Wool sweaters are wardrobe essentials for the autumn/winter/spring months, but they certainly have a bad reputation for being difficult to wash! The good news is that washing wool jumpers is simple and isn’t as hard as it seems, especially when you’re using the right methods and the right laundry detergents. Here’s our guide to washing wool effectively and efficiently:
What temperature to wash wool?
As a general rule, wool jumpers should be washed at 30 degrees or less.
How to wash wool in the washing machine?
Wool sweaters can safely be washed in the washing machine using soft laundry detergents and machine settings that are designed to imitate the gentle actions of traditional hand washing.
- Place the wool jumper into the washing machine and add a laundry detergent like Persil Silk & Wool or Woolite Delicate.
- Set the washing machine to the hand wash cycle, or wool cycle. Your machine will automatically wash at cooler temperatures and will spin much slower to reduce the risk of damage to the material.
- After taking out from washing machine - always dry flat.
How to wash wool by hand?
As wool is such a delicate fabric, some people feel happier hand washing their wool jumpers than popping them into the washing machine. Both methods of washing are effective, so it comes down to your own personal preferences. If you would prefer to hand wash, here’s what to do:
- Fill a tub with warm (not hot) water and add a soft laundry detergent designed to be gentle on delicate fabrics, like Persil Silk & Wool or Woolite Delicate. Liquid detergents work best.
- Add the wool jumper and carefully swish the garment around the tub without stretching the material. Allow to soak for 10 minutes.
- Remove as much excess water from the jumper by rolling it into a ball and gently pressing – never wring out wool because the material could easily be stretched out of shape.
- Replace the soapy water with fresh, clean water and place the jumper into the tub to rinse. Swish in the same way you did when washing the jumper.
- Repeat the rinsing process with clean water as many times as needed to remove all traces of laundry detergent.
- Always dry flat.
How to ‘unshrink’ a wool sweater?
If you’ve accidentally shrunk our wool sweater, you may be able to save it from the charity bag or rubbish bin by gently ‘unshrinking’ it. While the jumper is still wet, lay it flat on some bath towels and carefully stretch the material, securing the edges with sewing pins, then leave to dry. This method of ‘unshrinking’ should only be used as a last resort – there is a risk of damage, and it may not be possible to get the jumper looking exactly the same as it did before. Remember that correct garment care is always the best option!
IMPORTANT: Never hang wet sweaters vertically on cloth line, chair etc. because the material will stretch.