How to Care for Your Wool Sweaters

If you have a favourite wool sweater you know it can be tough to figure out how best to care for it. Image consultant and clothing expert Leah Morrigan visited to give us tips on caring for our wool sweaters.

Cleaning
Don't throw your sweater into a washing machine! The agitator in the washing machine can damage the fibres and support the creation of 'pills'. If dry cleaning isn't an option for you, hand wash your sheep's wool sweaters in tepid water and gentle detergent such as Zero, Woolite or Forever New Fabric Wash. Try not to manipulate the sweater too much while it's underwater, letting it gently soak for no more than ten minutes before rinsing in a bath of fresh water. Remove the sweater from the water with both hands, being careful to support the entire garment. Gently squeeze out the residual water - never wring woolens.
For exotic wools such as alpaca, cashmere or angora, bring them to a trusted cleaner. These are expensive items and they deserve above average care.

Drying
Lay flat to dry in a room that is dry and temperate, but not overheated. Never leave a wool sweater on a radiator or near a heat source! Block the sweater to the exact size you want and leave it overnight.

Finishing
Thick woolens rarely require any kind of ironing after a cleaning, as the blocking action of drying should leave it flat and wrinkle-free. For thinner weaves, try leaving the garment in a steamy bathroom for about 15 minutes and pressing any minor folds out with your hands. If all else fails, follow the pressing instructions in the garment using your hand iron. Fold the garment inside out and press the underside, watching closely for any evidence of scorching.

Storage
Clothes moths LOVE natural fibers like wool. Use cedar balls and moth traps to lessen their impact and keep your wool sweaters under wraps in plastic cases. Folding is the best storage method for wool sweaters to prevent gravity from taking its toll on a hung sweater. If you don't have a shelf in your closet, consider folding the sweater in half vertically and then folding it over a hanger. Hanging a wool sweater from the shoulders will cause it to sag and become misshapen.

Download Leah's sweater care chart (PDF)

Leah Morrigan has over twenty years of menswear, clothing construction, and textile experience; an artist's eye for proportion, a theatre designer's feel for character. Leah has studied Munsell colour theory and as a costume historian, understands clothing as a language that is spoken in many dialects.

Visit Leah online at:
www.transformyourself.ca

 

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