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Washing Delicate Knitwear: Acrylics & Woollens

Taking care of woollens can be simple if you follow the right advice. Read on for the best solutions for properly washing and drying your precious wool garments.

While mainstream detergents for laundry are comprised of ingredients that will remove dirt from clothes, they also will create an alkaline washing solution.This is important if you’re washing woollens, since alkaline solutions could cause the dyes in woollens to fade or run.

At very high doses, solutions that are alkaline could even affect the structural wool fibers, which could weaken the material and potentially cause it to break. Not only could this cause your woollens to have a shorter lifespan, but they also won’t feel or look as good.

Wool socks are great for keeping your feet warm all winter long!
Wool socks are great for keeping your feet warm all winter long!

 

It’s best to use luke-warm water instead of hot water when washing wool materials since hot water could cause color running and damage the fibers. Try not to let water directly run on your woollens since this may cause the wool fibers to matt.

Woollens add a special comfort and warmth to life, and they must be properly cared for to keep them at their best.
Woollens add a special comfort and warmth to life, and they must be properly cared for to keep them at their best.

 

Machine or hand wash?

Wool should always be handled carefully since it is such a delicate fiber. While you always have to read labels carefully, some wool materials are indeed able to be machine washed. Regardless, make sure to follow this checklist before machine washing woollens:

Carefully read all care label instructions and make sure to use the correct settings before machine washing woollens.
Carefully read all care label instructions and make sure to use the correct settings before machine washing woollens.

 

  • The label specifies that the garment can be machine washed.

  • The label directions are followed precisely.
  • Make sure the proper wash cycle is followed, and that it is as gentle as possible. If you’re not sure, refer to the manufacturer’s instructional booklet.
  • If the woollen can’t be washed in the machine or you aren’t sure, hand wash it. To do this, gently massage the material in a bucket or tub for a couple of minutes and then gently squeeze out as much water as you can.
  • When wet, wool materials shouldn’t ever be wrung or twisted, since this can cause the material to get contorted beyond its original shape.
If your woolen garments can't be machine washed or you aren't sure, make sure to wash them by hand.
If your woolen garments can’t be machine washed or you aren’t sure, make sure to wash them by hand.

 

Be gentle when rinsing your woollens

After you’re done washing by hand, rinse your garments well with water that is the same temperature as when you washed. Gently squeeze out as much water as feasible.

Make sure to use clean, lukewarm water when rinsing your wool garments.
Make sure to use clean, lukewarm water when rinsing your wool garments.

Don’t spin dry delicate wool garments

It is not recommended that you use your washing machine’s spin cycle for delicate woollens made from materials like angora or mohair. Towel roll them instead and carefully squeeze out any excess water. If you want to use a spin cycle for other types of woollens, use the lowest setting, and make sure to check the label instructions first.

Make sure not to put your cat in charge of drying your woolens! Carefully check the care label on each garment before using the spin cycle, and even then, use the lowest possible setting.
Make sure not to put your cat in charge of drying your woolens! Carefully check the care label on each garment before using the spin cycle, and even then, use the lowest possible setting.

 

After removing any excess water, turn the material inside out and lay out on a flat surface for drying. This will gently ease the garment back into its original shape. When drying, keep the garments out of direct sunlight to avoid discoloration. Never dry woollens in a clothes dryer, or near a fire or radiator. Definitely never dry woollens in clothes dryers or near fires and radiators.

Direct sunlight should be avoided when drying wool garments in order to prevent discoloration.
Direct sunlight should be avoided when drying wool garments in order to prevent discoloration.

Ironing with steam

Most wool materials don’t have to be ironed, but certain smooth fabrics will look best if ironed before storing. When ironing, make sure to always use moist heat. If you don’t have a steam iron, top the garment with a damp, clean cloth and lightly iron, lowering and lifting gently instead of pushing along. Make sure to wait until your garments are dry before ironing.

Steam irons are ideal for woollens, but even if you don't have one, a regular iron coupled with a clean, damp cloth will work just fine.
Steam irons are ideal for woollens, but even if you don’t have one, a regular iron coupled with a clean, damp cloth will work just fine.

 

Washing acrylics

Acrylics tend to stretch, so carefully read and follow the care label instructions for each garment. The difference can span from cardigans that fit perfectly and those that just hang baggily.

Champion Delicate Fabric Wash
Champion Delicate Fabric Wash

 

The trimmings on woollens could affect how they get washed or which product you use. For instance, if a woolen has a collar made from leather, the care label may tell you to use a dry clean even if the other parts of the garment can be machine washed.