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Washing, Drying & Storing Wool

Washing wool is more manageable than it might seem. With some knowledge and the right approach, you can keep your wool items in top-notch condition. We’re here to guide you through the process so you can be confident you’re doing it right.

Wool is a delicate, natural fiber that needs special care. It can’t be treated like other materials. With our tips and tricks, you’ll learn how to wash wool without damaging it.

This article will cover the basic steps and precautions when washing wool. We’ll also share some insider tips to help you maintain the quality and longevity of your wool items. So, let’s dive in and learn how to care for your wool correctly.

Understanding Wool Fabric

Wool is a complex material that’s unique from others you might be accustomed to, like cotton or polyester, according to the University of Santa Barbara. So, it’s crucial to understand its distinctive features before starting the washing process. By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to maintain its quality and longevity.

Primarily, wool is a natural fiber obtained from animals. It’s highly valued for its warmth, resilience, and durability. Still, these valuable qualities call for particular care. First, you must understand that wool fibers have a scaly surface. Any aggressive movement can cause these scales to mesh together, leading to shrinkage or felting.

Moreover, wool can readily absorb water, making it prone to stretch and deform when wet. You might have noticed how heavy your wool fabric can get after soaking in water. It can absorb – hold on to your hat – up to 30% of its weight in water!

Let’s look at some essential characteristics of wool fabric:

  • Heat retention: Retains heat better than most other fabrics
  • Durability: Highly resistant to wear and tear
  • Water absorption: Can hold up to 30% of its weight in water
  • Scaliness: Prone to meshing and shrinking when agitated

If you’re experiencing the thrill of wearing wool for the first time, unexpected shrinkage and stretching can be a problem. But with the right washing methods, you don’t have to worry about compromising the integrity of your wool items. Knowing the specific nature of this luxurious fabric is a huge step in itself.

In the following sections, we’ll learn more about the dos and don’ts of washing wool. Take a deep breath. Remember, you’re embarking upon a journey to better care for your wool fabrics. This is not just about cleaning; it’s about preserving the luxurious touch that comes with each woolen item you have.

Preparing Your Wool Items for Washing

There’s some prep work before immersing your prized wool garment in water. We’re about to get dirty with everything you need to ensure your beloved wool items are ready for a safe scrubbing.

First off, assess the clothing label, according the Iowa State University. Not all wool items are created equal. Indeed, your clothes may consist of a mix of fabrics, not just wool alone. Merino wool, for instance, possesses properties different from cashmere. Determining each item’s fiber makeup is vital to knowing appropriate washing methods. Check those labels!

Next up, empty all pockets and close all fasteners and zippers. Loose change, forgotten receipts, or rogue tissues can spell disaster in the wash cycle, marring your wool’s quality. Similarly, open fasteners can snag wool fibers, causing unwanted stretching or tearing.

Let’s talk about sorting. Like any laundry day, sorting your wool items by color is crucial. Lighter shades can quickly soak up dye from darker items, leading to dreaded color bleeding. Remember, wool absorbs much water, so it can easily absorb other colors.

For stubborn stains, consider pre-treating. Pre-treatment can gently loosen dirt and grime before fully immersing your wool items. However, remember to use a wool-specific stain remover or a simple solution of cool water and mild detergent.

When a lint roller is your best friend when coping with lint or hair, Rolling it across the wool piece a few times will pick up that unwanted fluff, giving you a clean, ready-to-wash item.

  • Assess the clothing label
  • Empty all pockets and close all fasteners and zippers
  • Sort by color and type
  • Pre-treat stubborn stains
  • Use a lint roller for unwanted fluff

That’s it for the preparatory steps. Let’s press forward: your wool items are all set for a dip. Knuckle down for the following sequence, where we’ll usher you through the washing process, from choosing the perfect water temperature to selecting that ideal wool-friendly detergent.

Hand Washing Wool Step-by-Step

Hand-washing your wool items can be an excellent way to maintain quality and longevity. It requires patience and gentle handling to yield optimal results. This section guides you through each step of this process, ensuring that your wool garments retain their shape, color, and soft texture.

Begin by filling a basin or sink with lukewarm to cold water, paying close attention to avoid water temperatures above 30 C (86 F). Temperature is crucial when washing wool, as hot water can lead to shrinkage or felting. For wool, the cooler is always better.

Next, add a wool-friendly detergent to the water. The market is filled with detergents designated for wool and delicate items. These products are usually gentle, neutral, pH-balanced, and free from enzymes, brighteners, and bleach that can damage wool fibers. Some popular wool-friendly detergents include Woolite, Eucalan, and Soak. Remember, you need more than just using detergent to make your wool cleaner. It’ll just be more challenging to rinse out. Your wool garments deserve a tender touch, so measure the detergent according to the guidelines provided on the product.

It’s time to introduce your wool items to the prepared water. Submerge the garments completely, gently agitating them to ensure the water and detergent penetrate all the fibers. Allow your clothing to soak for about 10 to 15 minutes. This soak helps to loosen grime and oils.

Following the soak, rinse your wool items thoroughly. Drain the soapy water from the basin and refill it with clean, cold water. Gently move the clothing in the water to rinse away the detergent. This might take a few cycles of water changes, but it’s essential to rinse your items thoroughly.

Once the rinse cycle is complete, carefully lift your garment from the water. Avoid wringing or twisting the wet wool, as these actions can distort the shape of your clothing and damage the wool’s natural resiliency. Instead, gently squeeze out the water or press the garment between clean towels.

With this, your wool is now clean and ready for drying. We’ll walk you through the drying steps in the following paragraphs, aiming to maintain the shape and softness you cherish in your wool items.

Machine Washing Wool Safely

There’s a misconception that you can’t machine wash wool items. That’s not entirely true. Machine washing wool can be done safely if you follow some crucial steps.

First and foremost, check the care label. If it says, ‘hand wash only,’ then stick to the previous steps discussed for hand washing. Many modern wool garments, however, are designed to withstand machine washing.

When placing your wool items in the washing machine, turn them inside out. This helps reduce agitation, which, in turn, prevents shrinkage and felting. In addition, consider using a mesh laundry bag. The bag provides extra protection for your woolens by minimizing exposure to rough and tumble washing.

Choose your wool cycle carefully. Select a setting meant for delicate fabrics to maintain the quality of wool items. This cycle often has a slower spin speed, which treats your garments with the respect they deserve. If your washing machine doesn’t have a dedicated wool or delicate cycle, go for the shortest, most gentle one available.

Your choice of detergent makes a significant difference in safely washing wool in a machine. Wool-friendly detergents work best as they are often pH-neutral and contain no bleach. These features are critical in preserving the color and softness of your wool items.

Avoid using fabric softeners on wool; instead, turn to white vinegar! It sounds daunting, but it’s effective. Adding half a cup of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle will soften your wool while maintaining its natural, vibrant colors.

Just remember, every wool item is unique. What works for one might not work for another. The above approach provides a way to work around the potential difficulties of machine-washing wool. There’s no fixed rule in the book of wool washing, only guidelines to keep your garments looking fresh and enduring.

Drying and Storing Wool

Having tackled the washing process, let’s unravel the mystery of drying and storing your wool items. These steps are vital to keep your garments in tip-top shape and extend their lifespan.

Drying wool is an art in itself. Unlike synthetic fabrics, which you can toss into the dryer, wools need extra care. Remember: heat and agitation are wool’s enemies, causing shrinkage and felting. After washing, lay your wool items flat in their natural shape on a clean, dry towel. Roll up the towel and press to remove excess water. Unroll and repeat if necessary. Then, leave them to air dry away from direct sunlight and radiators.

Let’s get your wool ready for storage! After drying your wool items properly, inspect them for any dirt, stains, or odors. Insects, particularly moths, are attracted to fibers that contain human oils or food particles. Hence, it’s critical to store only clean garments.

Proper folding of wool garments is of paramount importance. Never hang your wool sweaters; they may get shoulder dimples or be stretched out of shape. Folding them neatly prevents any unwanted creases or distortion.

Regarding storage, remember that wool needs to breathe, so avoiding plastic bins, bags, or vacuum-sealed spaces is best. Use breathable cotton bags or acid-free paper boxes. Storing wool with cedar balls or lavender sachets can deter those pesky moths while giving a pleasant scent.

With a bit of care and attention to the drying and storage processes, you can maintain the longevity, appearance, and texture of your wool garments, keeping them looking as good as new. These methods have been tried and tested by numerous wool owners just like you.


So there you have it. Caring for your wool items is more manageable than it may seem. By air-drying your wool flat and inspecting it before storage, you’re already taking steps towards preserving its quality.

Remember, it’s not just about cleaning wool; how you store it counts. Choosing breathable storage like cotton bags or acid-free paper boxes can make a difference. Remember those natural deterrents like cedar balls or lavender sachets to keep pests at bay. With these tips, you’re well on your way to ensuring your wool garments stay in top-notch condition for years. Here’s to many more cozy, wool-filled days ahead!

Clotheslyne: Your Wool Care Solution

Caring for wool can be time-consuming and requires attention to detail. Clotheslyne offers a convenient solution with free pick-up and delivery laundry services in select areas, including New York, Nevada, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Alaska, and Massachusetts.

Our Clotheslyners are skilled in handling delicate fabrics like wool, ensuring your garments are carefully washed, dried, and folded. Trust Clotheslyne to maintain the beauty and longevity of your wool items, giving you more time to enjoy them. With Clotheslyne, you have a helping hand from someone in your community who understands the importance of caring for your cherished woolen.

To use Clotheslyne, download the iOS Apple App or Google Play Store Android app to schedule your laundry pick up.

You can also schedule your laundry pick up through our web portal.

Fill up a tall kitchen bag full of clothes. A Clotheslyner in your community will pick it up and deliver it back to you washed, dried, and folded in 48 hours. It’s that simple.

FREE pickup and delivery laundry services for less than drop-off at your local laundromat!