Did You Know?
Wool is naturally non-allergenic. If wearing woolen items results in a rash, it may be due to the presence of lanolin (also known as wool wax or wool grease).
If you've ever owned woolen garments, you must be aware that this fabric has the tendency to lose its shape quite easily. And if washed without care, it can become less defined or shrink in size. In order to conserve the natural qualities of wool, it requires proper care and maintenance.
Washing and Drying
Many manufacturers recommend not to hand wash or machine wash woolen clothes. Instead, they insist on getting them dry cleaned. As you know, all clothing items have care instruction labels sewn in them. If the label clearly says "Dry Clean Only", always take the clothes to a professional dry cleaner. So, before you decide to choose a cleaning method, read the instructions properly.
For machine wash -
First and foremost, check the label to ensure that your woolen clothes can be cleaned in a washing machine. To determine this, the label should either say SUPERWASH, Machine Wash, or have a symbol with water temperature (40°C) indicated on it.
- Program the machine at gentle wash on a short cycle, set the water temperature, and fill the machine.
- Use mild dishwashing soap or liquid detergent specifically approved for the clothes (ask a sales staff at the store for specific products to wash woolen clothes).
- If you are using a powdered detergent, ensure that it dissolves completely in the machine before you add the clothes.
- As a precaution, turn the clothes inside out before placing them inside the machine; there's no need to soak them before washing.
- Once the cycle is complete, you can tumble dry them in the dryer. This step can only be performed if the label permits.
- To dry the clothes, lay them horizontally on a towel rack and place them in the shade. Do not hang them vertically as over a period of time, the clothes may begin to lose their original shape.
For hand wash -
As I mentioned earlier, check the label to see whether your woolen clothes can be hand washed. You will find a symbol of an arm submerged in a bucket of water. Now, whenever we wash clothes by hand, there is a general tendency to use extra force so that dirt or grease can be removed. However, woolen clothes shouldn't be handled with brute force. In fact, be as gentle as you can be while hand washing them.
- Fill a bucket of water with lukewarm water (similar temperature as the machine wash), add liquid detergent, turn the clothes inside out, and add them in the bucket.
- Leave them in for about 3 - 4 minutes.
- Now one by one, gently squeeze the clothes, without rubbing harshly or pulling on them.
- Discard the soapy water and rinse clothes in lukewarm water.
- Once the soap is out, fill the bucket with cold water and rinse one last time.
- Do not wring the clothes. Instead, gently squeeze out excess water and lay individual clothes on clean towels.
- Roll the towels along with the clothes, and let them be for about 10 minutes. The clean towels will soak the excess moisture from the woolen clothes.
- Unroll the towels and lay the clothes horizontally on towel racks to dry completely in the shade. Do not dry woolen clothes in direct sunlight as it can result in discoloration of the garments.
Again, check the label to ensure if you can iron the clothes or not. There will be an iron symbol on the label. You need to check whether the symbol is crossed off or not.
- To iron woolen clothes, make sure you adjust the setting on the iron itself before beginning.
- The clothes should be completely dry before you iron them.
- Place the garment on the ironing board and lay a thin cloth over it. It's an added layer of protection while ironing woolen clothes.
- When you move the iron over the clothes, don't press on them. Be as gentle as you can.
- Never make the error of hanging your woolen clothes in the wardrobe.
- For storage purposes, always fold them properly and keep them in a cabinet or in boxes, or place them on a shelf that doesn't come in contact with the walls.
- Always add moth balls and cedar chips while storing woolen clothes. This will kill and repel insects.
- Once a year, lay your woolen clothes in the shade for at least a day to air it.
It may seem like a lot of work, but trust me, the steps don't really take that much time. Follow the guidelines mentioned in the article to take care of woolen clothes, and you will never have to worry about ruining them.