From the cosiest jumpers to the warmest blankets, wool is an amazing natural material. If you have wool products you love, you’ll want to keep them looking their best. But many people worry about how to wash wool because it can shrink and stretch if it’s not cared for properly.
Bethan John from The British Blanket Company specialises in selling wool throws and scarves, so she’s a bit of an expert when it comes to keeping wool looking its best. Read on for her 5 top tips to help you wash, dry and de-bobble wool effortlessly.
Step 1: HOW TO WASH WOOL
Check the label to see whether your wool can be machine washed, hand washed or if dry cleaning is recommended. When machine washing wool, only use a specialist wool cycle. This will be a cool temperature with minimal agitation in the drum. If the water is too warm and the machine spins too vigorously, wool fabrics can shrink as the fibres mesh together.
When hand washing wool products, cool water and a gentle detergent are recommended. Scrunch the wool fabric in the water without scrubbing or wringing, which can stretch the wool out of shape.
Step 2: CHOOSE THE BEST DETERGENT FOR WOOL
Wool should be washed with a delicate laundry detergent that has been specially formulated for fine fabrics. I prefer eco-friendly detergents that are made with natural ingredients, so they are kinder to the environment. KINN Living’s Neroli Eco-Friendly Delicate Laundry Wash is ideal for wool and silk, with the added bonus of smelling gorgeous too.
It’s better not to use fabric conditioner when washing wool. Fabric conditioners coat the wool fibres and the residue they leave behind can compromise the natural breathability of wool fabrics and increase bobbling.
Step 3: HOW TO DRY WOOL
Avoid wringing wet wool fabrics as this can stretch them out of shape. Instead, roll your wool blanket or jumper in a towel (a bit like a swiss roll) to remove excess water. Reshape whilst damp, then simply hang your wool jumper or blanket out on the washing line to dry naturally in the fresh air. If you’re packing away wool clothing over winter, add a handful of cedar balls to keep moths at bay.
Step 4: WHY YOU SHOULD NEVER TUMBLE DRY WOOL
No matter what you do, make sure you never tumble dry your wool as it will shrink! Wool is made from protein scales, and the combination of excessive movement and heat causes these scales to expand and catch on each other, causing felting. This is why wool shrinks when it’s tumble dried or washed at a high temperature.
Step 5: HOW TO DE-BOBBLE WOOL
If you’ve had your wool products for some time, you may notice small bobbles(pilling) forming on the surface. Bobbling caused by friction and use, not an indication of poor quality. You can get rid of these little bobbles with a special de-pilling comb, available online for about £5. Glide the comb over the fabric from time to time to gently shave off bobbles.
For helpful videos showing how to wash, dry and care for wool fabrics, check out The British Blanket Company on YouTube and visit thebritishblanketcompany.com for colourful and cosy wool blankets to brighten your home.