Can I Wash A Wool Blanket?

How to wash wool in a washing machine

Can I wash wool in a washing machine? The answer is yes. Washing wool is really easy and many wool garments can be machine washed, meaning more time to do the things you enjoy. If your Woolmark-approved garment’s care claim says that you can machine wash your piece of wool clothing, then it means it can safely be machine washed in a washing machine multiple times, without shrinkage taking place.

  1. Wool garments should be washed on the wool setting (usually gentle action at 40°C). If your washing machine does not have a wool cycle, use the cold water wash or wash cycle for delicates.
  2. Use a neutral, mild detergent that is preferably Woolmark recommended (look for the Woolmark symbol on the packet).
  3. It is recommended that garments are flat dried after washing.

You may even notice that your washing machine or tumble dryer has the Woolmark Apparel Care symbol on it, which means that your machine has passed rigorous and independent testing and has been approved by The Woolmark Company.

                        The Wake Up and Care for W

The Wake Up and Care for Wool Show with Frances How to hand and machine wash wool

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How to Clean and Care For a Wool Blanket

Washing your wool blankets is not the only way to keep them clean and fresh. You can keep wool blankets for many years if you care for them correctly.

Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Air out your wool blankets. Ventilation is the best way to keep wool blankets fresh. Take your blankets outside and shake them out. Hang the blankets somewhere with air flow, as this will loose dirt and dust from the threads of the blanket. You can shake the blanket again before bringing it back inside.
  2. Use a soft-bristle brush. Lay the wool blanket on the floor and brush in the direction of the grain. The wool fibers will lay in the same direction, enhancing the look of the blanket. Furthermore, the bristles can help remove any stains or soil that were being held in the threading.
  3. Depilling. When the natural fibers of your wool blanket start coming loose, little balls-or pills-form. Wool clothes tend to pill. Pilling is the result of friction. In other words, the more you use your wool blanket, the more likely pills will form. You can get yourself a special de-pilling comb, also called a bobble remover, to untangle the fibers, leaving a smooth, soft surface behind.

You can do those three steps together or separately, depending on how much time you have.

But what about spot cleaning a wool blanket?

Obviously, simply airing out and brushing wool is not always going to remove small stains or make them less noticeable. Wool is naturally water-repellent, but that does not mean it is invincible against droplets of coffee or juice. As soon as you spill something on wool, you want to spot clean as soon as possible.

You will need three things: vinegar, a mild or pH-

You will need three things: vinegar, a mild or pH-neutral laundry detergent, and a spray bottle. Then, follow the steps below.

  1. Make Your Cleaning Solution. In the spray bottle, mix together 1 part vinegar and 2 parts cold water. Do not use hot water, since that can shrink the fibers. Bonus: vinegar helps remove any musty odors.
  2. Treat the Stain. Spray the stained area and blot it gently with a clean washcloth. Spot test the blanket first to see if the dye comes off. If it does, you will need to follow the directions for having your wool blanket dry cleaned. If the vinegar and water solution is not effective, you can try mixing cold water with the pH-neutral detergent instead. Repeat the same process of spraying and blotting dry. The stain should gradually disappear.
  3. Dry the Area. Once the stain looks less noticeable, take a dry cloth to remove excess moisture from the wool. Then air out the blanket, letting it dry.

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How to dry wool

Drying your favourite wool garment is easy. Follow these simple steps and your clothes will look, feel and smell as good as new in no time.

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How to Hand-Wash Wool

Fill the sink or a bucket with cold or tepid water and add your wool wash or shampoo. Submerge the garment and gently swish it around (again, don’t rub or wring as this can cause the wool to felt). Leave the garment to soak for ten minutes and then rinse through twice with cold or tepid water. Always make sure the wash and rinse water is the same temperature.

How to wash wool by machine in 3 steps

Good news: Boyd and Whiting reassure that the washing machine isn’t off limits for washing wool garments. Once again, though, you just need to be careful.

1. Place the knit in a mesh washing bag

This is to save it from snagging and becoming your most-loved cozy clump of yarn.

2. Choose the appropriate setting

“Select the delicate cycle on the machine, and make sure the water temperature is cold and the spin is on low,” says Boyd. “You can shrink or felt an item by overly agitating it if your machine is on a setting that’s too high or hot.”

3. Take your knit out of the wash as soon as it’s done

“Once the cycle is complete, remove the sweater right away to reduce wrinkling,” Boyd says.

Can I Spin Wool in the Washing Machine?

If the care label on your garment says it is hand-wash only then you should also avoid spinning it in your machine. If it’s machine washable wool then we’d always recommend using a spin cycle of 400rpm or less.

Wool Washing Techniques

Hand Wash

With that in mind then, hand-washing your wool sweaters is the safest method for cleaning them so it is the method we will go over first.

To get started, add two capfuls of a gentle cleaning agent like wool and cashmere shampoo to a container of room temperature water. Turn the sweater you are going to wash inside out, submerge it in the water, and gently agitate it with your hands so that the cleaning agent is thoroughly worked through. Then, soak the sweater for at least ten minutes and up to half an hour. After you’ve done this, you can rinse the sweater by running cool water through it and when the water is no longer soapy, you’ll know that the garment is thoroughly rinsed.

Before drying the rest of the way, you can take some of the excess water out of the sweater by applying gentle pressure. Keep in mind that you should never wring out a wool sweater as the excessive agitation is definitely going to distort the fibers and might have the potential to cause some felting. By the way, if you see any visible color in your basin of water, don’t worry. The garment has just released some of the excess dye and you’re not going to see any visible loss of color in the garment when you wear it again.

Delicates laundry bag
Delicates laundry bag

Machine Wash

First, turn your sweater inside out. Roll it up as tightly as you can, don’t bunch it but roll it, and then put it inside of a mesh washing bag which should also be rolled as tightly as possible and secured with a safety pin if necessary.

This preparation is done with felting in mind, simply stated, if the sweater is rolled up tightly, it’s not going to move around and it’s not going to come into contact with other garments’ fibers or with its own fibers to a certain extent. Therefore, the risk of felting is greatly minimized. Also, we turned it inside out because if any felting or pilling does happen to occur, it’s only going to be visible inside of the sweater, not the outside. Putting wool items into their own mesh bags is also beneficial for your washing machine as felt fuzz from loose wool items could clog up the machine. Therefore, having things in mesh bags is good for your garments and your machine.

Wool & Cashmere Shampoo
Wool & Cashmere Shampoo

Next, add the appropriate amount of wool and cashmere shampoo, depending both on the size of the machine as well as the load in question. Also, you don’t have to worry about using the delicate or woolen cycle on the machine or worry about spin speed. As long as you’ve got the wool sweater tightly compacted inside the mesh bag and the bag itself is also tightened down, the express cycle on the machine will be just fine.

Once the washing machine is finished, promptly remove your garments both from the machine and from their mesh bags to reduce creasing.

The Drying Process

As we mentioned before, don’t use your dryer. Remember, that’s the location where felting is most likely to occur. Rather, what you should do is lay out your garments flat on a drying rack and leave them there to dry. With the garments in its natural shape, roll up the towels slowly like a sleeping bag using gentle pressure to get out some of that excess water. Wait a few moments, unroll the towel and then put the garment on the rack as normal.

While your sweater is on the drying rack, you can reshape or block it using gentle pressure with your hands. Once you’ve gotten into the shape you desire, just leave it on the rack and then it should dry that way. Avoid placing your garments in direct sunlight or near heat sources like a radiator because this could increase the risk of yellowing as well as shrinkage. Also, you should never hang your wool garments to dry them because gravity will pull on the water that’s left in the garment, unevenly spreading out the fibers and distorting the garments over time. Using a drying rack is your best course of action. The process for washing really is that simple.

How to wash wool blankets, sweaters and more in the washing machine

If you’re pressed for time and you’d rather find out how to wash your wool scarf, socks or beanies in the machine than the sink, this can still be a good option.

However, it’s not a good idea to just pop them in the wash as you would your normal laundry load. Remember that wool is quite delicate, and it requires a little extra attention when being machine washed. Here’s what to do:

  1. 1. Put your woollen items into the washing machine drum

    You might want to use a laundry bag to add an extra layer of protection. Laundry bags are made of mesh, which allows the detergent and water to saturate and clean the clothes, but protects delicate fabrics from the internal workings of the machine; preventing snagging and damage. If you’re here to find out how to wash wool blankets, or large bulky sweaters, be careful not to over-fill the machine. If the drum is too full, it’s harder for the water and detergent to get around the clothes and they might not get an even wash.

  2. 2. Add a mild laundry detergent and fabric conditioner to the detergent drawer

    You could also use a machine-compatible dosing device which sits on top of your laundry load and is distributed around the machine during the wash cycle. Never pour detergent directly onto the hat or scarf as the wool could absorb the detergent, and your load may not be washed evenly. Don’t skip the Comfort fabric conditioner — it’ll help protect your wool garments from friction in the washing machine and leave them irresistibly soft afterwards!

  3. 3. Pay special attention to the settings you choose for the wash cycle

    The temperature should be set to cool or warm, not hot, so use a temperature setting of 30 degrees Celsius or less for best results. If your washing machine has a delicate or hand wash setting, make use of this. It ensures a more gentle agitation rather than a vigorous spin, which helps to protect your wool from damage.

  4. 4. Dry flat, or by hanging from a clothes line

    Avoid the tumble dryer: too much heat and friction in drying could easily lead to shrinkage. When your woollens are still a little bit damp – not wet but not yet completely dry – gently shape them with your hands so that your items dry in the right size and shape.

These tips also apply if you’re looking for how to wash merino wool. However, if you’re washing a wool scarf or jumper that’s actually made from cashmere or another delicate hair-based yarn like angora, slightly different methods apply.

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