Many a wool sweater has been ruined due to improper care. How one cleans their sweaters and other clothing made from wool will determine to a large extent how long the clothing will last and how good it will continue to look over time.
Merino, cashmere, and alpaca wool are some of the most commonly known kinds, but did you know that you can find wool clothing made from the hair of goats, rabbits, and even camels? These different kinds of fur, hair, and wool obviously demand different kinds of cleaning and even storage procedures.
Most wool garments and clothing can always be gently cleaned by hand using cold or at least cool water with a mild detergent and what is usually recommended is laundry soap. Be sure to read the clothing label as well as the label on your soap bottle to make sure you do it right. After washing you most likely should lay the garment down on a flat surface and some manufactures will say to give the clothing a gentle stretch when you do that. Nothing too hard though as this can interrupt the integrity of the fibers.
Some wool clothes can be machine washed on the gentle cycle right in your own washing machine. Make sure you use cold water though to avoid the inevitable shrinkage that will occur with hot water. Always use the proper detergent or soap. Most of the major brands that you will find at the grocery or or warehouse store are fine, but once again be sure to read the label’s directions.
Many wool sweater labels will instruct you to dry clean only. If you see that on your clothing tag be sure to do that. It is on there for a reason. When putting your sweaters away for storage it is best to lay them flat in a drawer or on a shelf and not on a hanger to avoid stretch marks and bulges that most likely will never come out.
For a compendium of product information on the many varieties of wool clothing available including wool sweaters visit a website dedicated to providing the best information and product resources available. Wool Coats and Stuff provides a compendium of products and resources to help guide you in your selections.