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How to Wash Wool Garments

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Garments that contain natural wool require special care, otherwise they stretch, shrink, and get covered with fluff. Previously, woolen items were washed by hand, but today even an ordinary washing machine has special programs. You just need to follow a few simple guidelines.

5-Minute Crafts explains how to wash and dry garments that are made of natural wool, to keep them looking brand new.

Prepping to wash

Do not soak wool garments. If the item is made of mohair, angora, or other fluffy yarn, it must be washed separately, otherwise, the fluff from it will settle on other clothes.

  • Liquid detergent and wool softener are recommended for machine washing. Ideally lanolin should be in the ingredients of the detergent since it cleanses and softens the wool.
  • Natural hair shampoos and conditioners are fine too, but they are only recommended if you hand wash your woolen items.

Machine wash

Choose the right program: If there is no special program for wool, choose a delicate or hand wash. Check other settings: The water temperature shouldn’t be higher than 86°F, and you shouldn’t use the spin cycle or dry it in the dryer.

  • It’s recommended to turn each garment inside out and to place it in a separate mesh laundry bag.
  • If the garment fades in the wash, put special anti-staining wipes inside that will absorb the excess dye.

Hand wash

Dilute detergent and conditioner or hair shampoo in cold or warm water (no warmer than 86°F), producing as much lather as possible. Then immerse the dirty clothes in it and squeeze them several times to remove the air between the wool fibers. Leave the clothes in the water for 10 minutes.

Important: Don’t put detergent directly on the woolen garment.

Often, the sleeves and collar of a garment require special attention because they are prone to stubborn stains. Apply more foam to them and leave it on them for a little while. You can also sprinkle them with baking soda and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove it.

Important: You shouldn’t rub the stains because this process damages the wool fibers, and they become thinner and tear.

Before rinsing colored items, add vinegar to cold water in the proportion 1–2 tablespoons for every 1.5-2 gallons of water. It will protect the garment from losing its color, and the unpleasant odor will disappear when drying. Rinse the item again in cold clean water, squeezing it gently for a minute. Drain the water and rinse the item again.

Correct drying and ironing

  • After washing, wring the woolen items by squeezing them gently with a towel. Don’t twist the fabric.

  • Spread a dry towel on a drying rack, put the woolen item on top and leave it to dry. It’s important that the surface is horizontal so that the item doesn’t stretch. You can dry the item by using a towel that is spread out on a sofa, an armchair, or a bed.
  • You can speed up the drying with a regular hairdryer. Keep it at a distance of about 10 inches from the fabric. It’s worth doing it if regular drying takes longer than 24 hours.
  • Once dry, turn the garment inside out and iron it on the wool steam setting. The best option is if the surface of the iron is ceramic — this will protect the fabric from damage. You can also use a steamer.
  • If necessary, remove fluff from the front side with a special machine or nail scissors.
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