Woollen garments are soft, breathable, comfortable and hypo-allergenic. British wool is diverse in its applications and qualities, and is naturally biodegradable.
To keep the outstanding properties of your garment, some care and attention is required to ensure a lifetime of quality.
We recommend washing all our yarns by hand.
- Fill a bowl or sink with lukewarm water.
- Add a small amount of a gentle soap (a gentle dishwashing liquid is ideal) or wool wash liquid and mix with your hand. We use a GOTS approved washing agent to retain the organic status of all our wool.
- Drop your yarn or wool garment into the water. Use your fingertips to gently tap it down, then use the palms of your hands to submerge the entire garment and get rid of any air pockets. Give the garment a few gentle squeezes but don’t wring it or handle it roughly.
- Let the garment rest for a few minutes.
- Pull the yarn or garment together and lift it out of the water and let the wash water drain from the sink.
- Rinse in water of the same temperature as you used for the wash. Lower the garment back into the water, tap it gently, squeeze it a few times, gather it together, lift it up and drain the water. Repeat until all soap bubbles are gone.
- After rinsing for the last time give the wool a good squeeze but do not ring it. Lay it out on a large, clean towel, place another towel on top, roll it all up and gently press out the excess water. You can use the slow spin cycle of your washing machine for 5-10 seconds. No longer than this or it may cause stretching or creasing of the fabric.
- Wool is weaker when wet, so be sure to hold the entire skein of yarn or garment to avoid stretching or stressing the fibres.
- To ensure a proper clean, we recommend washing garments individually. However, if you do wash your garments together, there is no danger of the colours running, as all our yarns are undyed (however, they can take up the dye from other dyed garments).
- Avoid excessive and unnecessary agitation or wringing by hand to reduce the risk of felting or distorting your garment during washing.
- Avoid using heavy detergents, Bio detergents, or any detergents containing enzymes.
- Never bleach your garment.
- If you use a powdered soap, it’s best to dissolve the powder in the water first, to prevent any clumps of soap getting caught in your garment.
- We don’t recommend using fabric softeners, but if you do, only use a small amount. Fabric softeners lubricate the individual fibres, which means your garment can “pill” more easily.
After washing, the hank of yarn can be hung to dry but always lay a garment flat on a clean (white or dye fast) towel or drying rack, patting it back into shape, and leave to dry away from direct heat or sunlight.
- Always dry out of direct sunlight and heat.
- A good flow of air can help speed up the drying process, and freshens the garment.
- Don’t hang your garment to dry – this will invariably lead to stretching and distorting.
- Never tumble dry your wool.
- Always make sure that your yarn or garment is completely dry before storing.
Whether you will need to iron your garment after washing or not will depend on how many creases and folds are present after drying is complete. Generally, finer and lighter garments are more likely to need ironing than heavier and thicker ones.
- Set the iron to its wool setting. If you don’t have a wool setting, a medium heat will work.
- Lay the garment flat and spray lightly with water before ironing, or use the steam function of your iron, as this will make crease removal easier.
- Let the garment air dry flat for at least 10 minutes before storage to make sure there is no residual moisture.
- Make sure your iron isn’t too hot – this can lead to discolouration or even scorch marks.
- Never iron your garment dry, as this can burn it.
- Never leave the iron resting on your garment.
Knitted wool garments should always be stored folded rather than hanging to prevent distorting or stretching. Small garments such as hats and socks should be stored flat if possible.
Carefully storing your garment is essential to ensure its long life – there is no reason a properly cared for woollen jumper can’t last for decades.
- Before storage, always make sure your garment is completely dry.
- Storing in plastic boxes is okay, as long as the garment is not squashed too much.
- Plastic boxes also have the added advantage of keeping moths and bugs away from your knitwear.
- Avoid vacuum bags, as these can change the shape of your garment and create creases that can be difficult to iron out.
- The common clothes moth is wool’s main enemy. Use a natural anti-moth block or sachet containing highly aromatic spices or herbs (such as cloves, lavender, mint, pennyroyal,rosemary, rue and thyme – alone or in combination) to help keep moths and bugs away. These strong odours cloak the wool’s attractive scent.
- Make sure the garment is clean before storage – moths are attracted to dirt, soil and sweat.
- If you do suspect a moth infestation take all your woollens outside and vacuum the storage area thoroughly. Wash the woollens and let them dry outside in a brightly lit (not direct sunshine), well ventilated area. Alternatively you may wish to place the bagged yarn or garments in the freezer for about a week before washing.
My garment has gone out of shape
Sometimes woollen garments can gradually go out of shape due to incorrect laundering, storage or simply through day to day use. This can generally be fixed with the following procedure.
- Turn the garment inside-out.
- Place the garment in a sink or container containing lukewarm water with just a drop of gentle wool wash liquid.
- Allow it to soak for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Do not agitate or wring.
- Drain the wash liquid away, and by hand gently press the water out of the garment.
- Allow the garment to continue to drain.
- Rinse in clean water of the same temperature.
- Once the garment is no longer dripping, place it to dry flat on white or plain, colour fast towel.
- Gently adjust the sweater into shape and size, and allow to air dry.
- To aid reshaping, it is possible to pin the garment in place. Always make sure the pins are entirely clean and rust free to prevent staining.
My garment has developed “pills”
Pilling (sometimes referred to as bobbling) is the formation of fuzzy balls on the surface of the garment, and often results in an unsightly or worn out appearance.
Pilling is caused by rubbing during wear and, although it can occur in any parts of the garment, areas that rub most, such as armpits, palms, etc. are most susceptible.
Minimising the risk of pilling.
To reduce the risk of pilling occurring, always turn a garment inside out when laundering. Any migration of fibres due to abrasion during washing will cause protruding fibres, which can result in pilling, to be formed on the inside rather than the outside or face of the garment.
Fabric softeners lubricate the fibres of a garment, and can increase the risk of pilling. We recommend avoiding these products.
Advice on removal of pills
If not too many pills have been formed then they can usually be removed by hand. This should be done routinely after drying, such as during or just prior to ironing.
- Try and remove pills regularly rather than letting them build up too much.
- If you are using a tool to remove pills, test on a small area of the garment, preferably on the inside.
My garment has holes and snags in it
As soon as a hole appears, however small, it is advisable to repair it immediately. Darn using yarn as close in colour as possible. Garthenor does sell 10g balls of wool which are ideal for mending. If you need any advice please contact us.
Alternatively the garment can be taken to a professional knitter or tailor for invisible mending.
The key to successful stain removal is speed. Stains should be treated immediately.
Never apply any form of heat, as this tends to fix most stains making them more difficult to remove.
When applying the recommended stain remover, never use a rubbing action otherwise this may result in felting and colour change. Stain remover should be applied to the stain by using a gentle dabbing or blotting action.
- Prior to applying the stain remover to the actual stain, first test it on an inconspicuous part of the garment, such as a seam, to see the effect, if any, the stain remover may have on the colour of the sweater.
- Some stain removers may cause a colour change due to having a slight bleaching effect. If this is the case use an alternative stain remover.
- Apply the stain remover in small amounts at a time, and work from the edge of the stain inwards to prevent spreading.
- Blot the treated area with a white tissue or with an absorbent cloth.
- Depending upon the nature and depth or how ingrained the stain is, the stain remover may have to be applied several times.
- After applying the stain remover, thoroughly rinse the treated area with clean water.
- It is then advisable to hand wash the garment, using a mild gentle soap before drying.
- In the case of very stubborn or ingrained stains, the only solution may be to take the garment to be professionally cleaned.