One of our favourite natural textiles, high-quality wool is warm, breathable and soft to the touch. We mainly use it for knitwear and suiting. Due to the more delicate nature of its fibre and the construction of knitted items, woollens require particular care be taken when washing and drying. Make sure you’re especially gentle with garments made from merino and cashmere wool. Woollen suits should always be dry-cleaned.
Wool is a natural fibre that doesn’t absorb stains as readily as clothing made from other fabrics, so it won’t need washing as often. Before you wash, check whether your woollen item actually needs washing, whether in the machine or by hand. If there is dirt or a stain, it can often be brushed or dabbed out before it settles. Always use cold or warm water; hot water can cause them to shrink - a disaster that anyone who’s ever pulled a suddenly child-sized jumper out of their machine will recognise.
If handwashing, avoid vigorous scrubbing or wringing, try not to run water directly onto the item, instead fill the sink and place the garment in. Soaking woollen clothing in cold water before you wash it can also help to stop these items from shrinking. In general, heat and agitation will shrink and damage wool. Use gentle laundry liquid, or one specially designed for wool, like the ecostore's delicate wool wash.
Merino is fine fibred wool, so it’s softer than other woollens. But like other woollens, it should be gently hand washed or washed on a delicate machine cycle. It shouldn’t be soaked or washed in hot water and should be dried in shade. Try turning merino garments inside out before washing to preserve their quality. While using a washing machine is possible, this does put stress on a garment and risks yarn pulls. A mesh laundry bag can be used to minimise this. Make sure you set your machine to a “wool” or “delicates” cycle.
Avoid tumble drying wool clothing as this can damage the fibres, instead dry your knitwear flat - lay it on a towel or across a clothes rack, out of direct sunlight so it won’t fade. Hanging a wet jumper on a clothesline can cause it to stretch, and dryers can cause shrinkage and stretch. Woven woollen items like trousers can however be hung to dry. Particularly fine knits may require an iron after washing and drying - do so on a cool “wool” setting. Steaming also works well.
Ensure your woollen garments are clean before you put them away, as this helps prevent moths from attacking your jumpers. Fold your knitted jerseys to store them, so that they don’t stretch on the hanger. Sachets of lavender tucked in your drawer or hanging in your closet (for suiting) are a good natural deterrent.
Some woollens are made from a blend of textiles - such as lambswool, merino and some synthetics. Wool blends tend to pill more, so we recommend investing in a Sweater Stone for regularly de-pilling your garments.