Wool can easily lose its shape and become less defined if washed without care, and worst of all, it can shrink, becoming quite a few sizes smaller. We give you the top tips to avoid shrinking your favourite jumper!
If you're not seeking such a transformation of your woollen garments, it makes sense to follow these instructions:
- Make sure your woolen item really needs to be washed. Unlike cotton and man-made materials, wool does not need to be washed frequently - even wool socks can be worn many times between washing if allowed to be aired out between wearing them.
- Soak woolen items in cold water for a few hours before washing.Do this until all the woolen fibers are saturated. This method will help to stop the woolen item from shrinking.
- Spot clean if needed. Heavily soiled items like grass stained trousers should be spot-cleaned first with a brush, attempting to brush the soil off, and rinse it through with clean cold water.
- Use the right product. There are products specially made for washing wool, or you can make a cleaner yourself with a tiny amount of laundry soap or hand soap or castille soap, water, and optionally a small amount of essential oil (such as lavender). Dissolve the cleaner in the water first, to prevent agitating the wet wool. You can mix the soap into hot water, then mix that into a larger quantity of cold water to aid in mixing the soap in well. Alternately, you can try using baby shampoo or light detergent.
- Wash in sink by soaking and squishing being careful not to rub the wool against itself or it will felt. Basically heat, agitation, and detergent are the enemies of wool, so aim to soak and rinse the dirt out. The good news is, wool is extremely easy to clean with just water.
- Take care if you use a washing machine. Using the machine can be all right if you do not allow it to agitate. Let the machine fill with cold water, add soap if using any; you can let the machine agitate to mix in the soap. Add the woolens and press them down into the water, swish them just a little, very gently and push them under the water. Leave them to soak for 30 minutes. Set the machine to the portion of the cycle where it drains, then refills for the rinse without ever letting it agitate. Leaving the lid open on top loaders can help here. Let the woolens rinse, and go through the spin dry portion of the cycle twice.
- Dry flat in desired size/shape. A folding clothes rack can help here. Remove excess water with a towel by laying the item on a towel and rolling it up jelly-roll style, squeezing and pressing gently. Unroll then, leave in fresh air to dry.
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