Wool clothes are a warm addition to any closet, and most people who live in chilly climates understand the value of having a few items of wool clothing hanging around to fend off the cold. However, wool is not without its downsides. Clothing that is made of 100 percent wool, or even items that have a large percentage of wool fibers blended in, are infamous for being difficult to wash.
While there are professional cleaning services to help get wool clothing spotless, it is more than possible to wash wool yourself without it shrinking, ripping, or deforming. Use this handy guide to clean your favorite sweater, scarf, or other wool item.
Unlike cotton or synthetic fabrics, wool generally does not need to be washed every time you wear it. Wool is very breathable, so it’s good at not retaining sweat and odors. In between washings, air your wool clothes out thoroughly. Set them out to dry to give any moisture that has accumulated on the fabric a chance to evaporate, then shake them a few times to fluff them. If your clothes have lint or threads on them, you can use a lint roller to remove those without washing.
Soak your wool clothing in cool water before washing it. You should allow the item to soak for at least an hour—longer if it is made of particularly thick wool—to ensure that all the fibers are saturated. Use a small brush to spot clean the wool. Finally, wash the woolen item in the sink in cool water. Use a spot of liquid soap, but never laundry detergent.
Gently squeeze out the wool item to remove excess water, but do not wring it. Finally, lay the item out flat on a drying rack or other surface and give it time to thoroughly air dry.
If you use these tips, your wool clothing is sure to continue to look great for many winters to come.