No one can deny how comforting wool sweaters are, but without proper care, they can easily become worn out, stretched, and unappealing. In this article, we will cover how to wash wool sweaters properly so they can stay pristine and beautiful for as long as possible. Also, we will cover how to care for wool sweaters effectively, with guidelines on how to dry them, handle stains, and remove wrinkles.
How to Hand Wash a Wool Sweater
First, you want to start with wool-approved detergent, specialized wool cleaner, or even high-quality hair shampoo. Next, submerge your sweater in the bathtub of lukewarm water already mixed in with your wool cleaner of choice. Then soak the garment for anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. After that, drain the dirty water and rinse with cool, clean water for five minutes.
After you rinse it, fight the urge to wring your sweater out. The fibers in wet wool are weaker than dry wool and can easily be disfigured by the pulling and stretching from wringing. Instead, you should gather your sweater into a ball, like pizza dough, and press it onto the side of the sink or on your work surface to get most of the water out.
Washing Machine Options
You always want to check your sweater’s tag for the manufacturer’s recommendation on how to wash your sweater. If it’s not mentioned, or if you would like to try machine-washing your sweater anyway, here is an option for you. Turn your sweater inside out and then place it in a mesh washing bag before putting it in the washing machine. Following that, select the ‘wool’ setting, or ‘delicate’ setting if your machine has no ‘wool’ setting. Take care to make sure the water temperature is cold and the spin is low.
How to Get Stains Out
Another important part of how to care for wool sweaters is knowing how to address stains. Experts recommend that when there are stains in your wool fabric, you should gently massage stain remover into the area before you wash it. Resist the urge to scrub it with your fingers or a scrub brush. Even if you want to see a visual result, doing so will disrupt the weave or cause excessive fuzziness and unraveling.
How Often to Wash Your Sweater
How often you wash your sweater is up to you, but we do not recommend you do it after every time you wear it. If you wear your sweaters a lot, then washing them every 3-4 wears is a good starting point. If you don’t wear them much, then washing them once or twice a season would be perfect for you.
How to Dry a Wool Sweater
No matter what method you choose to wash your wool sweater, experts recommend you stay away from the dryer. Natural air drying is the best option for drying your wool sweater. When laying your sweater out to dry, avoid direct sunlight and direct heat so you won’t change or damage the garment accidentally.
Allow the garment to air-dry naturally on a flat surface. Line drying or drying on hangers will work also, but often it can cause your garment to stretch because of the weight of the moisture in the garment. It may work for the first few washes, but over time the sweater will grow in length and lose its shape.
The flat surface you use should be placed on a pale-colored or white towel free from lint. You can always use special garment drying mesh screens that can fit over the bathtub to speed up the drying process. When you place it down to dry, gently knead it back into shape after being wet, and remove as many creases or folds as possible while doing so.
How to Remove Wrinkles
If your sweater has a lot of wrinkles, don’t use an iron and instead reach for the steamer. This is important because fabrics like wool are more prone to wrinkles after the first few washes. Experts also recommend that you use the steamer in-between washes to fluff up the yarn and naturally refresh the fibers so your sweater can look its best.
“De-Pilling” Your Sweater
Another important thing about how to care for wool sweaters is knowing how to “de-pill” them. “Pills” refer to the little wool balls that form over time through wearing the sweater or through washing it. Martha Stewart’s blog recommends using sweater combs and sweater stones. They work far better than using a regular shaver because a shaver won’t discriminate between the pill and the textile and could potentially damage the whole area.