can you machine wash velvet

Can You Machine Wash Velvet?

Everything seems fine to toss inside the washer until it’s velvet. The rich and premium looks of the material instills questions of doubt in our minds concerning putting it in the washing machine. 

But can you actually do it? Can you put velvet in the washing machine for cleaning? Without ruining the fabric or the fluff? 

Many velvet fabrics like those made from cotton or polyester are perfectly fine to machine wash. But you should do so under the permanent-press cycle or the delicate cycle, in cold water and also using a mild detergent. For velvet that can’t be washed, rely on spot treatment and vacuum cleaning using a soft brush attachment. That should rid the material of lint and trapped dirt which can make it look less rich and premium. 

In the next few paragraphs, we’ll discuss more on how to properly clean velvet in the washer. 

You can if it says so

You can wash velvet if the care label of the fabric says so. As velvet fabric is made using a variety of fibers from natural such as silk, linen and cotton to even synthetic like polyester and viscose, as well as weaved and finished in a variety of techniques unique to the production company, you’ll definitely find variance in the way that it is cleaned. That’s why sometimes velvet can be washed and sometimes it can’t.

It is therefore very critical to go through the fabric care label of your velvet material to find out whether or not it can be washed by machine or by hand, and if not, the best technique to employ in washing it. 

Why some velvet cant be washed

The fabric type

The type of fabric that makes up your velvet garment can dictate whether or not it can be washed at home. Some fibers generally do not tolerate the beating of a washer, and cannot withstand hot water washing or being soaked for too long.

A good example is wool, it can change shape when subjected to hot water washing and the agitation of the washer simultaneously. Another example is silk, it’s a super delicate fabric that can get damaged even in the gentlest cycle of a washer.

Sturdy materials like polyester and cotton however, can withstand the rough agitation of the washer as well as the heavy duty conditions like long fast cycles using really hot water. So typically, you’ll find that velvet made from these types of fibers can be washed either by hand or with a machine.

The finishing

Velvet can also be finished differently, and depending on the kind of finish applied on your specific type of velvet, you may or may not be able to wash it at home.

The construction

Velvet is woven and knitted. The specific way of achieving this varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and so if the specific type of velvet you have has construction with a bit of sophistication to it, then putting it in the washing machine might undo a lot of things. As a result, the velvet might be recommended to be dry cleaned instead.

How to wash a machine washable velvet

If you finally lay your hands on a velvet material that can be washed, here’s how to do it properly.

Use mild detergent

Always make sure to use mild detergent on velvet. Don’t opt for anything that is heavy duty or extra. It might end up causing damage to the fibers, discolor the material, or even destroy the nap.

Turn the fabric inside out

Before washing velvet, it’s always a good idea to turn the fabric inside out. Doing so will protect the nap from getting crushed. When crushed, naps cause an uneven look to velvet material which can be annoying. Turning the nap side in would also help prevent lint and dust accumulation on the velvet which can be somewhat difficult to remove. 

Spot treat stains with dish soap and water

Before putting your velvet in the washing machine or washing by hand, it’s always a good idea to treat stains that are on it. 

If you have a set-in stain, you can use a solution of 50 mL of water and ¼ teaspoon of liquid dish soap and 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol. Put the solution in a spray bottle that diffuses contents over a wide area instead of jetting it out to a specific spot — so you’re able to achieve a wide coverage. Spray the solution onto a clean cloth and use it to dab gently against the surface of the stain until it comes off onto the towel. 

This technique can be effective against food stains, liquid stains, hot water spills and even grease.

One key thing about velvet is that the material is somewhat water repellent in such a way that fresh spills can be blotted completely without leaving any stains on the fabric when acted upon quickly. Hot water stains on the other hand, will seep into the fabric much faster and set-in. So tackle them as quickly as you can. 


Depending on what you have on the care label, you may be required to wash using warm or cold water on a permanent press or delicate cycle.. 

A permanent press cycle is one that reduces creases and wrinkles on fabrics.’ And it’s highly suitable for fabrics like velvet especially those made using cotton. Delicate cycle washes clothes in brief bursts of low speed mechanical action, and in cold water. So it’s also suitable for materials like velvet too.

When washing velvet also, turn the shirt or trouser nap side in to protect them from crushing. If the materials can’t be turned “nap side in” for example curtains, put it in a mesh bag.

How to clean velvet that can’t be washed

If you have velvet that can’t be washed, like the velvet pinned on your couch, then it’s still easy to clean it. You want to rely mostly on brushing and vacuum cleaning to remove dirt and get the naps upright so the appearance of the materials is maintained..

You can pre-treat stains as explained above, and make sure to act on stains as they form to have better chances of removing them easily. Brush in the direction of the pile and use a soft brush for the purpose. You can also get a velvet brush or a lint remover.

When vacuuming velvet material, make sure to do so in the direction of the pile and use a soft brush attachment.

Can you put velvet in the dryer?

If you must machine dry velvet, do so using the lowest heat settings. High heat can cause damage to not only the naps but the fiber itself especially when it’s delicate like silk or sensitive to heat like polyester..

Putting velvet in the drying machine at the setting mentioned above also helps with softening and improving of the fluff.

Final Thoughts

Velvet can be cleaned in the washer so long the fabric care label says so. Typically, velvet made from materials like cotton and polyester are machine washable, whereas those made using delicate materials like silk are not, and the best way to clean them is using the dry cleaners.