Wool Care

It's easy to care for wool products right and keep them in good condition indefinitely.
And it's easy to handle them wrong and ruin them.
So it pays to learn right from wrong.

BASIC INSTRUCTIONS
Hand wash gently,
or soak and spin (do not agitate)
in top-loading washer.
Soft water.
Lukewarm for normal wash,
hot to dissolve oil or grease.
Plain (no additives) mild (pH 7 or less) detergent.
Rinse gently, same temperature as wash,
2 - 3 times, or until water is clear.
Gently scoop from underneath,
drain, roll in towel, leave 1/2 hour;
or spin in top-loading washer.
Lay flat to dry.
Store clean and dry, flat (not hanging),
out of direct light,
in moth-tight bag - fabric, paper, or plastic.
To remove pills from fabric,
use de-pilling tool.
To prevent pills, do not rub fabric.
To prevent holes, do not cut fabric
with leashes, fingernails, toenails, etc..

DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS

WASHING / RINSING

HANDLING.
Handle wet wool gently.
Wash and rinse by hand,
or soak and spin (do not agitate)
in a top-loading washing machine.

microscopic wool fiberWHY?
Wool fibers are covered with scales.
When wool is wet, the scales open.
When the wet wool is moved,
the scales can rub against each other,
hook onto each other,
and draw the fibers closer to each other.
The yarn or fabric then becomes denser and smaller,
i.e. felted, or "shrunken."

TEMPERATURE
When washing and rinsing wool,
keep the temperature constant throughout all washes and rinses.

Lukewarm is the safest temperature for washing and rinsing wool.
Hot water is needed to remove oil or grease.
Cold is not recommended.
Wool going from warm air to cold water can felt.

WHY?
The scales on wet wool fibers open and close in response to temperature.
The hotter the water, the farther open the scales,
and the colder the water, the more closed the scales.
If the temperature suddenly drops,
the scales suddenly close,
latching onto other closing scales
and drawing the fibers closer to each other.
The result is a yarn or fabric that's more dense, or felted.

To sum up the handling and temperature information:
Wet wool + agitation = felt
Wet wool + heat / cold = felt
Wet wool + no agitation = no felt
Wet wool + heat + no agitation = no felt

SOAP / DETERGENT
To avoid damaging wool fibers,
use a plain (no additives) mild (pH 7 or less) detergent.
Most yarn shops carry wool-washing detergents.
Some baby shampoos are OK for wool.
Soap can be used but is hard to rinse out.

sweaters laying flat on tableDRYING
Lay flat to dry.

STORING
Store flat (not hanging), out of direct light, clean and dry,
in a moth-proof bag - fabric, paper, or plastic.

WHY?
Knitted items are likely to stretch out of shape when hanging.
Wool can degrade and change color when exposed to continuous bright light.
Wool with human or animal odors can attract wool moths.

DE-PILLING
Pills can be removed from fabrics in a number of ways.
Electric fabric shavers are fast and require little effort,
but they cut fibers, remove sound wool, and can do serious damage to fabrics.
wool pill removerDe-pilling combs can be found with edges that either cut off or tear off pills.
Some will damage fine wool,
others are OK for fine wool if used with a very light touch,
and a few are made especially for cashmere and fine wool.
Sweater stones tear pills off instead of cutting them off.
They're too aggressive for loosely-knit fine wool fabrics,
but they can be used, carefully, on tightly-knit items such as work/sports socks.
Fabric brushes have short bristles that tear off pills.
They require time and effort, but they leave fine wool fabrics intact.
Hand plucking is a time-consuming but safe option.

WEARING / USING
Elsawool clothing and other products were designed to be used,
and some were designed to be used hard.
Don't rub the wool excessively.
Don't cut gloves and socks with fingernails, toenails, leashes, etc..
With proper care and commonsense use,
Elsawool products will last indefinitely --
at the same size, and with the same softness and stretch, as when they were new.