The time has come to take out all those pretty woollens out of your wardrobes, and with them comes the responsibility to wash and maintain them. But very strangely, wool is one such fabric that needs to be washed much less than that of most other fabrics. It is a fabric that is hypoallergenic, regulates temperature and can repel odours.
But even after that, if someone wants to wash their woollens, they need to remember three basic things:
1. Wool, by nature, repels dirt and is self-cleaning. It is antibacterial too. All you need to do is hang it outside in the open for a few hours, and let it regenerate itself.
2. Use only wool or silk wash or shampoo for your woollens. These shampoos are pH neutral and don’t contain the enzymes that will break down the molecules of wool. Mild baby shampoos could also be used.
3. You can always hand-wash if needed. Mixed or synthetic fibre warmers could be machine- washed but not the delicate ones.
Winter Wear is of a variety and each needs a specific type of washing and care. Be it knitwear, cashmere poncho, cardigans and shawls, or jumpers.
Pashminas are a fine variant of well-spun cashmere. Pashmina has probably been derived from the Persian word pashm meaning wool.Surprisingly, both Pashmina and generic Cashmere come from the same Changthangi goat.
Pashmina sweaters drape beautifully, feel soft, warm and they last a lifetime.
- Hand-wash the pashmina sweaters in lukewarm water, and use a baby shampoo or a mild detergent. Soak it for a few minutes, gently rub the soiled area. Rinse with fresh lukewarm water to remove the excess detergent.
- Do not twist or wring. Dry it by spreading it flat in between two dry towels.
- Machine wash is a big no-no for Pashmina sweaters.
These sweaters are made from man-made fibres, which dissipate moisture easily and are usually available in a variety of colours. And they are super durable too. These can be both hand and machine-washed.
- Delicate acrylic sweaters should be hand-washed in warm water and a mild detergent. Soak for five minutes and wash thoroughly with clean water.
- Do not twist or wring, rather roll the sweater in dry towels, and let the latter soak the water as much as possible.
- You can machine wash too. Put it in with warm water, a gentle detergent and wash it in the delicate mode. And dry in a similar manner when hand-washed.
Blended Wool Sweaters
These usually have 80 per cent wool, and 20 percent synthetic fibre, giving it, the warmth and softness of wool and the sturdiness of a synthetic fibre. This too can be both hand and machine-washed.
- If you choose the hand-wash method, give it a gentle wash with cold water and mild soap or shampoo. Press it to remove excess water.
- Towel-dry it on a flat surface and leave it to dry in the air.
- For machine-washing, wash it in cold or lukewarm water, a bit of mild detergent.
- But do not wring or put it in a dryer. Softly squeeze the excess water, and let a dry towel soak up the rest of the water. Keep it for air drying in a shade.
Merino Wool Sweaters
As the name suggests, the sweaters are made from the wool produced by the Merino breed of sheep. It is softer, thinner yet richer (texture wise), than regular wool. They are perfect for rough usage. They are lightweight and odour-resistant. This requires least washing but if you want to wash it, you have to be very gentle.
- Hand wash the merino wool sweater using cold water and a mild detergent suitable for delicate garments. Soak the sweater for around 5 minutes and rinse well in cold water. Wash it thoroughly but gently.
- Merino wool sweaters are not to be washed in a machine washed usually, but some can be machine-washed, but only in the delicate using warm water and just a little gentle detergent. Turn the sweater inside out and put it in a bag, and go for a short spin.
- The drying in both the cases remain the same. Do not wring the sweater. Lay it flat on a dry towel, or keep it between two dry towels and dry it. Then leave it in open air, away from direct sunlight to dry.
Cashmere Wool Sweaters
These are durable and super warm. The fibres, usually produced from cashmere or pashmina goats is closely associated with Kashmir shawl, and some believe that the ‘cashmere’ has been derived from the anglicisation of the Indian place Kashmir, when Kashmir shawls reached Europe in the 19th century.
- Cashmere sweaters or shawls need to be washed in tepid water and a mild detergent or baby shampoo. You can soak the sweater in the soapy water a little more than the rest. Rinse in tepid water until the detergent is washed out.
- It is better if you can avoid washing these in the washing machine.
- The drying process remains the same as the rest. Not to be wrung but towel-dried, and to be laid flat away from sunlight.
Plus Size Jumpers are probably the most widely worn knitted winter wear. Ask the salesperson or look at the description before buying about the material or jumper you are getting. And the rest is all mentioned in this article. Take good care of your woollens and they might serve you a lifetime.