How to Wash Wool at Home
Wool is a remarkable fibre.
Not just because it's warm and breathable, but because it's one of the more sustainable fabrics out there. Wool is 100% natural, renewable and biodegradable. Not only that but wool is also one of the only materials that has been running a 100% profitable circular economy successfully, for more than 200 years.
Maybe it’s our respect for wool that makes us a bit nervous to give it a wash or perhaps it was that one time we threw our newly–purchased vintage jumper in the wash and shrunk it. Yep, that’s probably it.
Whether you’re washing your favourite woollen blanket, sweater or scarf, we’ve got all the right tips and tricks to make sure doing it right. Like any other delicates, it’s important to take care and follow the garment instructions to avoid damage or *gasp* shrinkage of your favourite winter woollies.
Wool is a strong and naturally durable fibre, meaning it’s made to last but you’ve gotta do your part too. And fun fact: it’s actually easy to wash.
How to spot treat stains on woollen garments
Spotted a pesky little stain on your favourite blanket or jumper? No need to go all out, simply…
- Rub some Wool and Delicate Wash detergent directly onto the stain, then agitate with your fingers.
- Fill a sink with lukewarm water (around 30°C) and add a bit more detergent.
- Soak for 15 minutes and check the stain.
- Empty the water and refill the sink with clean water, rinse and repeat if necessary.
- Squeeze out the excess water, roll in a towel for absorption and hang near (not on) a direct source of heat to dry.
Watch us spot treat a stain in action here.
How to wash wool with a washing machine
Washing your woolly clothes in the washing machine doesn’t need to be scary. In fact, it’s actually a really simple, safe and efficient way to clean your woollies. Just make sure you double check the garment care instructions before you get started.
- Add your woollen garments to the washing machine and wash them on the wool setting (lower speed spin and gentler action at 40°C or under). If you don’t have this setting, a cold water wash or delicate wash will do.
- Use our Wool and Delicate Wash detergent, made especially for your precious fabrics.
- Flat dry your garments after washing or tumble dry (if it’s a-okay on the care instructions)
How to hand wash wool
Hand washing your wool might sound like a burden, but it’s more straightforward than it seems – all you need is 15 minutes and a can-do attitude.
- Fill a sink or tub with clean, lukewarm water and add our Wool and Delicate Wash detergent.
- Turn your wool garment inside out and add it to the sink or tub, letting it soak for 10 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly in lukewarm water.
- Flat dry your garment as above, and go about your business!
Still feeling a little nervous about washing your wool at home? Here are our answers to some of the more common questions we receive about washing wool.
Should wool be washed in hot or cold water?
Wool is best washed at lukewarm temperatures. Anything hotter than 40 degrees will cause your wool to felt and shrink. Anything colder than 20 degrees, and your wool will pill.
Woolmark recommend that you wash your wool garments at 40 degrees, so we know 40 degrees is technically safe. But we would suggest starting a little cooler than that.
The reason is, wool is commonly blended with even more delicate fibres like cashmere, which will only withstand temperatures of up-to 30 degrees for short periods of time.
To be safe, just go for 30 degrees or "cool" settings if you can't control the temperature, and reserve pushing the dial up only for when you're sure of your garment blend, and you have some stains you really need to move (higher temps = better stain removal).
Do I need a special detergent to wash wool?
Absolutely. Most detergents that clean clothes well, contain enzymes. Enzymes are superpowers at breaking down protein, each target a specific type.
Wool, is a protein fibre. So is silk, and cashmere and anything else developed from animal fibres.
Many types of enzymes will not be ale to distinguish protein in your wool jumper from protein in your stains, and just break it all down.
Our wool and delicate wash contains a special blend of enzymes to maximise cleaning power but leave fabric proteins alone. The cleaning prowess of this detergent is not as strong as our regular detergents, but it will absolutely leave your clothes in tact. Other wool and delicate washes omit enzymes all together, which will diminish their performance even more, but again - keep your wools snug and sound.
Can wool be washed with other clothes?
The only thing to worry about is that wool doesn't get get caught in things like zippers and hooks, so if you're sharing the load between wools and delicates - just make sure you have the zippers and hooks zipped up/ done up and better yet, tucked away in a delicates bag.
Can I wash wool doonas / blankets?
Absolutely you can. Just make sure you use a special wool and delicate detergent, and follow the hand washing instructions above.
And there you have it, a simple guide to wash and care for your wool at home. For a more detailed read on how to hand wash your wool and delicates like a pro, click here.