Every winter, millions flock to stores to purchase woolen items to keep them warm as temperatures drop during the season. This type of fabric is among the most expensive types of garment material due to its high quality, production cost, and delicacy. However, if cared for properly, woolen items may provide a lifetime of warmth to their owners.
Here are four tips to washing your washable wool blanket.
1. Use soaps intended for washing wool
Wool is one of the most delicate kinds of fabrics and as a result requires gentle soap or detergent which will not strip away the oils trapped within its fibers. These oils are essential for keeping the fabric looking as lovely as the day you bought it. Any detergent which claims to be “heavy duty” or contains enzymes and bleach will only harm the fabric. Opt for soaps and detergents such as Woolite which are designed for washing woolen products. Alternately, detergents suitable for babies and other pH neutral soaps may be used. If you must use powdered soaps, dissolve the particles in water prior to use as friction may cause holes to form.
2. Don’t scrub
When the blanket is soaked in a mixture of cold water and detergent or soap, dirt lifts off the surface of the blanket and into the water. Scrubbing the blanket is therefore unnecessary and this only damages the fabric and ruins its shape. If you must machine wash, soak the blanket for 15-20 minutes then wash at the machine’s gentlest setting for no more than three minutes then rinse for a full cycle.
3. Don’t wring
Woolen blankets become very heavy when immersed in water and one’s first impulse may be to wring out the fabric in order to remove as much water as possible in order to reduce drying time. This is a pretty bad idea. If you do, you may end up ruining the shape of the blanket and cause permanent wrinkles. Instead, roll the blanket like a beach towel, within a towel, in order to remove moisture. Do this until a significant amount of moisture is removed.
4. Air dry
Air drying your woolen blanket is a major key. Placing it in the dryer can cause the fibers in the wool to crush and make the blanket coarse. Instead, hang the blanket on a clothesline on a windy day. The wind will remove much of the moisture while sunlight does the rest of the job. Exposure to direct sunlight may cause fading, coarseness, and damage to fibers but is helpful in moderation to remove mustiness. However, if you must dry using a dryer, place wool dryer balls into the machine as this reduces the amount of time it would take to dry, eliminates static and softens the fabric.
To ensure the longevity of your favorite woolen blanket, follow these tips. But before you begin to wash the blanket, make sure to read the tag to see if it is a hand-washable wool blanket or if it is “dry-clean only”.