Indeed, you can! Technological upgrades imply that questions such as ‘can I wash wool in my washing machine?’ are a relic of days gone by. Numerous automatic washing machines have unique wool cycles. If there is no wool cycle on your washing machine, do not worry about it. Many machines come with a ‘hand wash’ or ‘delicate’ feature that is suitable for washing wool.
The first thing to do, even before you wash wool in the washing machine is to examine its care label. Checking the care label will help you understand the best way to clean the clothes. Some woollen clothing, like socks, ought to be hand-washed, while others, like trousers, may need to be dry cleaned.
How To Wash Wool In A Washing Machine: The Things To Take Note Of
Wool is a natural absorbent fibre which is quite delicate. It is derived from sheep, camels, llama, rabbits, goats, alpaca, or keeshond. It is often used to make sweaters, blankets, socks, gloves, coats, and other winter clothing. As a result of its texture, it tends to shrink, lose its shape, or change consistency when it is not handled with care while being washed. Washing wool often intimidates people, but the process is quite easy. If you want to keep wool in top condition, you could try out the following guidelines:
- Do not wash woollen garments too frequently: Wool is a natural fabric with self-regulating properties. Thus, it should not be washed as often as other fabrics. The best way to handle woollen clothing is to spot-treat stains whenever you can. Spot-treating involves gently blotting the stain rather than rubbing it. Likewise, you could air dry woollen articles of clothing after you have worn them.
- When washing woollen garments, ensure that you pre-treat stains if you can: You could use either a Wash & Stain Bar or Stain Solution to pre-treat stains. The Wash & Stain Bar works best to remove oil, grease, dirt, and makeup stains. The Stain Solution works best to remove tannin and protein stains such as coffee, wine, blood, urine, grass, and ink stains. It could also be used to remove tough pet stains.
- Wash light and dark clothes separately: It may be especially hard to get rid of colour stains from wool and other natural fibres. Therefore, it is pertinent that you do not wash light and dark clothing together.
- Make sure your detergent is gentle: Do not use just any detergent to wash your woollen clothing. It is best to use a detergent that has been particularly created for wool. If your detergent is in powdered form, ensure that it is dissolved in water before using it to wash wool. Dissolving powdered detergent before using it will protect the wool from being damaged. Also, ensure that the detergent you use is not alkaline as it could damage the woollen clothing. You could do this by checking the detergent’s pH.
- Do not use too much detergent: Excess detergent can damage wool. It could strip away its natural water and dirt repellent properties. Check the detergent’s label for dosing instructions.
- Turn woollen clothing inside out before washing: This little hack would help keep your woollen garments in top condition for a long time.
- Soak your woollen garments in cold water before washing them in the washing machine: Following this guideline will help reduce the chances of the garment shrinking.
- Wash your woollen garments with cold water: This is because warm water causes wool to shrink.
- Reduce agitation in the washing machine: It is pertinent to reduce agitation because it causes wool to shrink. If you can, turn off the machine agitator. Ensure that you make use of the gentle feature while washing. Also, take care not to overload it.
- Do not tumble dry wool: The heat the machine would emit would cause your clothes to shrink. Regardless of how gentle and cautious you have been in washing wool, tumble drying it would cause shrinkage.
- To remove odour from woollen clothing, soak the item in cold water. Ensure that the cold water is mixed with a quarter cup of scented vinegar. Let it soak for half an hour.
- Steam woollen clothes to remove wrinkles: Steaming is the safest and best finish. Never iron wool as it would crush the fabric.
- Brush wool to freshen it up: Shake the woollen garment vigorously to dislodge loose dirt particles. Then spread the garment on a clean surface before brushing it gently with a soft-bristled brush. Brush the wool in one direction to avoid damaging it. Brushing fluffs the wool, making it less abrasive. Afterwards, air-dry the garment.
How To Wash Wool Sweaters/Jumpers In A Washing Machine
You can wash a wool sweater in a machine, and the process is relatively easy. Ensure you examine its care label before you start. All you need to do afterwards is follow these guidelines:
- If you have a fully automatic washing machine, put in the wool sweater first and start washing on the most suitable setting. This setting could be a wool cycle, hand wash, or delicate setting. Once you have done this, do not add detergent directly. Add it to the tray instead.
- If your machine is semi-automatic, add cold water first. Then dissolve detergent in it before adding the sweater.
- Allow the sweater you have put into the cold water combined with detergent to soak. Once it has soaked for a little while, start to wash very gently.
- After washing, drain the soapy water. Then, rinse the sweater two times, with minimal agitation.
- Gently squeeze the woollen sweater to get rid of excess water instead of doing a spin.
- To squeeze out more water, lay the sweater on a flat surface covered with a dry towel. Put another towel on it. Then roll up the towels gently.
- Remove both towels and rearrange the sweater to its original shape to ensure it is stretched evenly.
- Leave the sweater in that flat position to dry.
How To Wash A Wool Blanket In A Washing Machine
Washing a wool blanket in a washing machine is a much stress-free option than having to wash it with your hands. To wash a wool blanket in a machine, follow the steps listed above. After washing, hang the blanket from a shower rod or line. You could also hang it over the back of a chair. Then leave it to dry.
How To Hand Wash Wool
Some woollen garments would be better hand washed rather than washing them in a machine. This is particularly so for garments with decorations, like embroidery or sequins that could be easily damaged in the machine. Here is a little hack, wool socks are best hand-washed. Before you wash any woollen piece of clothing, check the care label, and keep to these steps:
- Put cold water in a tub and add detergent. It would be best to use detergent primarily designed for wool or other delicate fabric. You could use either liquid or powdered detergent. If you use powdered detergent, make sure it is dissolved properly. Also, check out the label on the product for instructions as to dosage.
- Soak the woollen garment in the water mixed with detergent for about ten minutes.
- Do not rub or wring the garment as it could cause it to lose its shape. Gently squeeze out excess water or roll the garment and press gently.
- Drain the soapy water and replace with clean water. Then gently rinse the garment. You could do this by swishing it carefully in the tub.
- Rinse the garment until you completely remove the traces of detergent.
How To ‘Unshrink’ Wool
If you have shrunk your woollen clothing by accident, all hope is not lost. Before you throw it away or stuff it into a charity bag, try out this method of unshrinking wool. Ensure that the garment is still wet, then lay it on a towel. Afterwards, stretch and adjust the clothing carefully, securing the edges with pins. Leave it to dry.
It is essential to note that this method of unshrinking may result in permanent damage to the garment. Therefore, you should only use it as a last resort. Thus, it is pertinent to know that following the appropriate way of washing woollen garments is always preferable.
How To Store Wool
Storing wool properly is essential in preventing it from getting damaged. It should be stored away from direct sunlight to prevent the material from fading. If possible, woollen garments should be in airtight containers or bags to keep moisture and insects out. When storing wool, do not put mothballs in with the garments. Doing so would create an unpleasant odour that is tough to remove. Throw in some cedar chips as a natural insect repellent and to get a pleasant smell instead.
There you have it. There is no reason to be intimidated by the thought of washing wool. Whether you choose to hand wash or machine wash them, you’ll do just fine!