We love our winter woollies when the snow hits the mountain here in Hobart and you know you need something cosy to keep you warm. We sell lots of wool based winter jumpers, scarves and beanies instore, sometimes all wool and sometimes just a percentage wool. They are a good investment living in a cool climate and sort of essential! When I first moved to Tasmania (over 30 years ago!), one of the first things I learned was buy wool to keep warm! And it's totally true - it's a great tip and the best way to stay warm here in Tassie. So, it's good to keep all your woollens looking good so they last you for years, not just a season.
Here's our tips for keeping anything with wool in it looking great.
Most woollen garments whether they are 100% or just a small percentage are probably best washed by hand. Follow the garment instructions to make sure.
Wash gently in cool to warm water using a gently wool wash detergent. Don't use a fabric softener.
Often a front loader washing machine has a wool wash cycle on it that you can use for your woollens and I definitely use this for my woollens as I find it much easier than hand washing. I also find hand washing makes the jumpers very wet and hard to wring so a wool cycle on the washing machine helps with this.
I do however always use a wash bag or pillow slip to wash in and turn my jumpers inside out to wash. Separate darks and lights!
Often the labels say lay flat to dry and this works really well with heavier thicker jumpers but my finer jumpers that have been spun gently and have minimum water in them, I find work fine over a clothes horse in a warm spot. The important thing is to keep the shape and prevent stretching or distortion.
Dry away from direct sunlight or heat
If wool gets wet, dry the garment at room temperature away from direct sunlight or heat.
Sometimes you just don't need to wash but a good airing can work really well with wool. To remove cigarette or food odours, lay wool garments flat on a bed or towel for an hour. Woven garments may be hung in fresh air on a suitable hanger.
Hang wovens, fold knits
Woven wool garments should be hung on shaped or padded coat hangers. Knitted garments should be gently folded and stored in drawers.
One thing we need to touch on is pilling in woollens. Pilling (sometimes referred to as bobbling) is the formation of fuzzy balls on the surface of wool clothing, and often results in an unsightly or worn out appearance. Pilling happens with most woollen garments and is usually where the most wear occurs, like under the arms, sides, where a hand bag sits or where you rub against a seat or chair.
Why it occurs is complex but it is really common in woollen garments. It can occur easily especially if you are active and wear your wool garments lots. There are a couple of things you can do to prevent it and get rid of it. We always suggest that there are very few times you won't get it so best to know how to deal with it!.
How to prevent pilling when wearing wool
- Turn your wool clothes inside-out before washing
- Avoid using a fabric softener
- Try to minimise abrasion when wearing wool clothing
How to remove pilling in 3 easy ways
- If not too many pills have been formed then they can easily be removed by hand. This should be done routinely after drying, or just prior to ironing.
- A comb can be used to remove pills, but this should be done very gently and carefully. We find the simplest ones from the supermarket used carefully are the best.
- Small battery operated pill and lint removal devices known as either “de-pillers” or “fabric shavers” are low cost and very effective at removing pills, giving your clothing an as-new appearance again.
We find de-pilling regularly is the best and easiest way to keep wool garments looking best rather than letting it build up and having a big job on your hands.
The last word - Why wool?
Wool is a natural fibre usually from a sheep and has lots of great qualities. We love choosing wool and supporting Australian wool growers but it's also sustainable and renewable. It's beautiful to wear and actually keeps you warm!
Wool garments are naturally breathable right down to the fibre level. It has breathability so you won't feel clammy when you sweat when wearing it and and will prevent you from overheating. Wool helps keep you dry and wool fibres wick moisture away from your skin and can absorb around 30% of their weight before you feel wet.