How to Wash a Wool Sweater
Rajiv Surendra proves that not only is it possible to wash your wool sweater at home without shrinking or damaging it, but it's also remarkably easy.
Rajiv Surendra Shows How to Wash a Wool Sweater
When it comes to washing wool sweaters, there are plenty of tips and tricks for getting it right. Rajiv Surendra shares his method for washing wool sweaters at home rather than taking them to the dry cleaners. The method involves hand washing the sweater in a sink full of wool detergent.
Do you really have to dry-clean a wool sweater? No! Skip the trip to the dry cleaners and wash your wool at home. Sure, there’s an art to washing wool without shrinking it, but it’s not as tricky as you might think. By hand-washing your wool sweater in your sink, you can maintain its size and ensure it stays as soft as the first time you wore it. And since there's no need to wash wool sweaters regularly, we recommend waiting until your sweater is ready for a good cleaning.
How to Wash a Wool Sweater
As sweater season comes to a close, your favorite wool pieces probably aren't looking or feeling their best. Follow these steps to safely clean and remove stains from wool sweaters.
- bucket or similar vessel
- wool detergent
- rubber gloves
- (2) towels
- measuring tape
- notepad and pen
This hypoallergenic formula is gentle on skin, hands and clothes, and minimizes fading, shrinking and stretching on fabrics like wool, silk, cashmere, cotton, satin and polyester.
1. Lay the sweater flat and take some measurements. Measure from the top of the shoulder seam to the bottom hem and note the measurement (Images 1 & 2). Next, measure from the hem of the sleeve to the seam (Image 3).
2. Fill a sink with warm water. The water should be warm to the touch but not hot.
3. Mix in wool laundry detergent. While the sink fills, mix in a laundry detergent suitable for wool, following the manufacturer’s instructions for the proper ratio.
4. Fill a bucket with the same temperature water. Leave the water on and fill a bucket or other vessel with the same temperature water for rinsing. If you have a two-compartment sink, simply fill both sides.
Pro Tip: It's imperative that your wash and rinse water are the same temperature. While many people think it's hot water that shrinks the wool, it's actually the change in temperature that shocks the wool, resulting in shrinking.
5. Put the sweater in the water. Fully submerse the sweater in the soapy water.
6. Gently wash the sweater with your hands. Donning a pair of rubber gloves, use your hands to gently work the sweater in the water, refraining from rubbing the material on itself, as this can turn the wool to felt.
7. Gently rub highly soiled spots. For spots that are highly soiled, such as the cuffs and collar, gently rub the material with your fingers.
8. Let the sweater soak. Let the sweater soak for a while until the water has cooled to room temperature. This will remove even more dirt.
9. Adjust the temperature of the bucket water if necessary. Check the rinse water. If the water in the sink has cooled significantly, add some cold water until the temperatures match.
10. Gently remove the sweater and squeeze the water out. Lift the sweater out of the water and gently compress it to squeeze the water out. Do not wring the wool sweater — while this will remove more water, it will also severely damage the material.
11. Drain and clean the sink. Drain all the dirty water from the sink and rinse away any leftover dirt.
12. Pour the bucket of water into the sink. Stop the sink once more and pour the rinse water into it.
13. Rinse the sweater and squeeze it once more. Lower the sweater into the rinse water and gently work it to rinse all the soapy water.
14. Lay a towel out flat. Lay a towel flat out on the counter.
15. Place the sweater flat on the towel. Compress the sweater once more to remove most of the water, then lay it flat on the towel. Straighten the sweater and the sleeves.
16. Fold the towel over the sweater and roll it up. Fold the bottom and top of the towel over the sweater, then roll it up.
17. Squeeze the towel. Gently squeeze the rolled towel, allowing the towel to draw the moisture out of the sweater.
18. Remove the sweater and place it on a clean towel. Unroll the towel, remove the sweater, then place it flat on a second dry towel.
19. Check the measurements and shape the sweater to match the original measurements. Compare the sweater’s current measurements with those from before the wash. Gently pull the sweater to stretch it if the measurements are now shorter. If the sweater is longer, pull the sides outward. Allow the sweater to air-dry on the towel.
20. Try the wool sweater on. Once it has totally air-dried, try the wool sweater on to ensure it still fits.
Rajiv Surendra Tries On a Wool Sweater After Washing It
After washing a wool sweater and allowing it to dry, Rajiv Surendra tries it on to ensure it still fits properly. Rajiv's method for washing a wool sweater by hand in a sink will save you a trip to the dry cleaners and ensure your sweater stays the same size after washing.
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