10 Tips To Make Your Wool Items Last Longer

Illustrated by Elliot Salazar
By Nicole Alter

After years of carelessly throwing almost all of my sweaters in the laundry and accidentally distorting their shape, I finally realized something had to change. Who knew there were so many ways to take care of wool?

The good news is that wool is low static, resistant to wrinkles, and quite dirt repellant. Because there are a lot of misconceptions about taking care of it, I’ve decided to share ten useful tips for taking care of woolen items. As we slowly but surely enter into sweater season and begin donning wool pants and skirts, you'd do well to arm yourself with the advice ahead.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar
Before you even wet the garment, a good way to remove dirt from wool is to brush it with a garment brush and then air it out. You can brush the garment lengthwise before and after you wear it. It helps to use a wet cotton cloth for wool garments with a fine nap.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar
Spot-cleaning and infrequently washing woolens are great ways to maintain the longevity of the garment. Use a clean cloth and a stain remover specifically meant for wool. Never rub the stain, because that could make it worse.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar
If you must wash the woolen item, try soaking it in cold water for several hours before washing. Don’t wash sweaters in hot water and do not put them in a machine or dryer. When washing the garment, avoid rubbing the wool on itself to avoid felting. Instead, squish the garment in the water.

Related: The Importance Of Linen
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar
When washing wool, make sure to use products specifically intended for woolen items. You can also make your own cleaner with a little bit of gentle soap and water. Alternatively, you can use a light detergent or a baby shampoo.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar
Some stain solutions may leave a strong odor that lingers, even after several washes. An ozone treatment is very useful for organic-based odors. This treatment can be found at a number of dry cleaners.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar
When drying wool, place the garment on a towel and roll until the water is mostly squeezed out. Then, either air dry the garment on a folding clothes rack or lay the garment flat.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar
In order to keep the garment’s shape, trace its shape on a piece of poster board before washing. Once the garment is washed, dry it on the board. The stencil will help you maintain the sweater’s original shape.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar
Never hang sweaters, unless they are hung on a padded hanger. Do not place them in direct sunlight.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar
If your garments are pilling, you can buy gadgets that are like small razors. You just have to shave the garment gently to remove the pills. Sweater or garment combs will also get rid of some pillage. Make sure to try these products on a less visible area of the garment first, since they can damage fine fabrics if you are not careful.
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Illustrated by Elliot Salazar
To protect wool from moths and other insects, store your garments in a cabinet or container that is not in direct contact with the walls of your house. Make sure your woolens are clean before putting them in storage — dirty garments are more likely to attract bugs. You can use mothballs, moth crystals, herb satchels, or cedar products to repel insects. It’s also a good idea to brush the garments in your closet from time to time.

Next: The Slow Living Revolution
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