How to Clean Wool

Wool is a natural fiber that has been popular for years. Its durability and warmth make it a choice fabric for many garments.

Caring for Wool

  1. High quality wool garments do not require frequent cleaning and for some, it is recommended that they be cleaned only once or twice a year.
  2. For wool that must be hand washed, lay the garment or item on a piece of paper and carefully trace the perimeter. Wash in cool water using a mild detergent such as Woolite, with NO bleach (bleach will dissolve the wool fibers). Work the suds through the item without twisting or wringing and rinse (preferably twice) in cool water. Gently squeeze out excess water (again, no twisting or wringing) and lay the item flat to dry on the paper pattern, adjusting it to fit the original shape and size.
  3. If your wool item is machine-washable (the tag should say “superwash” which is the industry term for machine-washable wool), use the delicate setting on your washer, and the same temperature wash and rinse (either cold or warm)—changes in temperature can cause shrinkage or “felting” (a matting of the wool fiber).
  4. Again, lay the item flat to dry.
  5. If you find it necessary to iron a wool item, use the wool setting, and iron on the wrong side of the fabric, use a pressing motion, not rubbing, to avoid shiny spots.
  6. If you do get a shiny spot from ironing wool, spray it with a little distilled white vinegar. This should remove the shine. Rinse with cool water to get rid of any vinegar smell.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • Wool comes in a number of varieties and qualities, and it is extremely important to check the manufacturer’s recommended care and cleaning methods on the sewn-in tag before attempting to clean your wool item.
  • To avoid fading, do not dry wool in direct sunlight.
  • Do not hang wool items to dry as they will lose their shape.
  • NEVER dry wool in the dryer as the heat will cause it to shrink.
  • Wool is stain resistant in that it does not absorb liquid readily. However, you must wipe up stains immediately or else it will be absorbed.
  • If you do have a stubborn stain on your wool item (such as grease, nail polish, or ink) it is best to take the item to a professional cleaner.
  • Wool will shed wrinkles naturally, if given the chance. For a wool item that is wrinkled, hang the item up and place in a steamy bathroom (easily done by running the hot shower for a few moments), and wrinkles should fall out easily.
  • To avoid insects when storing wool, make sure your wool is clean (preferably dry cleaned), and store with moth balls and cedar chips to both kill and repel any insects. Make sure the moth balls do not come in direct contact with the wool.

Comments

  1. J. M. E. says:

    Using Woolite to wash wool is not the best way to wash wool, in spite of heavy advertising. Woolite is a strong detergent with the addition of oxidizing bleaches (non-chlorine). Your best bet is to use a mild shampoo, soak – not shake:-) and rinse in cold water with a couple of ounces of white vinegar. Role in a towel till almost dry, then tumble cold for a few minutes to minimize wrinkles. Steam pressing is best.

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