How To Care For Wool And Make It Last Longer
Our star fabric for January 2023 is wool. This beautiful material is natural, durable, moisture absorbent and gives us big Banshees of Inisherin vibes! Yet wool is much more than its rustic reputation, capable of being used in everything from plush modern beanies to comfy socks. Available in any number of warm colours, wool is a great pick-me-up for January.
You’ve probably heard all the claims about wool being ultra-long lasting and resistant to the sands of time. While that’s undoubtedly true, your wool garment simply won’t last as long if you go against the information located on the care label. That likely means washing on 30 degrees, no tumble drying and no softeners. Yet, we’re sure a sustainable customer like yourself will want to know even more about how to make wool last longer.
There’s no reason to be sheepish about wool care. Here are 4 easy tricks for keeping your wool garment in shape, both literally and figuratively.
1. Wash infrequently.
The single most important thing you can do to protect your wool garment is: wash it as infrequently as possible. Wool is a naturally breathable and absorbent material, and therefore doesn’t need to be washed as often as other fabrics. This is a matter of sustainability too - it’s been estimated that laundry accounts for around 30% of the carbon footprint of our clothing. So, only wash when absolutely necessary and spot-clean any stains that you pick up on the way. How? Lightly rub the affected area with a drop of detergent and a damp cloth.
2. Turn garments inside-out.
When you do come to wash your wool clothing, we recommend turning it inside out first. This step prevents the wool from pilling - when small knots of fabric gather on the surface of a garment - on the side you can see. Go one step further and put your delicate items (wool can be considered delicate) in clothing bags that prevent colour drainage and damage. Make your wool last longer by applying basic laundry care principles.
3. Don’t use regular detergent.
Natural materials prefer natural detergents. In particular you should make sure that yours doesn’t have enzymes in it, as this will cause wool fibres to disintegrate. If your detergent says “tough on stains” then it’s probably also tough on wool - and should be avoided! According to this breakdown, you’re better off choosing a pH neutral detergent that doesn’t contain bleach, enzymes or optical brightening agents. Or you can simply watch out for detergents that are especially made for wool care.
4. Use a wool brush to remove pills.
Wool garments will naturally pill over time. If you’re not a fan of these little balls of fabric, you can very easily remove them with a specially designed wool brush. A wool brush will not only help keep your wooly clothing in tip-top condition, it will also help you with tip number 1, removing any dirt that may have gotten into the wool fibres while you were wearing it.
5. Don’t get hung up.
You should always dry your wool clothing flat to preserve the garment’s original shape. It is also best to avoid wardrobe hangers, instead folding your garment along the seams to keep things in order. It’s very damaging for wool sweaters to be hung up, as this can completely warp the garment’s design and lead to holes forming in the fabric. Another key step in the road to taking care of your wool garments!
Further garment care
While these five tips form the foundation of good wool care, you can go even further by storing your woolen garments next to a block of cedarwood or cedar oil to avoid moths getting to them. If you prefer to keep them tucked away in summer (wool is actually a year-round material, contrary to what is believed!), then always do so with a natural fabric bag. This is better than polyester clothing bags, which are not breathable, and will avoid creating plastic waste should you need to dispose of the bag.
Keen to learn more about getting the most out of your fabrics? Check out this blog post covering the different types of sustainable fabrics that we use at TWOTHIRDS.