How to Take Care of Woolen Clothes

Last Updated on May 17, 2023 by Ellen Christian

Learn how to take care of woolen clothes so your wool garments last as long as possible and retain their original shape.

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How to Take Care of Woolen Clothes

How to Take Care of Woolen Clothes

Wool is a natural fiber that is both durable and comfortable, making it a popular choice for clothing. However, woolen garments require special care to retain their shape and quality.

Always begin by reading the care instruction on any wool fabrics. Here are some tips on how to take care of woolen clothes.

Why does wool need special care?

Wool is a protein fiber that contains natural oils. These oils make wool garments water repellent and resistant to dirt and stains.

However, the oils can also cause the fibers to break down over time if they are not properly cared for. In addition, the natural elasticity of wool fibers makes them susceptible to stretching and shrinking.

Improper care can also cause wool garments to lose their shape. Follow the woolen care tips on the care label.

Learn how to take care of woolen clothes so your wool garments last as long as possible and retain their original shape.

How to wash wool by hand

To wash woolen clothes by hand, start by filling a sink or basin with cool water and adding a small amount of gentle wool detergent. Soak the garment for 10-15 minutes, then carefully squeeze out the water without wringing the fabric.

Next, rinse it in clean cool water. Again, squeeze out the water without wringing.

Finally, lay the wet garment on a clean towel and press it gently to remove any remaining moisture. Allow wool sweaters and other items to dry completely before wearing or storing.

a woman pouring laundry detergent into a washing machine

How to wash wool in the washing machine

If you prefer to wash your woolen clothes in the washer, start by setting the machine to the “gentle” or “delicate” cycle and using cool water. Add a small amount of gentle wool or mild detergent to the machine.

Place the garment in a mesh laundry bag before putting it in the washing machine to protect it from being damaged by the agitator. After the cycle is finished, remove the garment from the bag and press out any remaining moisture.

Hand washing wool is really the best option to avoid damage. Allow the garment to dry completely before wearing or storing.

Avoid washing woolen clothes too often. Wool is a strong fiber, but over time, washing can break down the fibers and cause the garment to lose its shape.

I have the best luck with this liquid detergent when I machine wash.

a small bowl of vinegar on the table

How to spot clean wool

To spot clean wool, start by dampening a clean cloth with cool water and gently rubbing the stained area. If the stain persists, mix together equal parts white vinegar and water in a bowl.

Dip a clean cloth in the mixture and use it to rub the stained area. Rinse the area with cool water and allow the garment to air dry completely.

Always look for stains each time you hand wash your clothes. You may need to have your item dry cleaned if you cannot get them out.

Drying wool clothes

After washing, never put a woolen garment in the dryer. Instead, lay the item flat on a towel and allow it to air dry. Laying flat allows the wool garments to keep their shape. Tumble drying will destroy them.

If you need to speed up the drying process, use a fan or hairdryer on a low setting. Never apply direct heat when caring for wool.

How to Use a Handheld Fabric Steamer the Right Way

Can I use a steam iron on wool?

Yes, you can use a steam iron on wool. Set the iron to the “wool” setting and hold the iron about six inches above the garment, moving it back and forth until the wrinkles are gone.

Ironing wool clothes

Woolen garments generally don’t need to be ironed, but if you must, use the lowest heat setting on your iron and be sure to protect the fabric with a press cloth.

It’s helpful if your iron has a wool cycle on it. You may want to try placing a thin cloth on top of woollen garments before you iron them.

You can also try hanging your wool item in a steamy bathroom to help get out wrinkles.

stacks of wool sweaters


Storing wool clothes

When storing woolen clothes, be sure to keep them in a cool, dry place. Moths are attracted to dirty or damp wool, so be sure to clean and dry your clothes before storing them.

Make sure your wool sweater is completely dry before you put it away. And, empty pockets of pants and jackets to avoid them being pulled out of shape.

You can also store them in a garment bag or airtight container to protect them from pests. Be sure they are gently folded and not wrinkled or pressed too tightly together.

You can store them inside out to protect them. Some people will wear a wool garment like wool sweaters more than once because they are not exposed to body oils.

How to hang wool garments

Wool garments can be hung, but they will stretch over time. If you must hang a wool garment, use wooden or padded coat hangers and avoid wire hangers, which can rust and damage the fabric.

Always store them in the closet and out of direct sunlight.

Carefully fold wool clothing

Folding is the best way to store woolen clothes long-term. Start by folding the garment in half, then fold in the sleeves. Fold the item in half again and then in thirds or fourths, depending on the size of the garment.

Once you’ve folded your woolen clothes, store them in an airtight container to protect them from pests and moisture. Be sure to label the container with the contents and date so you can rotate your garments and use them before they start to break down.

wool sweaters hanging in a closet

Use a professional dry cleaner for wool clothing

If you’re not confident in your ability to clean and care for woolen garments, you can always take them to a professional dry cleaner. Dry cleaners have the knowledge and equipment to clean woolen clothes without damaging them.

You can also try the home dry cleaning solutions for a do-it-yourself solution. Be sure to read the care instructions to be sure.

With proper care, your woolen clothes will last for many years. By following these tips, you can keep your garments looking their best.

More clothes care

Now that you know how to take care of woolen clothes, you may want to read these:

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