How to Wash Wool – the Best Way

How to Wash Wool – the Best Way

There is nothing better than a wool sweater for keeping out the winter chill. Everyone has their favorite 100% wool or wool blend sweater that has earned a prominent place in their winter wardrobe. However, eventually it is inevitable that the sweater will need to be washed. Doing so can strike fear even in the most experienced laundress. However, once you know how to do it properly, there is no reason to fear your size 12 sweater becoming a size 4. This article will teach you how to wash wool – the best way.

The First Thing

The first thing that you need to know is what causes shrinking and felting. Felting is the process were wool loses the ability for you to be able to see the individual threads and becomes a solid piece of felt fabric. Along with felting also comes shrinking. Wools from different sheep breeds have different amounts that they will shrink. Some wools shrink a lot, and others tend to shrink less. However, all wools will shrink some and the higher amount of wool in a blend, the more it will have a tendency to shrink. Felting and shrinking are caused by extreme temperature shocks and friction.

The first mistake that many people make is using a product called Woolite. Even though the name has wool in it, if you read the label, it tells you not to use it on fine woolens. This is because it is acidic and decreases the longevity of the fabric. If you find that you have spilled something, a solvent based stain remover such as Eucalyptus oil can take it out without harming the fabric.

Wash Them Inside Out

Sweater should be washed inside out to prevent pilling, which is the little balls of wool that appear on the outside of the sweater after washing. If the sweater does pill, often they can be gently shaved off with no harm done. Next, you need to run a container full of room temperature water. Do not add the detergent while the water is filling because you do not want to cause suds. Simply let the detergent disperse gently throughout the water. You can give it if swish if needed, but not a hard stir to cause bubbles. Next, lay the sweater in the water and allow it to remain there undisturbed for 10 or 15 minutes. The detergent does all of the work.

After 10 or 15 minutes, you can pull the sweater out. Do not ring or twist it, as this can cause it to stretch and get out of shape. It can also cause friction and some felting. Instead, you want to gently press the water out of the sweater on a surface that has been covered with several layers of towels. Next, you should lay the sweater flat to dry in a shape that is as close to its original as possible. One hint to get the sweater to dry faster is to lay it flat on top of your dryer while you are drying another load of clothes. The extra heat helps to evaporate the water more quickly.

There you have it, this is the best way to treat your fine woolens and wool blends. After your sweater is dry, you want to make sure to fold it carefully and stack it on a shelf. Never hang a sweater on a hanger as it will stretch out of shape. If you accidentally get a loop or snag the sweater, you can pull the loop to the back with a hooked needle. Give it a twist and no one will ever know it.


Nothing beats wool for its ability to stretch, its breathability, and its ability to dissipate moisture away from the body. Wool is long-lasting, resilient, and easy to care for once you know the right techniques. There is no reason to be worried about washing wool if you keep these principles in mind. Using these techniques, you can maintain your wool clothing in its optimal condition and enjoy it for many years to come.

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