Washing wool clothes is the one and only thing why knitted garments annoy me. I am super-not-into-hand-washing my clothes (especially after I did it every day for 6 months). You might get away with using washing machine, but you know the horror stories where people shrunk their lovely cardigan so much that it now perfectly fits to a toddler:D
My Mom, as an avid knitter, has taught me trough the years how to take care of my knitted garments. She always frowns upon me when I’m sometimes being lazy and just toss my knitted socks in a washing machine.
Here are some great tips to wash wool clothes:
- First check if your garment even needs washing. Wool has amazing dust-repelling properties. If there are no stains, hang the dry clothes in a windy place to bathe in fresh air.
- Always follow the instructions on the labels. If you have a garment containing different fibers, wash according to the one that needs gentler treatment. Some garments are machine-washable, but need special cold water or wool program.My Mom never uses washing machine, because there’s a greater chance it will ruin your clothes. If you are not sure, always hand-wash.
- Always use special shampoo for wool. Never wash with regular detergents, because they contain protein-dissolving agents, while wool contains proteins. Most regular detergents are too harsh for natural wool, they also contain bleaches that will ruin colours.
- Use cool or slightly warm water. Too hot water is the number one cause for shrinking.
- Dissolve your detergent before putting the garment in the water.
- Wash immediately, do not soak. The water will expand and
- Do not rub the garment against itself, it will felt. If spot-cleaning is needed, use a soft brush. Just gently squeeze the garment during washing. Try to remove all spots just when you make them, so the wool doesn’t have time to absorb the stain.
- Rinse 4-5 times in clean water to ensure no detergent is left in the wool. When lifting wet garment, always lift it in a ball, not from cardigan shoulders, for example.
- Gently squeeze the excess water out using a hand towel. Do not twist, pull or wring the garment. Wool loses its strength when wet and it will permanently lose its shape. You can place the garment on a dry towel and gently roll them together.
- Dry on a flat surface, never hang on a clothes-line or use a drier. Carefully set it in its original shape. If possible, use mesh as the surface, because it provides good airflow. I don’t have a better flat surface than the floor or a clothes-rack. I use a fluffy towel underneath the drying woollen garment, just remember to change it. It will get wet and this will increase the drying time.
- Keep away from heat, such as radiators and direct sunlight. Heat is the enemy of wool and sunlight will fade the colours.
- Do not iron, if possible. However, my Mom taught me this – wet a cotton cloth/towel and gently press the garment through the wet cloth, using iron on the lowest heat. You may also hang a dry garment in the bathroom while taking a hot shower. The warm vapour will take the wrinkles out, too:)