Wool is a natural fiber with wonderful resilient qualities when knitted or woven into fabric. If a wool garment is wrinkled, simply hanging up the item and allowing the fibers to relax in a humid environment like a steamy bathroom may eliminate the need for ironing. However, ironing wool clothes to remove deep creases is appropriate, but it must be done correctly.
Follow these tips on how to iron both woven and knitted wool or cashmere clothes:
Use a Pressing Cloth
A pressing cloth or pressing mesh is a must when ironing wool clothes and one of the essential tools of ironing for many fabrics. Without one, you will have shiny marks or scorch marks left on the surface of the fabric caused by the iron overheating the wool. The shiny marks develop because the wool fibers are fused together due to the excess heat. Scorching is the next step that comes because the iron was so hot it began to burn the fibers.
A pressing cloth is simply a piece of fabric that is used between the face of the iron and the item you are ironing as a protective shield. Pressing cloths can be purchased at fabric stores or online. You may also use a white cotton dish towel, a piece of muslin, a white handkerchief, or any cotton fabric that will not transfer color or dye to your garment.
Choose the Right Type of Iron
You'll have the best results by using a steam iron. This is an iron that has a well to hold water and vent holes that allow steam to escape the iron and penetrate fabrics. When you're ready to begin, put the iron's setting on "wool" and make certain that you have water in the steam iron well. If your iron does not have a wool setting, follow these temperature guidelines for specific fabrics.
If you don't have a steam iron, you can successfully remove wrinkles from wool with a dry iron by adding moisture to the pressing cloth. Wet a clean white woven cotton towel and wring out most of the water. Do not use a printed or colored towel because it might transfer dye to the wool due to the moisture and high heat. You can also lightly spritz the wool fabric with cool water and use a dry pressing cloth. Use a mist sprayer and a light touch. Never iron wool with dry heat only because the fabric will easily scorch.
How to Get Started When Ironing Wool
Use a sturdy, padded ironing board and turn your wool garment inside out, Always press on the wrong side of the fabric even when using a pressing cloth. This will prevent a shine from appearing on your garment if the iron is too hot.
If the wool fabric is heavily textured or nubby, put a thick cotton bath towel over the ironing board to prevent crushing the surface texture. Again, always use a pressing cloth and iron on the wrong side.
Use steady pressure and do not leave the iron in one spot for more than ten seconds. When you are finished, turn the garment right side out and hang the garment from a sturdy hanger to dry completely before wearing. This will help prevent deep wrinkles from forming if you wear damp wool.
HELP! I Did Something Wrong.
If you happen to slightly scorch a napped wool fabric, allow the fabric to dry completely and rub the scorched area lightly with an emery board. A diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide and water may help remove a more severe scorch on light colored fabrics. Mix one tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with one cup of water. Use a clean white cloth to gently scrub the area. Rinse well by blotting with clear water. Be sure to test on a hidden area first. Allow the fabric to air dry completely and repeat if needed.
If you forgot to use a pressing cloth and your wool fabric is shiny, try sponging white distilled vinegar on the shiny area on the surface of the garment to lift the fibers. Rinse thoroughly by blotting with a cloth dipped in clear water and allow to air dry.