How to care for wool garments
The cold season is here! We’re not just talking about warm fireplaces and snow, because it’s time to pull out those warm wool sweaters, jackets, and blankets, but first we need to know how to care for those precious instruments of coziness to last us more than one winter.
Wool is incredibly delicate, and there are certain things to keep in mind before you consider washing
Before you wash
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, there are a few key things to note before mentioning the W word. Wool is incredibly delicate, and there are certain things to keep in mind before taking that step.
Under no circumstances should you EVER tumble-dry wool. It causes the fibers to shrink and you will not get them back to their original length.
Resting wool garments for 24 hours between wears keeps them resilient and well-recovered. You wouldn’t want them to lose their shape.
Airing out your wool is a must if you want to keep it fresh. You can use steam or simply leaving them flat in a dry place, such as on the back of a chair or an ironing table.
Ah lint, a sweater’s archnemesis. However, when it comes to wool, you have to be extra careful. Using a soft brush, fuzz remover, or even fabric shavers like Gleener or Conair would do the trick. Just make sure to go lengthwise.
Sometimes, it’s not worth it to wash the whole garment over one little stain or spot, specially when it comes to wool. Delicately blotting the garment with water and a stain remover is enough, however, you need to make sure the tag does not say ‘Dry clean only’.
The time has come to wash
You have done all you could, but perhaps it has been too long and the garment needs washing. First and foremost, wool should be washed as scarcely as possible. It might sound off-putting, but wool is anti-bacterial and odor-free by design. The more you wash it, the shorter its lifespan becomes. When it comes to washing, you have three options: Dry cleaning(ideally), hand washing(preferably), and using the washing machine.
First, you need to turn the garment inside out, place it in a sink or tub with cold (around 30°C) water and some delicate wool detergent such as Euacalan or Woolite. Do not let it soak in there for more than 10 minutes and DO NOT rub the fabric together. Rise it a couple times then just gently squeeze out the water.
The washing machine
With the machine, it is imperative that you first check the tag to see if the garment is machine washable or not. If it is, then you are in luck! Just make sure to turn it inside out, using COLD water(30°C) only, and use the delicate cycle.
DO OR DO NOT, THERE IS NO DRY
Drying might be a tricky, the last thing you want to do is place wool in a dryer. Using a clothes hanger is also flawed as it messes with the structure and shape of the garment. Instead, just lay it flat on a surface in a dry area without direct sunlight.
If you want the garment to remain in pristine condition till next winter, you might want to store it in an airtight bag, ideally not plastic, after finishing all the previous steps. To avoid wool’s worst enemy, moths, you can also add a moth ball or some cedar wood to the bag.