Wool is a fabulous material (read all about it here) and can be woven or knitted to produce beautiful garments and blankets that are naturally breathable, showerproof and durable.
There’s a common misconception that washing woollen clothes and blankets is difficult and will probably lead to shrinkage. In this blog post we set out to show you how you can keep your woollens in tip top condition.
When properly looked after, with a little bit of care and attention your woollen garments will last for many years. It is worth pointing out that wool has natural antibacterial properties and therefore does not need washing frequently. Airing is recommended and spot cleaning when possible. The less you wash your woollen garments and blankets, the more natural oil will be retained.
GENERAL TIPS FOR STORING AND CARING FOR WOOLLEN CLOTHES
- Before storing or washing, empty all pockets and remove any accessories. Make sure all buttons and zips are fully done up.
- Your wool garment should be clean before packing it away. Airtight bags or containers and/or Woolmark-endorsed moth repellents will help protect your garments if stored for longer periods. When using mothballs avoid placing these directly onto clothes or wool blankets.
- To get rid of lingering odours from food or cigarettes, lay wool garments flat on a bed or towel for about an hour. Woven wool clothes can also be hung in the fresh air on a suitable hanger.
- Fold knitted garments and store in drawers.
- Hang woven wool garments on padded coat hangers.
- Brush woven wool clothing with a soft garment brush lengthways to remove any surface dirt.
- Try not to wear the same wool garment day after day. Rest it for 24 hours before wearing again to allow the wool to return to its original shape.
- To refresh wool garments, you can simply hang them up in a steamy bathroom – the steam will help remove creases and wrinkles.
- Smooth, lightweight woollen garments and shawls can be pressed using a steam iron on the low wool setting. Don’t iron dry wool directly – use a damp cloth on top of the garment.
HOW TO WASH WOOL CLOTHES
Always read the manufacturer’s label on the garment to check specific washing instructions. Most wool garments are labelled as “dry clean only” even if many can be carefully hand washed and some can be machine washed on a gentle wool cycle and low temperature. Never tumble dry or expose to direct heat such as radiators. Dry flat or fold strait over washing line for blankets
TIPS FOR HAND WASHING WOOL
Ask yourself if the item needs to be washed. It may only need a good airing or a spritz of wool freshener. If only lightly stained, it can be sponged and allowed to dry.
- Turn your wool clothes inside out, then hand wash in clean, lukewarm water (max. 30°C) using a mild wool detergent. Soak for about 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly using lukewarm water and a final cold water rinse.
- Don’t use fabric conditioners or softeners. They clog up the natural wool fibres and reduce their ability to wick moisture and keep you warm.
- Always flat dry your woollen products naturally, keeping them away from direct heat or intense sunlight .
- After washing, knitwear should be dried flat to prevent stretching. Place your knitwear on towels or drying mesh and gently push into shape and smooth out any creases.
- Woven wool textiles can be hung on a hanger to air-dry inside at room temperature.
HOW TO CARE FOR AND WASH WOOL BLANKETS
Traditional wool blankets don’t need to be washed very often thanks to the natural stain resistance of wool fibres. However, you can wash them and there are a few other ways to keep your wool blankets looking great.
Tips for caring for wool blankets:
- To freshen up your wool blanket simply take it outside, give it a shake and then hang it up. Open air ventilation will help to loosen any dust and dirt.
- Another good way to refresh your woollen blanket is to lay it flat and brush with a soft-bristle brush.
- Remove any liquid stains as soon as you can by spot cleaning. Soak the stain with warm water and mild wool detergent and gently sponge with a soft cloth.
- If your wool blanket is more heavily soiled and can be hand washed (read the care instructions on the label) then use a cool water and a mild wool detergent.
- Once washed, wool blankets can be dried outside away from intense sunlight by simply hanging them on a sturdy clothes line.
- If hung out fully wet, your wollen blanket may stretch. A great way to start the drying process is to roll up the washed blanket in a dry towel and apply pressure to remove excess water. Then you can hang it out to dry.
- When not in use, store your wool blankets in a dark, cool place such as a wardrobe. You can use air-tight containers or bags and also include a few chips of cedar wood as a natural insect repellent.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT PILLING?
You’ll have noticed that garments made from super soft wools such as cashmere, merino and extra fine lambswool are prone to producing little fluffy balls – called pills.
These tend to occur in areas such as the sleeves where there is more friction or rubbing. You can even get pills forming on wool blankets on the side that is mostly in contact with furniture.
They might not be very desirable but pills are not a sign of inferior manufacture or quality. They form because of the very nature of the shorter fibres found in the softer, more luxuriant wools. In new wool garments and blankets, loose fibres will be shed and these form into pills.
But there is some good news. First, pills will eventually stop forming after the garment or blanket has been worn a few times. And second – they are relatively easy to remove either by hand, by comb or with a fabric shaver.
HIGHLAND STORE WOOLLEN RANGE
At Highland Store we’re proud of our range of traditional Scottish woollen clothing and accessories and we want our customers to enjoy them for many years. We hope you found some useful tips in this blog and now believe that caring for your wool clothes and wool blankets isn’t that difficult.
Why not browse through our collection of comforting Scottish tartan wool blankets, scarves and knitwear?
Wool products always make fantastic gifts – we have a great range of tartan wool ties, tams and berets, and gloves.