Natural wool is one of the oldest fibres around. It’s been used by humans for centuries, and rightly so. It absorbs and releases moisture, doesn’t itch, smell or crease and is stain and fire resistant. It’s also a sustainable and renewable resource. However, not everyone knows the correct ways to machine wash woollies. With winter right around the corner, now is the time to start freshening up those knitted jumpers, cardigans and blankets.
The laundry specialists at Fisher & Paykel have some advice on machine washing wool products correctly.
Check the garment care label says ‘machine washable’ and has the Woolmark™ logo. Machine-washable wool is safe to wash at home as its been pre-treated with a mild, thin resin spread evenly over the fibre surface before spinning. This prevents shrinkage. If the label doesn’t state ‘machine washable’, the garment could shrink.
Always separate your dark and light colours before washing, as well as when they are wet. Wash your garments inside-out and use a mild liquid wool detergent. Avoid bleach and fabric softeners as bleach dissolves wool fibres and fabric softeners encourage wool fibres to pill. Fabric softener can also coat wool fibres in a residue that reduces the wool’s natural ability to breathe and regulate moisture and temperature.
Wash your woollens in 30 to 40-degree-temperature water to ensure no heat damage. For best results, use a washing machine with a Woolmark™ approved specialist wash cycle. It will help you care for your woollen garments with confidence.
Shake out and reshape your machine-washed woollens before laying them flat to dry. Use a cool or wool setting if they need ironing, and always use steam heat and avoid ironing the fabric when it is totally dry. Once dry, knits should be gently folded and kept flat in drawers or on a shelf, as hangers can alter the stretch and shape.
At the end of winter, wash your woollens before placing them into an airtight container or bag, as any residue of food stains or body oils can attract moths.
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