Caring for non-superwash treated wool isn’t difficult. Sometimes the idea of having to hand-wash something rather than throw it in the washing machine is daunting, but it isn’t actually much more time consuming, especially when you consider wool doesn’t need washing anywhere near as much as other fabrics!
How Often To Wash?
100% Wool garments do not need to be washed as often as those made of many other fibres. Wool doesn’t absorb smells easily and dust mites won’t live in it. Much of the time anything that isn’t worn directly against the skin can be aired outside, with spot treatment for any stains. Garments such as socks require washing more often, although depending on their use this doesn’t have to be every day.
Before you embark on washing your woolly item, consider whether it really is dirty or whether you’re doing it out of habit.
Washing your yarn before use
Washing your yarn before use is only recommended if you are working with several highly contrasting colours at the same time. I thoroughly rinse yarn after it has been dyed, but in some of the more vibrant colours there may be a small amount of bleeding in the first wash. If you do need to wash your yarn, it’s exactly the same process as washing your finished item with two differences:
- Before you begin, add ties to your yarn to stop it getting tangled. There will usually be two or three already there, so adding one or two more will suffice.
- To dry your yarn, hang it up somewhere it can drip.
Washing your finished item
- Run some warm (not hot) water into a sink or bowl and add some wool wash. If you don’t have any wool wash, a drop or two of washing up liquid will do the trick.
- Gently lower your item into the water and push it down make sure it’s fully saturated. Don’t move it too much and don’t rub it together.
- Leave your item to soak for at least 10 minutes. If you want to leave it for longer, that’s fine too!
- Take your item out of the sink/bowl, gently squeezing the water out.
- Get rid of your soapy water and run some fresh. Try and get it similar in temperature to the original water.
- Lower your item into the clean water and leave it again.
- Gently squeeze the water out of your clean item. Don’t ring it, and don’t rub it together. You can wrap it in a towel to soak up more of the water.
- Lay flat to dry, or block if necessary.
Q: The water is slightly coloured
A: A small amount of dye may escape from the yarn when it’s washed. If it’s only a small amount this shouldn’t be a problem.
Q: The water is strongly coloured
A1: If the water is strongly coloured, repeat the washing process. If the water continues to be highly coloured, there could be a problem (keep reading).
A2: Are you using a proper wool wash, and using only the amount instructed? Some products can draw the dye out of the yarn.
Q: How do you stop the colour running?
A: If there is still strong colour in the water you can either try to set it yourself, or contact me as yarn shouldn’t lose much dye at all.
To have a go yourself:
- Soak your yarn/item in warm water.
- Get a large saucepan you don’t want to use for cooking ever again. (Seriously, this is important).
- Fill it with warm (not hot) water and a healthy glug of vinegar (or a tablespoon of citric acid if you happen to have any).
- Gently lower your yarn/item into it.
- Heat until almost boiling. Don’t let it bubble and don’t agitate the yarn/item.
- Leave for 30 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.
- Rinse. If colour is still bleeding there has been a major problem. Please do contact me!