First of all: Wash your wool as seldom as possible. It's good for the environment and it's even better for your clothes. In other words, if you wash less you can keep your clothes longer. To get your wool clothes clean you just need to air them out after use. Believe it or not they will be as good as newly washed the next morning. In fact, they'll probably be even better.
The reason you don't need to wash wool as often as other materials is because it contains lanolin. You may have heard people say that wool is "self-cleaning". That is because the fat from the sheep's hair sacks function as a repellent. That helps make dirt and smell not attach as well to the fibers. Lanolin also has bacteria-killing capabilities, and helps against bad smells.
It's worth noting that lots of the wool that is sold is treated, and during this process the lanolin disappears. This is one of many advantages of buying untreated, organic wool. That way you preserve the lanolin and more of the wool's unique traits.
How to wash wool
Needing to wash your wool once in a while is fully understandable. When laundry day rolls around it can be useful to follow these tips and tricks to take best possible care of your wool:
Use detergent made for wool
Other detergents usually contain enzymes, bleach or have a PH value that can damage the wool fibers. We suggest detergents like Klar or Sonett.
If you don't have wool detergent available the best alternative is to use shampoo. Just like our hair gets stiff, dry, dead and weak when using the wrong soap, the same happens to the sheep's hair.
Use the correct program
Set your machine on high centrifugation so that you get out as much moisture as possible from the garments. Centrifugation isn't dangerious – the wool lays still during the rounds, which means it won't shrink. Short drying time makes sure that the fibers don't rot, and make the garment stay nice and clean longer.
Make sure the water you wash with is between 30-40° C. Quick temperature changes make the wool shrink.
Avoid dryers and drying in the sun
Unless you have a dryer with a specific wool program, you should keep your wool garments far away from this machine. The dryer and the sun give off high heat, and in addition to the movement from the dryer this can shrink the garment.
Be gentle when hand-washing
Wool can stretch a lot when wet. Don't stretch or wring out the garment unless you are trying to stretch it out.
To get the water out after washing you can roll the garment in a dry towel. Afterwards it can be smart to lay it flat if the garment is big and heavy so that it doesn't lose it's shape.
Disinfect without water
By freezing or boiling your garment you can remove all bacterias. Wool garments can be put in the freezer overnight, or even better; outside in the snow during the winter. The moisture from the snow can help draw out dirt, in addition to killing bacteria that makes it smell bad.
Another method is boiling the garment for 10 minutes in clean water. Make sure that the garment doesn't move. Don't touch! High temperatures and movement can shrink and tuft the wool.
Use a laundry bag
Use a laundry bag like a Guppyfriend when you wash your wool clothes to keep even better care of them. When using a Guppyfriend with other garments you will also contribute to less microplastics getting out into the ocean.