Mastering the wool wash
Forget knit nightmares and wool woes - caring for wool can be oh-so-effortless. With our definitive step-by-step guide, you’ll be able to master the wool wash in absolutely no time.
Home not away
It's not only possible to wash wool blends at home, but actually much better than going to the dry cleaner, which involves exposure to a destructive substance known as PERC, a neurotoxin associated with profound social and environmental hazards. Plus, dry cleaning wool can flatten the yarns and make them dull, while also often failing to remove odour or stains. Washing wool not only preserves and stimulates the natural oils, or lanolin, in the yarns themselves, it also gives the garment as a whole a naturally fresh look and feel. So cast aside your wool-washing worries, and wash at home with confidence!
Don’t wash often
How often you wash wool depends on the specific wool blend, but in most cases, we recommend only every 7-10 wears. This is because wool blends contain self-regulating fibres which need less frequent laundering than other fabrics. Plus, only washing when necessary will help extend the life of your pieces. You can remove any unpleasant odours with a light airing, as well as with a spritz of our lovely refreshing Finishing Spray.
Speedy spot check
If there’s only a small stain, spot-treat that one area to avoid a full spin. While raw and ecological wool are fairly resistant to stains, most other varieties of wool aren’t. Compared to synthetic fabrics, the risk of permanent staining is also high. So spot-treat as soon as a stain appears. Simply dilute some of our Wool, Silk & Delicates Wash in cool water and gently work it into the affected area using a clean cloth, then dab away the residue with another clean, wet cloth. Continue to dampen the cloth with cool water as necessary until the stain disappears. We also recommend treating the stain from the back, to push it out rather than in: treating a stain from the front can set it even deeper into the fabric.
Protect from snagging
Before you put your woollens in the wash, be sure to pop them in a mesh laundry bag. This will prevent unwanted snagging and stop your jumper unravelling back into a ball of yarn.
Wash with Kair
Avoid regular enzyme-based detergents - which will destroy the protein in the wool and leave your garment with small holes after a mere two washes - and instead choose our specially formulated Wool, Silk & Delicates Wash. It’s so important to only use detergents which contain the most gentle, caring and protective ingredients.
Keep it cool & spin it slow
While some care labels might instruct you to hand wash your wool garments to protect the seams or other sewn details (like lace, beads or sequins), it’s a myth that wool must be hand washed - the advice isn’t for the sake of the fabric, and even garments with a 100% natural fibre content can usually be machine washed without risk of shrinkage. Just be sure to select the wool or hand wash cycle, and keep it cool (no more than 40°C, or 20-30°C if recommended on the care instructions). The machine should never be more than half-full, but feel free to include lightly soiled cottons and synthetics.
It’s wrong to wring
If you’re machine washing, take your garment out of the drum immediately after laundering to reduce wrinkling and creasing. When drying, never wring out wool, which can otherwise damage the fibres and alter their shape. Instead, press or squeeze out as much water as you can, then roll the item in a dry towel to remove excess moisture. Reshape it if necessary while damp, then leave to dry on a flat surface - never hang wet wool. Avoid tumble dryers, as well as direct heat sources like sunlight or radiators, at all costs, as these can damage and shrink the fibres. If you want to speed up the drying process, simply roll it gently in a clean towel, then spritz with some Finishing Spray.
Hand wash embellished pieces
If your wool blends are embellished, embroidered, beaded or sequined, wash by hand in tepid water (30ºC - check out our step-by-step guide if you’re unsure of the method). As above, opt for our Wool, Silk & Delicates Wash, and be sure to let your garment soak in the water for 30 minutes before rinsing and gently squeezing out excess water.
Don’t fear colour run
If you’re hand washing your woollens and spot some colour in the water, simply keep calm and carry on! This is quite normal - it’s just the yarn dye releasing some colour, and won’t have any noticeable effect on the colour of your garment once you’ve finished washing.
Cover image by Alex Bramall