For those who love their wool, we certainly know why and thought we’d share a few proper care tips on this mutually treasured garment. Woollen sweaters were always our chosen favourites, because many of them could be lightweight without sacrificing much in terms of insulation. And if you cared for them right, they could last a lifetime or more. So listen up, this is how to properly care for this paradoxically sturdy but sensitive material, just for reference anytime you find yourself standing over a stained sweater at home.
How to keep loving your wooly knits from Lavish&Squalor:
First, general care.
Not to be read like an infomercial, but did you know that woolly goods rarely need a wash? The natural fibres breathe well, and are durable to such enemies as time and cold temperatures. With that in mind, soil and dust can be removed by brushing lengthwise with a garment brush. If the material is thinner, then we suggest blotting with a damp cloth (never rub) rather than a brush.
Wrinkles got you down?
It’s a good habit to hang your wool sweaters on a padded hanger for 24 hours before you wear it again; this posture allows the garment to naturally drop its wrinkles and look freshly steamed without having you go through the actual steaming process. If you can’t wait, we suggest only using a steamer to iron out the wrinkles, and even then, avoid direct contact with your clothing, and steam inside-out.
The down and dirty, let’s talk about stains.
First, fight down the urge to throw the offended piece of clothing into the nearest washing machine, because the best thing to do is also the easiest and most timely: damp, and blot. If you have a bottle of stain remover on hand then, well, we’re pretty confident you know what to do with it (and maybe a little miffed why you need to read this article, unless you’re just comparing notes). Otherwise, get a clean cloth, wet it with cold water, and blot away; the faster you get at the stain, the better. If it’s particularly bad, then we encourage the urge to throw it at the nearest dry cleaners as soon as you can to avoid everlasting trauma.
How to hand wash your wool goods.
To prep, soak in cold water; this will minimize any chances of shrinkage. Next, add your cleaning agent: avoid bleach like it’s the devil, instead, go for the mild, mild stuff, or even dilute regular detergent, because excess of suds is neither effective nor good for the material. Soak it for 3 to 5 minutes, and then give it gentle, loving squeezes to allow water to penetrate the fabric.
Let’s be clear about this: do not wring the garment. Ever.
When you’re done, drain, and do that loving squeeze thing again to remove as much excess water as you can. Then lay it flat on a towel to dry naturally. Avoid hanging when wet, as the weight from the water causes stretching (unless that’s a custom look you’re going for), and never put it in the dryer; if wool had a kryptonite, it would be heat, because anything hot causes it to shrink into something decidedly not your size.
The final word: storing.
Because wool is a natural fibres, it can sometimes be a favoured snack amongst insect kind. To avoid an unpleasant surprise, store in an airtight bag/container, and in a cooler room. If you have a cedar box, then you’re a fancy individual, and we like that since it’s a wicked piece of furniture that doubles as moth repellent without that awful smell. For those on a tighter budget, you can hang a couple moth balls in loosely woven fabric bags close to your pieces to ward off the frightfuls (not directly on it, just to be clear); be sure to air out such pieces well in advance before you wear them, to avoid wearing eau de mothballs as a cologne.
If you have any other questions, or you need clarification, don’t be shy, hit us up via our social media channels.