While living sustainably includes choosing eco-friendly materials like renewable and recycled wool, it's also about caring for what you already own, including your favourite blankets and scarves. Here's our approachable guide to washing wool. It's easier than you think and can be done at home. Discover our best tips and tricks for keeping your blankets and scarves as beautiful as the day you bought them.
Caring For Wool:
Wool is naturally breathable which allows any moisture it may pick up to dissipate. Lucky for you, this means you can get away with washing it less than other fibres, and less washing prolongs the lifespan of the material and is better for the planet. So before you try washing, have a go at letting your blanket hang outside for a couple of hours on a dry day to refresh your wool.
If your wool is stained in one place, try spot treating with a bit of wool soap. Wet the spot, then gently work the soap in the stained area. Remove soap and dirt with a cloth that does not leave lint behind. Instead of sponges and paper towels, try soft towels or an old pillowcase. Be sure to remove all soap by dampening the cloth and repeating the process.
When wool fibres become loose, they form little balls or pills. Pilling is a direct result of friction (which naturally occurs with movement), so the more you use your wool, the more likely it is to pill. Good news is, pilling is easy to take care of with a depilling comb (also known as bobble remover). Just glide the comb in one direction over target areas to leave renewed yarns behind.
Washing And Drying Wool:
Most wool can’t be washed in a machine because heat causes shrinkage and spinning can cause loss of shape, but thanks to the 30% landfill-saved fibres in our Recycled Wool, the dense, twill weave stays tight and only gets softer with each wash. Make sure to separate darks and lights and add wool soap and fabric softener (optional) to the dispensing drawer rather than to the drum. Run the “wool wash” if your machine has one under 30ºC (or 80ºF for our friends across the pond). If not, run a 30ºC or less cycle with the lowest possible spin cycle. You want to avoid friction as much as possible. If there is a stain, let wool soap sit on the spot for 10 minutes before washing. We can’t guarantee every machine will be able to wash a blanket without problems, but when we tried it ourselves they turned out just lovely.
Hand washing wool is pretty straightforward, and for the most part, you just let water and soap do its thing. Fill your sink or bathtub with lukewarm water (30ºC or less) and add some wool soap, which is a gentle laundry detergent specially made for washing wool and delicates. Mix it in well before adding your wool to the water. Submerge your wool into the soapy water, then let it soak for at least 10 minutes. We also highly recommend using this 10 minutes for a nice cup of tea.
Next, give your wool a gentle swirl and give any areas that need particular attention a gentle rub with your hands. Avoid rubbing the fabric together, like you might do when you hand wash other fabrics. Friction is the key thing to avoid with wool, as that is what causes shrinking and bobbling. Remove the wool and rinse twice with clean water.
The safest way to wash any wool textile is to have it dry cleaned.
Now, this is the bit where you need to take the most care. The last thing you want to do is stretch your wool by wringing it or hanging it to dry. Instead, press the water gently, and lay your wool flat to dry. To speed up the process, lay it on clean dry towels and roll your garment up like a swiss roll in order to squeeze out the excess water. Unroll your wool, reshape if needed, and lay flat to dry.
The best way to store your blanket is to fold it in a breathable container, like a cotton storage bag in a dark and dry place. Clean your blanket before you store it to prevent moths, which is especially important for cashmere. You can always pop some natural moth repellent into the container with your blanket and rest assured.