Felt is a great fabric to work with for crafting and for decoration. As versatile as it is when used properly, when you need to wash felt that's become stained or soiled, your options are few. Here are the pros and cons of the two primary methods for washing felt.
No matter what technique you use to clean felt, be sure that any water used is cold. Felt is highly susceptible to shrinkage in warm water.
It is possible to machine wash felt despite how delicate the fabric can be. The key is restraint.
Start your washing machine with cold water, set to a gentle cycle. Don't allow the water to fill up too much since you only want enough to fully submerge the felt and nothing more. Placing the felt into too large an amount of water will distort its shape and feel. You can even add a fabric softening cleanser so long as it is also one of the gentler brands like the hypo allergenic varieties. Do all of this before submerging the felt.
Let the machine run through its cycle, remove the felt, and let it air dry on a clean surface.Don't attempt to rush things by throwing it into the dryer. The heat will distort your fabric, shrink it, and cause pilling.
Hand washing is by far the safer way to clean felt, as you are in control throughout the entire process. Begin again with a shallow bath of cold water and add a mild detergent. Consider adding a dab of lemon juice to the soak for both stain lifting purposes and its pleasant scent. Submerge the felt and allow it to soak.
Once you have let it soak for a few minutes, use your fingers to massage the fabric. Once you have finished kneading the fabric for a few minutes, wring it out gently and lay it out on top of a clean towel.
If the stain is particularly dark or deep, you may need to work it out with a soft-bristle brush after soaking the felt as mentioned above. Again, if you have any major stains, it is a good idea to add a little lemon juice to the soaking solution. When using the brush, make sure you are extremely gentle. If you brush it too hard, you will pull up some of the material.
Felt is a very sensitive material and cleaning it can be sketchy business. The best thing to do is get it dry cleaned, but when that option is unavailable, these options will work if cautious.