Wool Care FAQs and Advice
The best solution to avoiding shrinkage is prevention because there is unfortunately no cure. Have a dedicated wool laundry basket and train everyone in your household to only put their wool garments there. Follow the washing and care instructions on the manufacturer's label for best results. If you do use your wool machine cycle ensure you use cold water and a gentle wool shampoo. If you use a warm water wool wash the machine will still rinse in cold which will shock the fibres and cause them to seize up. Wool cycles vary so use with caution. Only use a SLOW spin (400 max) or press out moisture in a towel and dry flat so the garment doesn't shrink over time. We highly recommend Eucalan/SOAK wash - non-rinse natural handwashing made especially for delicate woollens. Submerge, squeeze and soak garments in a lukewarm bucket of water with SOAK or Eucalan (not available at the moment) for 15minutes, squeeze out excess moisture (do not wring), press in a towel or SLOW spin and dry flat. Do not rinse. Your garments are left clean and smelling as fresh as a daisy.
The kinds of things that can cause an untreated wool garment to shrink are:
• soaking the cover for a long time and then washing with too much agitation
• rinsing in a different temperature water or changing the temperature of the water while washing
• using a non wool wash detergent
• spinning the garment in the washing machine
• wringing the fibres to remove the water
To maintain a woollen garment’s shape, you can pull it out to shape while it’s still wet from washing, and then lay flat to dry. It is normal for the wool to fluff up a bit on the first wash and this helps the fibres do their job better too.
If your wool garment has noticeably shrunk, you can try following the steps below:
1. Fill your sink with lukewarm water
2. Add 200-300 ml of natural hair conditioner
3. Add your wool and gently stretch it back to the right size/shape
4. Mix 2 tablespoons of vinegar with 4 litres of water in a large bowl
5. Add your wool to the vinegar solution and swish gently to remove the conditioner
6. Hand wash your wool using your usual wool wash routine
Shedding is something that can happen initially with good quality organic wool fleece but it usually doesn’t persist. The formation of lint on fleece articles that are manufactured from wool from certified organic sheep and have no chemical finish cannot be completely avoided. With conventional products, the ends of the fibres are treated with special film-building substances such as acrylic or vinyl polymers to reduce the formation of lint and little knots (anti-pilling finishes). For ecological reasons, we do not stock products that these finishes. It is inevitable that the care of organic wool fabrics also includes the removal of lint.
Washing does not always help to get rid of the lint. If shedding persists, you can gently rub the item down with a rough towel to remove any loose fluffy layer. Follow it up with another gentle hand wash and that should do the trick. You can also try placing the item in the dryer at a cold temperature.
Because they have no synthetic fibres at all, all wool socks will eventually wear a hole in the spot your walk on the hardest. How you walk and how hard you are on your feet will determine how long they last. What’s great is that quality all-wool socks respond really well to darning, which reinforces the area that is wearing through and can make them last and last. Most socks use nylon, but we like to stock only pure natural fibres that are completely biodegradable. They will last well if looked after and darned when needed.
We have put together a complete darning kit and darning mushrooms for this purpose because that’s the beauty of all our products, with a little care they will last the test of time without being detrimental to the environment in their material use and production. Here's more darning and mending inspiration from us.
Ox-gall stain remover is simply amazing and works really well on dry organic stains. Apply the ox gall soap quite thickly to the dry garment, massage into the stained area and leave for half an hour or so. Then you can hand wash it out. I have removed really stubborn ground-in stains using this stain remover, it’s rather remarkable! Another option you could try is a decorative patch stitched beautifully over the patch as a feature. Be wary of trying to dye a garment in order to cover a stain. Unless you were to use a very strong synthetic dark dye like a dylon (which we wouldn’t recommend), you will find that dyeing the garment will only further draw attention to the stain, because the stain will take in the dye differently to the rest of the fabric - usually making it darker. Also try our Spray on Stain Remover from Sonett which is also good for stains on delicate fabrics like wool and silk.