Married to the Empire

Friday, October 12, 2007

How to wash wool

*I posted this on Friday, but it struck me as a good Works-for-Me Wednesday topic. Head on over to Shannon's blog for more ideas.

My parents gave Ruf and me a wool blanket several years ago to use in the winter. It's supposed to be dry cleaned, but that's expensive, and it makes the blanket smell funny. Last winter I decided to try washing it myself. I searched the internet and scoured all my homemaking books, and this is the method I found that works quite well:

First, set the washer for the gentle cycle, fill it with cold water, and place inside the items to be washed. I'm washing a small wool rug that got too dirty for me to stand it anymore. Be sure to use old towels or something to balance out the washer:

Second, use about 1/4 cup of mild dishwashing liquid in a full washer. (Do not use anything with enzymes, as they will damage wool. I would also avoid the antibacterial dishwashing liquids.) Be sure to add this AFTER the washer has finished filling with water. If you do so before it's done, the cascading water will cause the soap to suds up and cause a big mess.

You can see that the water is already turning icky because of how dirty this rug was:

Here you can see the amount of suds produced, which really isn't much:

Last, when the washing is finished, lay item out to dry. I have mine laying across a drying rack under the ceiling fan in the kitchen. Something larger would dry nicely outside on the grass on top of an old sheet. Do not hang wool items as they will stretch out and become misshapen.

Repeat as necessary.

Disclaimer: Use your own judgement when it comes to washing wool items. If it's an heirloom or extremely expensive, you might want to follow the manufacturer's instructions exactly, rather than trying to clean it yourself.

1 comment:

Jen said...

I will have to remember this! I have a few wool things that need a good washing but, like you stated, dry cleaning wool can be very expensive. Thanks for posting this!