Long Live Wool!
Long live wool – There’s an old adage that warns ‘don’t let them pull the wool over your eyes’, meaning beware, do not be easily fooled. Ironically, we say the same about caring for wool.
Originating from animal fur – usually sheep – wool is a natural and very delicate fabric. Maintaining wool in such a way that you prolong its life means meticulous care all through. Those who appreciate this aspect go a long way in keeping their woollens in top condition – carting sweaters around to dry cleaners, spending unimaginable amounts of money and what does all this lead to anyway? When you bring the item back from the cleaners, it carries with it hundreds of known and unknown chemicals that you want to avoid in the first place!
Simple tips like turning the garment inside out before washing it, or emptying the pockets of other clothes before you start the wash cycle – can safeguard fabric health.
At Fabricspa, ours is a process-driven and highly scientific treatment of each textile or fabric. Being the fabric care specialists that we are, and having done this for nearly a decade now, we more than understand the need to care for woollens the way you’re supposed to. In consideration of the natural qualities of the fiber and its reaction in different conditions – we have developed a guide for suitable treatment of woollens at various stages of the wash cycle.
Before Wash: follow the standard protocol of separating your clothes according to colour (dark from pale), to avoid ‘bleeding’ of colours from one to the other. Remember to separate the clothes in different colour groups even when wet. Empty pockets and close the zippers / buttons of all the other garments that go in the same wash cycle.
Pre-Soak: it helps to soak the fabric for a couple of minutes, ideally 10, before you begin the wash cycle.
During Wash: wool is prone to snagging, shrinking and pilling, that can be avoided by a gentle wash. Less is more as always, be wary of how much detergent you use and the water temperature as well. Rinse thoroughly but gently, to do so bunch up the woollen into a ball and squeeze it lightly in tepid water. For pricy and delicate cashmere clothing, use only clear, cool water and follow the ‘squeeze in a ball’ method. Never, ever twist or wring your woollens. Always dry them away from direct sunlight, heat and high temperatures.
After Wash: protect your woollens from accidental colour transfer by using a ‘colourfast’ towel to dry them out. You could roll them in a clean towel and squeeze to avoid twisting to get the water out. These precautions go a long way in preserving the shape of the piece, keeping it in good condition for longer. During the drying phase, regain the shape of the woollen by squaring the shoulders and arranging the arms and other parts the way you would want it to set, in its original shape.
Additional Care: for garments that are woven, it is important to use soft bristles to brush them lengthwise after every wear. This removes surface soiling that might later set as stains. To get rid of a particularly bad odour, lay the woollen on a flat surface for an hour, or hang it up in fresh air. All woollens need to ‘rest’ for 24 hours after each wear; this helps it ‘recover’, protecting it from getting bent out of shape, enhancing its resilience. Woollens usually don’t require ironing, but some look better for it so when you do iron them, do so on the ‘wool’ mode or a similar low setting; never when completely dry.
Refresh: ever so often, hang your woollens in a steamy bathroom where it can soak up moisture that helps in straightening out wrinkles. Lighter woollens typically take longer to get rid of their creases, you can go ahead and steam-iron them or use a damp cloth with a regular iron, as an alternative.
Food stains and body oils attract moths, ensure your woollens are properly cleaned before stowing them away until next time.
These simple guidelines are dyed in the wool; follow them to achieve perfect care of your winter wear!