Wool jumpers are wardrobe essentials for the winter months, but they certainly have a bad reputation for being notoriously difficult to wash! The good news is that washing wool jumpers isn’t as challenging as it seems, especially when you’re using the right methods and the right laundry detergents. Here’s your ultimate guide to washing wool effectively and efficiently:
What Temperature to Wash Wool?
‘What temperature should I wash clothes at?’ is a commonly asked question. For wool, it’s important to find a good compromise between water that is warm enough to tackle any stains and cool enough to prevent damage to the delicate material. As a general rule, wool jumpers should be washed at 30 degrees or less, but always check the care label on the garment before washing to ensure you’re washing at a temperature that the material can happily withstand.
How to Wash Wool in the Machine
Wool jumpers can safely be washed in the washing machine using mild laundry detergents and machine settings that are designed to mimic the gentle actions of traditional hand washing.
- Place the wool jumper into the washing machine and add a gentle laundry detergent like Persil Silk & Wool (just follow the instructions on the label). You may like to use a mesh laundry bag to protect the wool from the drum.
- Set the washing machine to the hand wash cycle, or wool cycle. Your machine will automatically wash at cooler temperatures and will spin much slower to reduce the risk of damage to the material.
How to Hand Wash Wool
As wool is such a delicate fabric, some people feel happier hand washing their wool jumpers than popping them into the washing machine. Both methods of washing are effective, so it really comes down to your own personal preferences. If you would prefer to hand wash, here’s what to do:
- Fill a tub with warm (not hot) water and add a mild laundry detergent designed to be gentle on delicate fabrics, like Persil Silk & Wool – just check the product label for dosing instructions. Liquid detergents work best as there’s no need to spend time dissolving powders.
- Add the wool jumper and carefully swish the garment around the tub without stretching the material. Allow to soak for 10 minutes.
- Remove as much excess water from the jumper by rolling it into a ball and gently pressing – never wring out wool because the material could easily be stretched out of shape.
- Replace the soapy water with fresh, clean water and place the jumper into the tub to rinse. Swish in the same way you did when washing the jumper.
- Repeat the rinsing process with clean water as many times as needed to remove all traces of laundry detergent.
Laundry Detergent for Wool
A wool detergent that’s been specifically designed to be gentle on delicate fabrics is an excellent choice for washing wool jumpers. Persil Silk & Wool can be used for both machine washing and hand washing, and is effective even in the lower temperatures needed to wash wool safely. pH neutral, this detergent contains the most gentle of ingredients, yet is very effective at cleaning everyday dirt and stubborn stains.
How to ‘Unshrink’ a Wool Jumper
If you’ve accidentally shrunk your favourite wool sweater, you may be able to save it from the charity bag or rubbish bin by gently ‘unshrinking’ it. While the jumper is still wet, lay it flat on some bath towels and carefully stretch the material, securing the edges with sewing pins, then leave to dry.
This method of ‘unshrinking’ should only be used as a last resort – there is a risk of damage, and it may not be possible to get the jumper looking exactly the same as it did before. Remember that correct garment care is always the best option! For more advice on hand washing delicate items like wool jumpers, check out our guide to the do’s and don’ts of hand washing!