When you’ve got a favourite woolly jumper you don’t ever want to see it go. There are lots of things that make wool such a long-lasting and comfortable fabric: it’s breathable, durable, and warm. Whether it was knitted by your mum, bought on holiday, or is one of our range of luxury woollen jumpers there are a lot of pitfalls that you can fall into if you are not fully clued up on how to give your knitwear the TLC that it requires.
Don’t wash everytime you wear
Wool is wickable, unlike cotton. This means that the fibres form natural wicks and diffuse any sweat out and away from your skin, rather than just absorbing it. This is partly the reason that wool is so comfy and warm. It also means that you don’t need to be quite as meticulous about washing your woollens every time that you wear them. In fact, this might damage the fibres by causing them to stretch out. You don’t really need to wash wool unless it is has a smell or there is a visible stain.
One of the annoying things about using natural fabrics is that lots of things think they are as yummy to eat as they are comfy to wear. If you are putting clothes away for a long time then you will almost certainly need to put some form of moth repellent in with them. As nostalgic as we are for the smell of naphthalene mothballs, they are very bad for you and are banned in Europe. Fortunately, there are lots of alternatives which you can use instead, and they smell nicer than the chemical mothball.
The traditional remedy is to use cedar wood chips or a cedar wood block. These have a fantastic smell, with cedar often used as a base note in fine perfumery. Wood shavings are also available to buy and are easier to distribute. However, they may not last quite as long as a wood block.
Another option is to use dried lavender. Moths seem to hate it and when you come back to get your clothes later they will have a wonderful smell. It’s a win-win really!
On top of moth-proofing your clothes, when it comes to longer term storage it is essential that you do it properly. If you are putting your wools away for summer you should wash them carefully and then put them in an air-tight container with plenty of bags of dried lavender.
We’ve avoided this long enough! The bit everyone is scared of. The most important thing is to read the label carefully. It can be a bit of a struggle to work out what all those shapes and signs mean, so make sure you carefully look at a guide.
Any small stains can be hand washed by lightly applying cold water to them. If they are particularly persistent then you might want to add a very small amount of washing detergent just get anything coloured or pungent out of the fibres. Make sure you get some that is non-bio though! Wool is hair, and made of a tough protein called keratin, the same as nails. While wool is amazingly durable it won’t last if it is repeatedly washed with a bio-detergent. It might even be worth investing in a wool specific detergent if you want to really keep them spic and span.
It is preferable to handwash wool in lukewarm water, but if you do need to put your clothes in a washer make sure that they are on a low heat and a low spin cycle.
If you are still anxious about washing your wools, or if it is a large item like a coat then it may be easier to get it dry-cleaned.
Finally don’t hang your wool out like normal clothes. It will stretch out as wool tends to get fairly heavy when soaked in water. Placing your garment between two dry towels for a while will help to get the worst of the moisture off, and then get a new towel and lay your clothes out on a clean, dry surface out of direct sunlight until they are dry. You do not need to wring out wool, and if you do you can alter or damage the fibres, affecting its longevity.
Invest in a brush and a depiller
Depilling is the process of removing the little blobs of wool that coagulate after a while. They can be small or quite large. By using a small brush and regularly going over your wools you can make them last far longer. You can even get electric depillers. This is definitely a very effective way giving your wool a shop-fresh look.
Lots of people have had a bad experience. Fortunately, these tips should help you learn how to effectively care for the woollen items in your wardrobe, meaning that they will last longer. Why not browse our selection of sumptuous merino wool jumpers for both men and women!