Wool Care

It's easy to care for wool products right and keep them in good condition indefinitely.
And it's easy to do it wrong and ruin them.
So it pays to learn right from wrong.

BASIC INSTRUCTIONS
Hand wash gently,
or soak and spin (do not agitate)
in top-loading washer.
Soft water.
Lukewarm for normal wash,
hot to dissolve oil or grease.
Plain (no additives) mild (pH 7 or less) detergent.
Rinse gently, same temperature as wash,
2 - 3 times, or until water is clear.
Gently scoop from underneath,
drain, roll in towel, leave 1/2 hour;
or spin in top-loading washer.
Lay flat to dry.
Store clean and dry, flat (not hanging),
out of direct light,
in moth-tight bag - fabric, paper, or plastic.
To remove pills from fabric,
use de-pilling tool.
To prevent pills, do not rub fabric.
To prevent holes, do not cut fabric
with fingernails, toenails, leashes, etc..

DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS

WASHING / RINSING

If done correctly,
washing and rinsing are simple and successful.
But if done incorrectly,
these processes can result in wool items
that are felted or "shrunken," less soft, or less durable.
Two (and only two) things can cause wool to felt:
1. incorrect handling,
2. sudden temperature changes.
Two things commonly cause wool to lose softness and/or strength:
1. incorrect detergent,
2. hard water.

HANDLING.
microscopic wool fiber When wool is wet,
it can be felted by agitation, tumbling, wringing, pounding, stretching,
or anything else that causes the wool fibers to rub against each other.
Here's how this happens.
Wool fibers are covered with scales.
When wool is wet,
the fibers' scales are open.
When wet wool is handled roughly,
the scales on the fibers rub against the scales on other fibers,
latch onto each other,
and draw the fibers closer to each other,
causing the yarn, fabric, or finished piece
to become denser, thicker, smaller, and stiffer — i.e. felted.
To avoid felting,
handle wet wool gently.
Wash and rinse by hand,
or in a top-loading washing machine without agitating.
Soak or very gently move the item(s) around in the water,
then pour and gently press the water out, or spin it out.
Lift wet wool from underneath.

TEMPERATURE
When wool is wet,
it can be felted by a sudden change of temperature.
Here's why.
The scales on wet wool fibers open and close in response to temperature.
The hotter the water, the farther open the scales.
The colder the water, the more closed the scales.
If the temperature suddenly decreases or increases,
the scales suddenly become more closed or more open.
The moving scales grab onto other moving scales,
drawing the fibers closer to each other,
and resulting in a felted yarn, fabric, or finished piece.
To prevent felting,
keep wool at the same temperature during all washes and rinses.
Lukewarm is the safest temperature.
Hot is needed to remove oil or grease (and requires extra-gentle handling).
Cold is not recommended.
Wool isn't cleaned well in cold water,
and wool taken from warm air to cold water can become felted.

WATER, DETERGENT, SOAP
Wool and other animal fibers
thrive in a neutral or slightly acid environment,
but are damaged by alkalinity.
To avoid damaging wool --
making it less soft and less durable --
wash and rinse in soft water,
and use a plain (no additives) mild (pH 7 or less) detergent.
Most yarn shops carry wool-washing detergents.
Some baby shampoos are OK for wool.
Soap can be used but is hard to rinse out.

sweaters laying flat on tableDRYING
Lay flat to dry.

STORING
Store flat (not hanging), out of direct light, clean and dry,
in a moth-proof bag - fabric, paper, or plastic.

Here are the reasons:
Knitted items are likely to stretch out of shape when hanging.
Wool can degrade and change color when exposed to continuous bright light.
Wool with human or animal odors can attract wool moths.

DE-PILLING
Pills can be removed from fabrics in a number of ways.
Hand plucking is a time-consuming but safe option.
wool pill remover De-pilling combs have edges that cut or tear off pills.
We use the ones that are made especially for cashmere and fine wool.
Sweater stones are too aggressive for most fine wool fabrics.
Electric fabric shavers are not recommended.
They're fast and easy to use,
but they can do serious damage to fabrics.

WEARING / USING
Elsawool clothing and other products were designed to be used,
and some were designed to be used hard.
With proper care and commonsense use,
Elsawool products will last indefinitely --
at the same size, and with the same softness and stretch, as when they were new.