Wool is a durable material, but you still need to know how to look after it properly to ensure it lasts over time. Wool care is often synonymous with “complicated”, but it’s really not that difficult. Here are 5 tips to help you look after your woollen clothes with ease.
Tip number 1 : don’t wash your woollen clothes too often
The key to looking after woollen clothes starts long before the washing stage. Not only does wool absorb moisture and perspiration remarkably well, it also absorbs odours. Merino wool is often used in technical clothing or underwear, because it keeps you warm without making you sweat, and lets the garment breathe! As a result, you don’t need to wash your pullovers or other woollen garments every day – quite the opposite, especially if you’re wearing undergarments. On average, you can wear your woollen jumpers between 3 and 5 times before washing them. Obviously, this depends on you and your habits. If possible, alternate with 2 or 3 jumpers!
Our advice: leave your woollen garments to air-dry after use, preferably flat so as not to wrinkle them, and store them neatly folded in your cupboard once they’re completely dry.
Tip number 2 : Cold wash by machine or by hand
So, yes, if your favourite jumper gets stained, you’ll have to go through the dreaded washing stage. At this point, you have two options: machine wash or hand wash. Even if the processes are very different, here are 3 common steps to take to preserve and protect wool fibres:
Always turn your jumpers and clothes inside out before washing them.
Never use water that’s too hot, as this can damage the fibre and even cause your jumpers to shrink. The ideal temperature is 20 or 30°C, or even cold, taking care to avoid any sudden temperature changes.
Choose short machine programmes and don’t leave your woollen garments in the water for too long if you’re washing them by hand (the washing process generally takes 10 to 20 minutes at most).
In the washing machine: some machines have a special ‘wool’ or ‘delicate’ programme. Be careful, wool is very water thirsty and the fibres tend to become waterlogged during washing. For the sake of your washing machine and your pretty jumpers, avoid overloading the drum and limit the load to 2 or 3 large jumpers maximum. Some machines indicate the maximum number of kilos, which is very practical.
By hand: you’ll need a bit of patience, but this is the safest way to preserve your woollen clothes. Be careful to wring them out gently, though, and avoid twisting them as this could damage the wool fibres.
Our advice: if you’re a fan of the washing machine, don’t hesitate and put your jumpers in a net or a laundry bag to avoid damaging them. If you prefer to wash your jumpers by hand, avoid rubbing them together too hard when stains appear, as they will eventually disappear on their own.
Tip number 3 : use the right detergent
Once you’ve chosen your washing method, you’ll need to decide what to wash your woollen jumpers and garments with. The best way to do this is to buy a special “wool” or “delicate” detergent, which is perfectly suited to fragile materials such as wool or cashmere. The good news is that it’s easy to find in supermarkets.
Our advice: avoid using fabric softener, which could damage the fibres.
Tip number 4 : Dry flat and delicately
After washing, your woollen jumpers will be very heavy and waterlogged, especially if you’ve opted to wash them by hand. Hanging them on a hanger or with clothes pegs could totally distort them. They should be spun gently (avoid the tumble dryer) and dried flat in the open air if possible to preserve their shape.
Our advice: you should also avoid putting your clothes on a strong source of heat, such as the heater (even if it is tempting).
Tip number 5 : pack your woollen clothes carefully
Once your woollen garments are clean, it’s time to put them away properly. This tip is almost as important as the washing itself. To preserve your woollen jumpers for as long as possible, fold them neatly, even if you’re about to wash them. This will preserve the fibre and prevent pilling. If this does happen, don’t panic, it’s perfectly normal. Use an anti-pilling razor or anti-pilling roller before putting your woollen clothes away. Be careful not to pull the threads!
Our advice: sheep’s wool is a natural material and can therefore attract moths. To prevent moths from getting under the skin of your pretty woollen jumpers, use small lavender sachets in your cupboards.
With these 5 tips, you’ll be able to keep your woollen jumpers and clothes looking good for a long time!