How To Care For Wool And Cashmere Sweaters and Clothes

sheep wool
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In case you've forgotten or never knew, wool and cashmere clothes are made from natural hair fibers from a sheep, goat, alpaca or llama. These fibers are composed of protein. Think of your own hair. It is also protein and you certainly don't want to use harsh chemicals on your own head! Same goes with wool.

Washing Wool And Cashmere

Dry cleaning is often recommended for wool clothes but is it necessary?

Structured wool clothes like outer coats, blazers and men's suit coats should always be dry cleaned. While the wool fabric is washable, the fabrics used to create the inner structure may be destroyed or become misshapen when washed. There is no way to reverse the damage once this happens.

Most unstructured wool pieces like sweaters, scarves or accessories can be hand washed or washed on the delicate cycle in an automatic washer.

Always use cool water and a gentle detergent. Knitted wool garments should never be over-agitated or wrung tightly or the knit may stretch. Read all stain removal product ingredients carefully. Wool fibers will dissolve in chlorine bleach. Even dilute solutions of chlorine bleach will cause permanent yellowing, color loss, stiffening and weakening of wool. Stain removal products should be tested in an inconspicuous spot like an inside seam before using.

Never place any wool garment in an automatic dryer on high heat.

You will end up with a shrunken garment that is often - but not always - impossible to restore.

Home Dry Cleaning

Home dry cleaning kits can be used by following all product instructions to freshen wool garments. If the clothes are heavily stained, it is better to take them to a professional cleaner.

Whether you use a home kit or professional cleaning, always clean both pieces of a suit. This will prevent mismatched items if there is any color loss from cleaning.

Ironing Wool Or Cashmere

Extremely high temperatures when ironing wool can scorch just as it does silk or other natural hair fibers. The scorching or yellowing occurs as the fibers begin to burn. Burned fibers cannot be revived. Always select the correct iron temperature setting and use a pressing cloth between the iron and the fabric.

Protecting and Storing Wool And Cashmere Clothes

Wool is especially attractive to pests who feed on the natural protein fibers. Learn how to protect wool clothes during storage and how to get rid of pests that damage wool.

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