11 tips to wash and dry your woollen jumpers, scarves, gloves and beanies this winter
May 14, 2021. Washing your woollen jumpers and accessories is easier than you think. Wool is a natural fibre that is resilient, stain and odour resistant. You need to take care not to wash too much or too hot, and by following our tips below, your winter woollies will look as good as new for many winters.
1. Turn them inside out
Before you put them in the washing machine, turn your woollen jumpers inside out. This will maintain the integrity of the woollen fibres on the outside, so that your jumpers look and feel as new. Remember with wool, the more agitation on the fabric, the more scruffy they will look.
2. Wash less frequently
Woollens don’t need a wash after every wear. Wool is amazingly resilient and won’t absorb stains or smells easily. If you’ve worn your jumper a few times and it doesn’t look like it needs a wash, then don’t wash it. Instead, air it out a little and spot wash any stains.
3. Air your woollies regularly
Place your woollen jumpers outside in the sunshine or fresh air, hanging over a towel on a drying rack or flat. This will help to keep them fresh and remove any unwanted aromas.
4. Treat stains carefully before washing
Rather than placing the entire woollen garment in the washing machine, use some laundry soap or spray a gentle stain remover and leave for a few minutes. Then carefully and gently rub the stain until the stain lifts as much as possible. If its stubborn, let it sit for another ten minutes, and then rub gently again with some soap and water. If you rub too hard you will agitate the wool fibres causing them shrink.
5. Put beanies, scarves and gloves in a netted laundry bag
This will help to keep them from stretching out unnecessarily when getting tangled up with other clothes while in the washing machine.
6. Wash on lukewarm or cold and a gentle wash and spin cycle
Hot water and hot dryers will change the wool fibre and your garment may end up three times smaller than it was before. Wash either on cold or 40 degrees maximum. You can add your winter woollies to a dryer but make sure the dryer is capable of gentle heat cycles appropriate for woollens. If you’re not sure, then flat dry them in a warm position.
7. Dry away from direct sunlight
Dry wet woollens away from direct sunlight to give the wool fibres a chance to recover and return to their original shape without being rushed. Dry on a warmer day in winter in the shade, or a room inside where there is airflow.
8. Don’t hang to dry – lay flat
Don’t hand your woollens otherwise they will lose their shape. Dry them flat. You can place a towel on a table or a drying rack and lay your woollens over the towel.
9. Take care when ironing
Most woollens don’t need to be ironed but occasionally you’ll have a top or scarf that needs the wrinkles removed. Use a fine cotton cloth to place over your woollens when ironing them and always use the steam setting on the iron.
10. Store flat and folded
Never hang woollen jumpers or cardigans on hangers, this will stretch the fibres and your woollens will sag and lose their shape. Fold them neatly and store them in a draw with moth repellent (see below).
11. Prevent moths and other bugs
Dead skin cells, bodily oils and food stains in your woollens will attract moths and bugs who will have a feast. The answer is not to wash them after every wear, but to share and air them and then use a good quality moth repellent wherever they are stored, between washes.
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