Wool is such as a classic basic material for the colder winter months. It’s a luxurious fabric that works so well to keep you warm on the chilliest days imaginable. As a natural fiber, it requires some specific methods to maintain its natural beauty.
Without looking out for your wool, you run the risk of damaging it permanently. Unlike normal methods of throwing your regular laundry in the wash, most wool require very different cleaning routines. It’s essential that you do your best to follow these guidelines with all seriousness, or else you’ll find your wool pieces ruined forever.
This is very important to remember. Putting it in a cold wash is going to help it maintain its current shape. Wool maintains its current state as insulating and warm, thanks in part to it being covered partially in natural oil.
When most types of wool go into the wash at any temperature above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), this results in the fabric shrinking. You could find your lovely jumper shrink by a few sizes, which will make it look like kids clothing!
So unless the label of the jumper says otherwise, I would advise you to put it in a cold wash. This will help maintain the wool, but its also good for the environment too.
Hand Wash It
Sometimes the care label will recommend that you wash your wool by hand. This is a method of preserving the delicacy of the wool, which can be affected by being put in the washing machine.
The way I do this is to soak it in a cold or very, very slightly warm bowl of water. I put a bit of detergent in the water and I soak it for around half an hour maximum.
Once its soaked, I wash it with clean water and very lightly squeeze the water out. Don’t wring or twist your wool or it will damage it.
When drying it, the best place to put it is on a flat surface, on top of a towel. Any method that involves hanging it up will pull the fabric and leave marks in unwanted places.
Use Wool Detergent
If you must wash it in water, then use a detergent that is wool-friendly. You can buy these easily at the supermarket, or you can find more premium detergents online.
This will also be suitable for washing silk in, since they are both fairly delicate fabrics. Just pour the recommend amount into the water before you soak the item, and this designated wool cleaner will balance cleaning and maintaining the life of your wool.
The chemicals it contains are less harmful to the clothes, since they are not as strong as regular detergents.
Air It Out Between Wears
What’s actually better than washing wool too often is giving it air to breathe. Airing it out is actually good for wool, because it doesn’t necessarily have to be washed often.
Since wool is naturally antibacterial in nature, it is able to almost clean itself when its not being worn. All you need to do is hang it up, and even let the sun shine on it. Any odors that maybe lingering will soon be gone when you hang it up to air out.
Iron at Low Heat
If you do choose to keep your wool crisp and wrinkle free, you’d best keep the iron at a lower temperature, ideally the lowest.
As with washing it at higher temperatures, ironing it too hot will damage your clothes. You’ll want to avoid the iron if you can, but make sure you spend minimal amounts of time doing this.
I think this method works better in preserving the wool for longer. Though ironing is effective, steaming is a lot less aggressive on the fabric.
You can also hold off the bacteria and kill some of it through steaming, so that you can wear it for longer without the need for constant washing.
Fold It, Don’t Hang It
When you’re thinking about ways to store you wool knits, you should leave it off the hanger and store it on shelves. This is because hanging up your knits tends to damage the fabric, particularly on the shoulders where the most downward pressure is applied.
Folding it away means that the fabric is less likely to be damaged, and when you wear those jumpers, you won’t get any strange looking bumps on the shoulders. Also, it will look a lot nicer folded up on your shelves.
What am I talking about? What exactly is a de-bobbler?
So if you’ve ever owned something made of wool, chances are you’ve owned it long enough for it to form these little rolled up bits of surface layer fiber on the most worn parts. These little patches, called bobbles, form when the fabric has been used and rubbed often to the point of bundling together in small bits.
Though this looks like the beginning of the end, its actually far from it. You can do a few things to take care of these bobbles.
Firstly, you could buy a proper device tailored to removing bobbles, called a de-bobbler. You can buy these pretty easily off Amazon for as little as £10. They basically shave off the top layer of bobbles from your wool, leaving it looking as good as new.
An alternative home made solution to this device is grabbing a clean, blunt razor. If you already have one that you don’t use anymore, then this is perfect! It will do just as good a job as the de-bobbler, but you must be careful not to shave it too hard, or you’ll cut your wool open.
Love Your Wool
When you do all these things to care for your wool, you are treating it with love. Don’t forget to make the most of it and wear it well.
They will be valuable pieces in your wardrobe for years to come, winter after winter.