Cleaning Acrylics

Written by April Reinhardt (last updated January 29, 2024)

Acrylic fabrics are made from synthetic fibers of polymer containing at least 85% acrylonitrile—a small molecule that becomes chemically bonded with other molecules to form a polymer.

Both lightweight and soft, acrylic fibers form a fabric weave that resembles wool's bulk, fluffiness, and softness. It dries easily and most acrylic fabric is machine washable. Acrylics are popular because they are wrinkle-resistant. However, they can lose their shape, pill easily, and are prone to static cling, even when they are blended with polyester or wool. Proper care, washing, and handling of pure acrylic fabrics are essential to keep them in good condition. Follow these steps for proper care and cleaning of your acrylic clothing:

  • Always read and follow the care labels inside of acrylic garments. If the manufacturer recommends dry-cleaning, do not wash the garment.
  • If the labels says you can wash the garment, turn it inside-out before washing to avoid or reduce pilling.
  • Wash acrylic garments with the delicate cycle of your washing machine, or by hand, using a gentle detergent such as Woolite.
  • If you hand-wash your acrylic garments, hang them to dry.
  • If you machine wash your acrylic garments, read the label to see if you can dry them in your clothes dryer. If so, most manufacturers recommend tumble dry on low heat setting, removing promptly from the dryer.

Recently, the Monsanto Chemical Company has developed a chemical process for acrylic clothing to deter pilling, named Pil-Trol. It is still recommended that you treat acrylic fabric very gently to discourage pilling. The more carefully you treat the fabric, the longer the garment will retain its original appearance.

A fun fact: the National Football League uses pure acrylic socks as part of their uniform, and most little league and soccer teams use acrylic socks, as well. Acrylic socks are very elastic and retain their shape well.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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