Wool is a valuable resource with many unique properties. The natural fibers are naturally antibacterial and self-cleaning, and have breathing properties that help regulate our body regulate temperature, whether we’re feeling hot or cold. Wool has a tremendous capacity to absorb vapor – up to 30% of its own weight before it feels damp or wet. In other words, wool also keeps you warm even when wet.
Antibacterial, dirt-repellent and self-cleaning properties give wool unique advantages when it comes to garments and textiles, and you can easily refresh your woolen clothes by hanging them out in the fresh air, instead of washing them. This saves both energy and detergents, while also extending the life of your garment.
Wool is also known for its excellent breathability and ability to regulate body temperature, and is the ideal choice for both cold winter days and cooler summer evenings. Regardless of the weather conditions, this material can keep you warm and comfortable while allowing the body to breathe and stay cool.
“The biggest mistake most people make is to wash wool incorrectly and wash it too often”, says Gro Eide, Dale's Quality Controller for 30+ years. “My best tip for preserving wool garments for as long as possible is not to wash them too often, and instead hang them out to air.”
Wool sweaters are sustainable, timeless and versatile garments that can last a lifetime if you take proper care of them. To keep your wool sweaters lasting for many years while retaining their excellent quality, we’ve put together six top care tips from Quality Controller Gro Eide:
1. Less washing, more care: Wool sweaters don’t need to be washed as often as other garments. Limit washing and instead hang wool out to air after use. This helps to preserve the wool's natural properties and extends the life of the garment. Another good piece of advice is to hang the garment for airing in a room with high humidity, such as the bathroom when you shower. It is also worth letting the garment rest by not wearing the same garment day after day.
2. Gentle stain removal: If you get a stain on your wool sweater, avoid washing the entire garment unless absolutely necessary. Instead, gently remove the stain using a damp cloth. This reduces the risk of unnecessary wear on the fibers.
3. Store your wool clothes correctly: When you’re not using your woolen sweater, Gro recommends storing it lying down instead of hanging it. This prevents the sweater from being stretched out over time. Also, make sure the sweater is clean and dry before putting it away. A sealed container can protect it from moths, dust and dirt.
4. Hand wash or machine wash? If you use the wrong washing machine program, leave woolen garments in water, soak, or wash in too hot water and wash too vigorously, the garment can shrink. So do check the washing instructions on the wool sweater carefully.
If it is marked with a hand wash symbol, we recommend washing the garment by hand at 30 degrees with a suitable wool detergent. Do not wring the garment. Instead rinse thoroughly and squeeze out the water with your fingers. If, on the other hand, the label has a machine wash symbol at 30 degrees, you can safely wash it in the machine on a gentle wool program with a detergent intended for wool.
5. Careful drying and shaping: After washing, it is important to dry the wool sweater properly. Lay it flat on a towel or drying rack and gently shape it back into the correct shape if necessary. Avoid hanging up wet wool sweaters as this can cause them to lose their shape. Remember that wool doesn’t usually withstand tumble drying, and, if in doubt, always let the garment air dry.
6. Pilling removal: Yarn consists of several wool fibers that are spun together into a long thread. When wool garments are worn and washed, individual fibers can loosen and form small balls or pilling as they roll up. The pilling usually form as a result of friction, such as when the wool garment comes into contact with a seat belt or a bag.
When washing woolen garments, there is also a risk of lint forming, especially if the machine is too full. The amount of bobbles forming varies depending on the type of yarn and knitting strength. Generally speaking, the looser the yarn is spun and knitted, the higher the risk of snagging. It is also individual, and some people get more bobbles than others. Fortunately, the bobbles are easily removed, either with a bobble remover, or by gently removing them with your fingers.
Wool is a natural material with unique properties that have kept us warm over hundreds of years. By treating our woolen garments with love and care, we can extend their lifespan, maintain their excellent quality and thus contribute to a more sustainable wardrobe and future.