How To Wash Wool Sweaters and Blankets - Home & Texture
Cleaning Washing Wool

Here's Exactly How To Wash Your Wool Clothing and Blankets

Take care of your woolens by giving them extra care and attention.

By
April 11, 2024 at 11:47 PM PST
Updated on April 11, 2024 at 11:47 PM PST
Cleaning Washing Wool

Here's Exactly How To Wash Your Wool Clothing and Blankets

Take care of your woolens by giving them extra care and attention.

By
April 11, 2024 at 11:47 PM PST
Updated on April 11, 2024 at 11:47 PM PST

You may have learned the hard way that all fabrics were not created to wash equally. This rings especially true for items made out of wool. Never toss out another piece of wool clothing or blanket due to a washing machine mishap ever again with these helpful tips that will also help keep your woolens fresh, cozy, and like new.

Understanding Wool Care

Before taking the careful approach to wash wool, it’s important to know a bit more about it to understand why it is the way it is, and why it might behave differently in the wash. Wool comes from sheep, and each strand has natural oils that make it resistant to dirt and odor. The good news is, this unique quality means it doesn’t need to be washed as frequently as other fabrics, ultimately saving you time, energy, and water. It also is durable—the fibers can bend up to 20,000 times before breaking—but it does require special attention to maintain its softness and shape because it can shrink and lose its shape in the wash.

Photo credit: Dietmar Hannebohn

First Things First: Sort Like a Pro

The first step in washing wool garments is sorting. Separate your woolens based on color and level of soiling. This prevents color bleeding and keeps a thorough clean. Remember, dark colors should be washed separately from lighter ones to avoid any mishaps.
Additionally, check the care labels on your garments for any specific instructions. Some woolens may require handwashing, while others are better off with spot cleaning using cold water and a clean cloth.

Prep Before You Wash

If the label permits machine washing, use a gentle cycle with cold water. For handwashing, fill a basin with lukewarm water and add a wool-friendly detergent. Before immersing your woolens in water, turn them inside out to minimize friction and prevent pilling. This is super important to keep the garment’s softness and appearance over time.

Gentle Washing Process

Less is more. Avoid excessive agitation and never wring or twist the fabric, as this can damage the fibers. Instead, gently swish the garment in the water and let the detergent do its magic. If you’re using a washing machine, choose a wool or delicate cycle with a low spin speed. This reduces the risk of stretching or felting the wool fibers, so your items come out clean and intact.

For stubborn stains, spot treat before washing using a mild detergent or stain remover. Allow the solution to penetrate the fabric for a few minutes before gently blotting with a clean cloth. Avoid rubbing, as this can spread the stain and damage the fibers.

Photo credit: Bogdan Sonjachnyj

Rinse and Repeat

Once the washing is complete, it’s time to rinse. Rinse the wool thoroughly with cold water to remove any traces of detergent. Again, avoid wringing or twisting the fabric. Instead, gently squeeze out excess water and pat dry with a clean towel.

Proper rinsing is essential to remove any residual detergent, which can cause irritation or damage to the wool fibers. Take your time and make sure the water runs clear before moving on to the drying stage.

Drying with Care

Drying this material properly is important to prevent shrinking and misshaping. Lay your wool garments flat on a towel and reshape them to their original dimensions. Avoid hanging woolens, as this can cause stretching and distortion of the fabric. Ideally, dry your wool garments away from direct sunlight and heat sources, as excessive heat can cause the fibers to become brittle and prone to damage. Allow them to air dry naturally, flipping them occasionally to ensure even drying.

Storage Solutions

Fold the items neatly and store them in a breathable container, such as a cotton bag or drawer. Add some cedar balls or lavender sachets to ward off moths and keep your woolens smelling fresh.




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