Regular laundry detergents contain ingredients that help remove dirt and stains from heavily soiled clothes, but, at the same time, turn the washing solution into an alkaline wash. Alkaline solutions can affect the dyes that are used in wool and can result in the fading or running of bright colours. High quantities of alkaline solution can even attack the basic wool fibre, leaving the whole structure of the garment weakened and susceptible to breaking and stretching. This not only means your garment will wear out faster, but it also won’t look or feel as nice.
This is why it is imperative that you use OMO intelligent laundry detergent when washing your woollen items. We will give you more information on how to use OMO when washing wool below. Washing Tip: Do not use hot water when washing woolens as it can cause dyes to run and damage the wool fibres. Instead, the water should be at a temperature that is comfortably warm to the touch. Avoid letting water run directly on to your woolens as this can matt the wool fibres.
Can I Machine Wash Wool?
Wool is a delicate fibre and should always be handled with care. Some wool garments are machine washable (but always check the label carefully first). However, before putting any woolen items into the washing machine, make sure of the following:
The care label states that it is machine washable (if it says dry-clean only, then you should not wash it yourself at home).
The directions on the care label are followed.
The correct wash program is followed – the gentler the better. If in doubt, check the machine manufacturer’s instruction booklet. If you have a hand wash setting on your washing machine, even better. But ensure that although you are using a hand wash setting, you only use OMO automatic laundry detergent products.
If the wool garment is not machine-washable or if you are in doubt, hand wash. This should be done by gently massaging the garment in a washing tub or bucket for a few minutes and then gently squeezing it to get rid of as much water as possible.
Rinsing: Be Gentle
After hand washing, rinse woolens well. Have the water at the same temperature as for washing. Squeeze gently to remove as much water as possible.
Drying: Do Not Spin Dry Delicate Wools
How do you choose your cleaning products?
The spin cycle of a washing machine is not recommended for very delicate wools, such as mohair and angora. Instead, simply roll in a towel and gently squeeze out as much water as possible. To remove excess moisture from other types of wools, you can use a very low spin cycle (check your care label for instructions). When the excess water has been removed, turn the garment inside out and place on a flat surface to dry, easing it into its original shape and size. Make sure that you dry woolen garments away from direct sunlight to prevent discolouration. Never dry woolen items in a clothes dryer, or near a fire or radiator.
Ironing: Steam’s The Thing
Many woolen garments do not require ironing, but very smooth fabrics may look better if pressed. Always make sure that you use moist heat. If a steam iron is not available, place a clean, damp cloth on top of the garment and iron lightly, lifting and lowering rather than pushing it along. Do not iron wet garments; wait until they are dry or nearly dry.
Acrylics are prone to stretching, so take care to follow the care label instructions on each garment carefully. It could mean the difference between a cardigan that fits like a glove and a cardigan that just hangs baggily.
Trimmings on garments can affect how they are washed, or which product is used. For example, if a garment has a leather collar the care label may say ‘Dry Clean Only’ even if the rest of the garment is washable.
Have you ever experienced a faux pau when trying to wash wool or acrylic fabrics? Or perhaps you have some more great wool and acrylic fabric washing tips? We’d love to hear from you.
More laundry tips.