How to take care of a wool garment.
Take heed!

Taking care of a wool garment isn't difficult - you just need to know some basic information about the characteristics of wool.

Basically - you must always follow the washing instructions on the label, but the following background information will let you know why you need to heed the instructions every time you wash.

Wool is generally a weak fiber, though clothing is sometimes made stronger by the addition of recycled wool fibers.

Wool is very elastic. It stretches very well, which is why wool sweaters are so comfortable to wear. The exception to this rule is when wool fibers are felted. Felting alters the fibers permanently and results in a non-stretch fabric.

The care of a wool garment obviously includes its cleaning. At first it will seem that wool repels water, but it will soak up a lot of liquid! Wool can absorb up to 20% of its weight without feeling damp, which is why it is often used in outdoor clothing.

Dirt does unfortunately tend to stick to wool fabric. Smells also stick to wool too, so to take care of a wool garment properly you should clean it often.

Some wool fabric is washable, as it will have been treated to help prevent shrinking. Again - read the label instructions to give your wool garment the best care.

To help take care of a wool garment, if the instructions say so, you should wash it in cold water with a wool friendly detergent. Use only a mild soap or detergent. The cold water will help control the possibility of shrinkage.

You should never pull or wring out a wool garment while it is wet. Wool loses about a quarter of its strength when it is wet. You should lift it gently from the water and squeeze out as much water as possible.

Lay it out on a thick dry towel, roll up the towel and squeeze the roll to remove more water. Unroll the towel and spread out your wool sweater on a dry towel or flat surface. You may need to move it back into shape. Allow it to dry naturally. This may take some time, as wool dries slowly.

When taking care of a wool garment NEVER use a household bleach containing sodium hypochlorite. You can use detergent which contains hyrogen peroxide, but I would use it VERY sparingly if at all.

Wool sweaters (woollens) are more likely to shrink than wool suits (worsteds). This is partly because of the length of the fibers and the twist used to make the yarn. Shrinkage is also affected by whether the yarn or fabric was pretreated.

Perspiration weakens wool, so your care of a wool garment should include regular dry cleaning or careful washing.

Mildew can form on wool if it is left in damp conditions.

Moth larvae and carpet beetles can damage wool. To help prevent moth damage to your wool garments you can...

  • brush your garment daily after wearing
  • take your garment out in the sun often
  • dry clean it before storing it in an airtight cold place (max. 40F, 4C)
  • hang moth-balls, flakes or cakes above the clothing in an airtight place
  • use a moth repellent spray containing fluoride or silico-fluoride

Moth-balls do not repel moths, but will kill moth eggs and larvae if the air around the garment is saturated and the container is airtight.

Finally, wool will not burn easily. It will smoulder but does not burst into flames or melt, as can other fibers, once flames are removed.

So - that should tell you all about how you can take good care of a wool garment. Read it over again and you'll probably find more information that you missed the first time. I think it's all pretty fascinating - but then again, I love wool - so there you go!

Remember - take care of your wool garments and they will take care of you!

Click here if you didn't take care of a wool garment and shrunk it!
Return to Homepage from Care of a Wool Garment