Whether it's stitched from cotton, wool, or acrylic yarn, follow these laundering tips.

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chunky knit blanket over chair
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Chunky knit blankets are warm and comforting, and there's nothing quite like curling up with one of these cozy essentials on a chilly day. But what happens when it's time to clean yours? These blankets should not be washed in hot water or bleach or dried on a hot setting as doing so could discolor, shrink, unravel or pill that chunky weave you love so much. Still, cleaning a chunky knit blanket does not have to be complicated. We talked with Anne Weil, author of Knitting Without Needles: A Stylish Introduction to Finger and Arm Knitting ($17.49, amazon.com) and the blogger and shop owner behind Flax & Twine, to get her recommendations on how to clean these beautiful, handmade blankets.

Before you start cleaning your blanket, it's important to know what kind of fiber was used to make it (especially if you didn't make it yourself). "The proper way to clean a chunky knit blanket all depends on the content of the yarn," says Weil. What were the washing instructions specified for the yarn that was used for the blanket? This will give you a good idea on the type of care that needs to be followed.

Washable Yarn

"If you've made a blanket out of washable wool or acrylic, you can wash it in cold or warm in a washing machine and dry it on low heat," she says. Your blanket will be even safer in the washing machine if you have one that does not have an agitator and instead uses an impeller, or a front-load washer that doesn't have either and uses the barrel rotation to clean. But if you have a top-load washer with an agitator, your blanket will still be safe as long as the yarn is machine-washable and you use gentle cycles and cooler water temperatures.

Wool or Pre-Felted Wool Yarn

For all-natural wool, washing by hand is the best method. "If you have 100-percent wool that is knit up with multiple strands or a pre-felted wool, a cold water hand-wash and laying flat to dry is doable," Weil explains. "Do not agitate or wring the wool, as you don't want to felt the wool together. Be as gentle as possible, soaking water out with squeezes and towel absorption." Then lay the blanket out to air dry on large towels. Make sure that it is flat. She recommends using Eucalan Fine Fabric Wash ($16.11, amazon.com) because it is very gentle with wool.

Roving Wool

This is wool that has not been spun into wool yarn yet. It looks like fuzzy cotton candy and produces very delicate, soft products. "If you have a roving blanket, or very delicate wool, you may be best off with dry cleaning," she says. So, make sure to include your roving wool blanket in your dry cleaning drop-off the next time.

Keeping Your Blanket Clean

You can keep your chunky knit blankets clean and fresh all year round. Unlike other types of blankets or sheets, you will not need to clean them on a weekly basis. Too much washing and drying can harm the longevity of a 100-percent wool blanket, for example, and it is often recommended to only clean it once every three months. Of course, sometimes it is necessary to give it an extra cleaning. Use the best cleaning method based on the type of yarn and preserve your beautiful blanket for many years to come.

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