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Can You Use Acrylic Yarn for Potholders?

One of the best things about mastering a craft is the fact that you can make knick-knacks for yourself and your household instead of buying them. Kitchen items, such as dishcloths and coasters, have long been among the favorite projects of crocheters and knitters alike. However, in order for your projects to turn out right, you should ensure to use the right type of yarn. For instance, if you’re planning on making a potholder or two, you might be wondering – can you use acrylic yarn for potholders?

Does Acrylic Yarn Melt?

Yes, acrylic yarn does melt. Although acrylic can generally withstand higher temperatures, it does begin to break down at one point – usually at around 200°F, depending on the fiber content. At higher temperatures, such as at around 300°F, the acrylic yarn will start to melt entirely and stick to nearby surfaces, including your pots and pans.

This makes acrylic yarn a not-so-great choice for potholders and other items that have to withstand frequent contact with heat. Although your acrylic potholder might not melt on the first use, it likely won’t have too long of a life span. If you’re determined to make a kitchen item out of acrylic, consider this Free Placemat Crochet Pattern using the 100% acrylic Red Heart Super Saver yarn.

Does Acrylic Yarn Burn?

Yes, acrylic yarn burns. In fact, acrylic is the most flammable synthetic fiber out there. This is because it is made of acrylonitrile, a highly flammable derivative of polypropylene plastic. However, while this means that acrylic burns quite vigorously, it doesn’t mean that it will catch fire easily. In fact, its ignition point is much higher than for most natural fibers.

In other words, it is unlikely that your acrylic potholder will catch fire just from contact with a hot pot or pan, but it will ignite if you accidentally leave it on or near a hot stove. Additionally, while burning, acrylic still melts and drips, making the risk of injury that much higher.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Yarn for Potholders

Now that we’ve established that acrylic yarn is not good for crocheting and knitting potholders, it’s time to choose another fiber that will get the job done. Here are some factors to consider while picking the best yarn for your potholder project.

Machine Washable

As with most similar household items that are put to almost daily use, ease of care is crucial when picking the best yarn for potholders. Ideally, you want to make an item that you can simply pop in the washer and dryer when it gets dirty, rather than having to wash it by hand.


Heat resistance is, arguably, the most important thing to think about when choosing the right material for your potholder. A potholder that cannot sustain the heat of a straight-from-the-stove pot isn’t a very useful potholder. Additionally, an easily flammable potholder will increase the risk of injuries and damage to your kitchen.

Fiber Content

Finally, the fiber content of your chosen yarn is paramount. Overall, cotton and wool are considered the best fibers for potholders and similar items.

Cotton is a natural, plant-based fiber that, while not inflammable, doesn’t melt. What’s more, it is an excellent insulator, so it will keep your hands and dining table protected from the heat of the pot. There are different types of cotton out there, including kitchen cotton, a type of cotton fiber made especially for kitchen items. It is a little sturdier and more absorbent than regular cotton.

Wool is another excellent choice of yarn for potholders. Much like cotton, it doesn’t melt, but what’s even better, it doesn’t burn very well, either. In other words, even if it does catch fire, that fire is likely to go out on its own pretty quickly. However, unlike cotton, wool can be difficult to clean, as most woolen yarns require some degree of special care.

Best Yarns for Knitting Potholders

Now that we’ve covered the most important factors to consider when choosing your potholder yarn, let’s take a look at some of MaryMaxim’s recommendations.

Lily Sugar’n Cream

Lily Sugar’n Cream is 100% cotton, worsted-weight yarn. It is an easy-to-care-for, absorbent, and soft yarn that is among crafters’ favorites. It is machine washable and comes in a wide variety of colors, including solids, stripes, ombres, and twists. The yarn requires a crocheting hook size H-8 or knitting needles size 7. If you’re looking for a fun potholder pattern to make with this yarn, try this Stripes and Solid Potholders Pattern or this Cherry Pie Hot Pad Pattern.

Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton Yarn

Lion Brand 24/7 is another highly popular cotton yarn. This is 100% mercerized cotton, making it sturdier, more vibrant in color, and better at keeping its shape. All of this makes Lion Brand 24/7 a particularly good choice for bathroom and kitchen projects. The yarn comes in an array of vibrant solid colors and is machine-washable. Check out some patterns using this yarn here.

Can You Use Acrylic Yarn for Potholders: FAQ

What skills do I need to knit or crochet a basic potholder?

The precise skills you’ll need to make a basic potholder will depend on the pattern you choose. However, you can easily crochet a very simple potholder using only chain stitches and single crochet stitches. Since potholders don’t really have to be a certain texture, shape, or color, they can be as simple or as complicated as you want.

Can you use any yarn for a potholder?

No, you can’t use any yarn for a potholder. When choosing the right yarn for potholders, it is important to pick a heat-resistant fiber such as cotton or wool. Other fibers, especially synthetic ones, tend to melt and/or burn when exposed to high temperatures, making them a poor choice for potholder projects.

How much yarn do I need for a potholder?

Precisely how much yarn you need for a potholder will depend on the size, shape, and color of the project. Most solid-color potholders (or potholders made with a single, multi-color yarn) require less than one ball for the entire project. However, if you’re planning to use multiple colors, you will need to use multiple balls of yarn.

Can you put hot pans on acrylic yarn?

No, you shouldn’t put hot pans on acrylic yarn. Although acrylic yarn has a high ignition point, meaning that it probably won’t burn from direct contact with a hot pan, it does melt when exposed to high temperatures. It can ruin your kitchenware, destroy your dining table, or even cause injuries.

Is it OK to use acrylic yarn for coasters?

Yes, you can use acrylic yarn for coasters. While acrylic might not be the best choice for potholders, cups and mugs don’t tend to be as hot as pots and pans. In other words, they are unlikely to make acrylic yarn melt or burn. However, if you’d rather err on the side of caution, you can always pick up a ball of cotton or wool yarn instead.