmericanFeltandCraft December 6, 2019 at 6:10 pm #

      It depends on what the inks are made from but it should work well with any permanent ink.

  14. Pat Jones February 1, 2019 at 9:20 am #

    I knit then felt my item. I purchased a new washer. The new washers do not have the large agitator in them . What do I do to felt in the new washer? Someone suggested add a few tennis balls in. I already have denim jeans included in the washer.

    • AmericanFeltandCraft February 2, 2019 at 7:13 am #

      I agree with the idea of denim pants, I am not so sure about the tennis balls, it’s likely the fuzz on the outside of the balls could transfer and get stuck in the knitted fibers. Try some tennis shoes and heat heat heat. Get that water as hot as you can. Let us know how it goes!

  15. caseboutique June 1, 2020 at 12:14 pm #

    I make plush fruits and vegetables out of fleece. In the past, I had eco-felt leaves and stems, and the whole plush could be machine washed. But now I need to switch over to wool blend. Are they still safe to put into the machine?

    • AmericanFeltandCraft June 1, 2020 at 12:57 pm #

      They sure are! But you will want to preshrink you wool blend, this may cause some texturing but you can machine wash after that.

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