As the days get longer and warmer, everyone is switching from wool sweaters to cotton t-shirts. Now that the cold weather is gone, wool and cashmere clothes are ready to be washed and stored during the summer season.
Dry cleaning gets expensive, with the need to drop off and pick-up a load of heavy garments. Fortunately, wool and cashmere are not necessarily dry clean only. Learn how to wash wool and cashmere for summer storage.
Assemble the Right Tools
Like any other project, getting the right tools together is the first step to washing wool at home. An added benefit of doing it yourself is preserving the fibers in quality wool clothes so that your favorite scarf or sweater lasts longer.
Choose toxin-free laundry products designed to wash wool and cashmere, including a shampoo, stain solution, mesh washing bag, sweater comb or stone, and wool and cashmere spray.
Next, examine the clothing for stains. Pay attention to commonly stained areas, such as the neckline, underarms, and cuffs. Use a gentle stain remover directly on the affected spots and check for unpleasant odors.
To get rid of odor, mix ¼ cup of scented vinegar with cool water and soak the garments for no more than 30 minutes. The white vinegar will safely remove the stains and odors, for scarves and cardigans that smell as good as they look.
Hand or Machine Wash
Some wool and cashmere can be washed by hand or machine. First, check the tag to determine if it is safe to do so. Then, start by turning clothes in reverse to protect the fabric. Use a basin to wash garments by hand. Fill it with cool water and wool and cashmere shampoo. Agitate the water with your hands to mix in the soap, soak up to 30 minutes, then rinse clean.
When using the washing machine, put all clothes inside out and tuck them in a mesh washing bag to reduce friction and pilling. Choose a delicate or wool cycle with cold water and low spin. Add detergent explicitly made for washing wool and cashmere.
Drying and Prepping
Don’t hang wool to dry as it stretches out. Also, never put wool in the sun or near a heat source as it could shrink. Lay items flat to dry on a towel. To dry a garment quickly, lay it on a towel and roll it up like a sleeping bag to get rid of the excess moisture.
Steam the dry clothing to get rid of wrinkles as ironing can flatten the fibers. Use a sweater comb or stone to eliminate pills on apparel. A comb is best for fine-gauge yarns, while a stone is better for heavier gauges. Use the tool in one direction for the best results.
With all the clothes clean and dry, it’s time to store them for the summer season. Fold knits before storing to avoid stretching. Items should always be cleaned before storage to ensure there is no food source to attract bugs.
To prevent bugs and moths from feasting on wool, store knits in a breathable cotton or canvas bag with a zipper enclosure.
Learning how to wash wool and cashmere ensures these quality garments last for years to come. With proper storage, knits stay beautiful throughout the hottest months of the year and are ready to wear when the first cold days arrive.