Nylon Yarn – Guide To This Yarn Material & Best Uses

By Jodie Morgan

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Looking for a strong, shiny yarn? Nylon fibers might be the perfect choice. I explore what nylon yarn is, and ways to use it for knitting.

Nylon Feat Img

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I reviewed, fact checked and updated this post on May 14, 2023.

Table Of Contents

What Is Nylon Yarn?

Nylon yarn is a synthetic fiber sold at moderate prices. This fiber is popular when blended with natural fibers, because it adds strength. It’s also lightweight, elastic, and abrasion resistant. They’re great for sock knitting projects.

Where It Comes From

Nylon is a synthetic polymer, which means it’s made of long chains of molecules. It’s also called polyamide yarn. It’s a consistent strand unlike heathered yarn. It was first created in 1935 by Wallace Carothers while he was working at the company Dupont. It’s also classified as a silky thermoplastic, usually derived from petroleum.(1)

The original name for nylon was “polymer 6,6”, because it was made of 6 carbon atoms and 6 nitrogen atoms. During WWII, nylon was used to make parachutes and other military supplies because of the high demand for the product.

After the war was over, the company used nylon to create women’s stockings. This is when nylon became popular!

How It’s Made Into Yarn

Nylon is made into yarn by a process called spinning. Here’s a video from a manufacturer on how this yarn is made.

This excellent breakdown of this subject will help you!

How To Wash Nylon Yarn

Here are the care instructions for nylon fibers. Nylon is a durable fiber, but it’s important to follow these guidelines to keep your projects looking their best.

  • For delicate items, always handwash it in cold water
  • For nylon yarns with durability in items like sweaters and other garments, machine wash in cold water
  • Most nylon yarns can be tumble dried on low
  • Keep it away from direct sunlight when storing it
  • Don’t dry clean it

Always check the yarn label for instructions specific to the yarn you’re using.

Does It Shrink When Washed?

Similar to rayon fibers, they’ll shrink when exposed to high heat, so don’t wash or dry your items in the machine on high.

How To Soften Nylon Yarn

Here is a quick and easy method to soften nylon yarn.

  • Place it in a bucket or sink filled with lukewarm water and 1/4 cup of fabric softener
  • Let it soak for at least 15 minutes.
  • Rinse the nylon yarn in cool water
  • Gently squeeze out the excess water
  • Lay it flat or hang to dry

Washing it after you’ve finished knitting always helps!

Pin For Later

Nylon Yarn Pin

What Do You Use It For?

It’s often used for projects and things like socks, shirts, underwear, dresses, trousers, blankets, pillows, accessories, and even home decor projects, because it’s easy to care for and strong. This fiber is also used in sportswear and other clothing that need to be stretchy, like leggings or a pullover sweater.

Nylon blended with another fiber works well by being wound on a winder. Check out my post for information on these handy winding machines.

Common Blends Using This Fiber

Here is a list of common blends using this yarn, and why they’re created. Nylon is often blended with other fibers to create yarn because it’s strong and elastic.

  • Nylon/Wool – it makes a yarn that’s strong, but also has some give. It’s used for projects like socks and sweaters
  • Nylon/Acrylic – it make a yarn that’s durable and affordable It’s often used for blankets and pillows
  • Nylon/Cotton – it makes a yarn that’s soft. It’s often used for garments so it holds its shape better

It’s rare to find pure nylon yarn, it’s usually only present as a small amount in blends with other fibers.

Where To Find It

Here’s where to find this yarn: at a yarn store or craft stores in your area, at big box stores like Michaels, Walmart and Joann, and online brand shops. Here are brands or manufacturers of nylon yarns to try: Chroma Twist, Hawthorne Fingering Yarn, Sirdar Yarn Saltaire, and Berroco.

What’s The Price Like?

The price of nylon yarn varies depending on the brand, where you purchase it, and the quality. This yarn is an affordable option for projects.

FAQS About Nylon Yarn

Is Nylon Yarn Ethical & Eco-Friendly?

It’s often made using fossil fuels and harsh chemicals.

Is Nylon Yarn Toxic?

No, it’s not toxic.

What Can I Make With Leftover Nylon Yarn?

You can make a lot of things with this yarn, including hats, scarves, bags, purses, gloves, and socks.

Is Nylon Yarn Breathable?

No, it’s not.

Is Nylon Yarn Itchy?

No, it’s not itchy because of the silky smooth feel.

Nylon Yarn Vs Cotton Yarn

Here is a comparison of nylon yarn and cotton yarn.

Nylon Yarn is made from petroleum products, smooth and slippery, strong and elastic, isn’t absorbent, and can be washed in the machine on a gentle cycle.

Cotton Yarn is made from plants, is absorbent, can shrink when washed in hot water, and can be machine washed on a gentle cycle.

Is Nylon Yarn Good For Clothes?

Yes, it’s good for clothes because it’s durable, long-lasting, and it doesn’t shrink.

Is Nylon Yarn Yarn Good For Winter?

Yes, it’s good for winter because it’s warm and insulating.

Is Nylon Yarn Good For Summer?

No, it’s not good for summer because it’s not breathable.

Do Nylon Fibers Pill?

No, they don’t pill.

Can You Dye Nylon Yarns?

No, you can’t.

Is Nylon The Same As Acrylic?

No, nylon isn’t the same as acrylic. They’re both synthetic, but nylon is strong and elastic, while acrylic is soft and absorbent.

What’s The Difference Between Polyamide And Nylon?

They’re the same thing!


Happy crocheting or knitting! Hope you enjoyed this article. Do you have questions? Please leave them below!


  1. Wikipedia contributors. 2022. “Nylon.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. October 19, 2022. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Nylon&oldid=1116930692.

About The Author

Jodie Morgan From Knit Like Granny

Jodie Morgan (Author & Founder)

jodie@knitlikegranny.com | Lives In: Regional Australia

Author: Jodie Morgan is a passionate knitter and blogger with 40+ years of experience currently living in regional Australia. Taught by her mother and wonderful grandmother “Mama”, she fell in love with crafting from a young age. When she’s not knitting, you’ll find her enjoying a cup of coffee with cream, or sharing helpful resources and tips with the online knitting community. Get to know Jodie and the team on our meet the team page.

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    • Hi there. For synthetic fibers such as acrylic and nylon I would read the reviews from customers to check that it is soft and what the pilling is like? If you can feel the yarn yourself before buysing then that will tell you whether it is the right yarn for you. These types of fibers can be machine washed and dried on low settings. Cheers Jodie


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