Friday, November 16, 2012

Washing Your Wool

First want to say SORRY for taking so long to get this blog post up! Now that you know all about wool, you probably are wondering how to wash and lanolize it! Please keep in mind that the ability to machine wash your woolies can vary greatly by machine and the type of wool you have. If you have any reservations about machine washing your wool, don't do it!

Here's a quick hand-washing guide for your wool:
  • Fill a sink full of tepid/warm water. Squirt in some wool wash like CJs BUTTer wool wash, Sheepish Grins wool wash, or lather up a wool wash bar under the running water.
  • Rub a little of the wool wash into each wool item or scrub LIGHTLY with the wool wash bar, focusing on the wet zone and areas that might get extra dirty (like seams or knees).
  • Swish the wool around a little in the sink to get some bubbles and then let it sit for a about 5 minutes. Then massage the wool gently and turn it inside out and let it soak for about 30 minutes or more. 
  • Gently squeeze out the excess water. If you need to lanolinze follow the directions below, otherwise lay flat to dry!
Now, if you're like me, I'm not a hand-washing kind of person.. I wash my wool in the washer! Yup! I said the washer. Now I don't recommend hand knit wool or machine knit wool (like sloomb wool in your washer) and I don't recommend machine washing at all if you have an older washing machine. Older machines can destroy your wool and you will be very very sad. Since I am able to machine wash on delicate other items with no issues I feel confident in washing my wool in the washer. I also have a front loading, high-efficiency washer that is only about a year old and it has a hand wash cycle. My washer might not be the most ideal for washing diapers but I think it's great for washing wool. I do machine wash my machine-knit wool and all my blend interlock wool. If I had any upcycled wool I would also machine wash it. 

Here's how I machine wash my wool:
  • I put each piece of wool in a separate lingerie/delicate bag to reduce the friction that would be caused by the pieces rubbing against each other. I also wash no more than 3, maybe 4 (if I'm only washing interlock) pieces at a time. If you are machine washing any knits you might want to do 1 maybe 2 pieces at a time to be extra cautious. I throw caution to the win and still wash 3-4.
  • Toss the bag inside the washing machine!
  • I use Eucalan wool wash when machine washing. You should also be able to use any other delicate wash you might have on hand. Since Eucalan is only about 2% lanolin I don't mind putting it in the detergent drawer but you can also add it directly to the machine. Some wool washes like Sheepish Grins are 40-50% lanolin and I would not recommend using these in your washer because they can gunk it up and damage your washing machine. I use about 1 tsp per piece of wool.
  • My water is set to tap cold with a cold wash and I use a low spin. 
  • If you have a wool wash cycle, use it! Otherwise you should use the hand wash or delicate cycle. My machine has a hand wash cycle so that's what I choose.
  • After washing you will need to lanolize (next post!!)
  • After you are done lanolizing, you should lay flat to dry. I have an awesome drying rack with a mesh top that I lay out my wool on but if you can always lay it out on clean towels and turn on a fan to get some air circulation and flip your wool as needed to dry.

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