Fabric expert shares how to wash wool jumpers without ‘causing them to shrink’

A high-quality wool jumper or cardigan is the perfect garment for the autumn and winter months.

If you’ve been wearing the same wool jumper repeatedly over the last few days, it might be worth giving it a good wash.

However, wool jumpers are notoriously difficult to wash with shrinkage, pulling and fading all possible.

With this in mind, Thomas Bird a materials expert at Fabric Online has shared his advice on how to wash wool jumpers.

He said: “Cleaning wool jumpers requires some care to avoid damaging the fabric or causing it to shrink. Wool is a delicate natural fibre, and traditional methods of cleaning can be too harsh.”

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Check the care label

Before washing, it’s always best to start by checking the care label on the wool jumper. This will provide important information about how to clean and care for the garment. It’s always best to follow the care instructions on the label.

Spot cleaning

If the garment has a small stain or spot, you can try spot cleaning rather than putting it straight in the washing machine.

Dab the stained area with a mixture of lukewarm water and laundry detergent but be sure to avoid rubbing the stain as this can damage the fibres.

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When spot-cleaning, make sure to use a clean, white cloth or sponge to blot the stain gently. Rinse with clean water and pat dry with a clean towel.

How to hand wash wool jumpers

Firstly, fill a sink with lukewarm water (not hot) and add a small amount of mild wool detergent. Make sure the water is well mixed with the detergent.

Next, gently submerge the wool jumper in the water and gently agitate it being careful not to wring, twist, or scrub vigorously at the garment as this can cause felting and shrinkage.

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Allow the jumper to soak for about 10-15 minutes before rinsing the jumper with cool, clean water until the detergent is fully removed. It’s important you are being very gentle during this process.

Press the water out of the jumper by rolling it in a clean, dry towel, again, being careful not to twist or wring.

Wool jumpers can develop pilling – small, fuzzy balls over time and these can be gently removed using a fabric shaver or a sweater stone.

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