Care and Cleaning of WeatherWool
We highly recommend occasional, GENTLE! brushing with natural boar brush in the direction of the nap (downwards) to remove surface debris and freshen the fabric, removing occasional pilling. But I also need to mention here that Giuseppe, who leads the team at American Woolen that finishes our Fabric, REALLY does not approve of brushing. We've been doing it for a long time, but Giuseppe says brushing will destroy the nap. I haven't really noticed that, BUT, we only brush when we have burrs or when we see pilling. Giuseppe feels his Fabric does not pill!
I've read that VELCRO will remove burrs from woolen fabrics, but have not tried it. I would appreciate hearing about anyone else's experience.
[Imported boar brushes are available for a few bucks. American-made boar brushes are around $20, it seems.]
Wool is self-cleaning and should not need frequent washing. Wool’s anti-static qualities also help keep soil particles and dust from being attracted by static charge to wool fabrics.
Regular/familiar lint rollers are widely available, very inexpensive and effective. But they do remove small amounts of fiber, as can be seen on the used roller.
Treat problem areas as soon as possible.
If you wool does not seem dirty, don't feel obligated to clean it!
You can dry clean your WeatherWool, but people have been using and cleaning wool garments for thousands of years before the invention of “dry cleaning.” Wool is naturally self-cleaning, odor resistant, anti-static, resisting dirt and dust.
Washing and Rinsing and Drying
- Hand wash in cool wash
- Use gentle detergent, wool wash, or baking soda
- Soak garment until totally wet
- Gently swish garment around in soapy water
- Let garment sit in soapy water for about 10 minutes
- Remove garment from soapy water and press excess water out
- Rinse the remaining soap out of garment with clean cool water bath
- Repeat wash/rinse process if necessary
- Block (firmly tug at garment to reshape and resize)
- Air dry flat
- To speed up the drying time, you can lay your garment on a large towel and roll into a tight cylinder. Press out water onto the towel.
- Do not wring out garment, which may cause damage to the overall shape. You can measure your clothing or trace the outline on paper to make sure you block (hand stretch firmly) your garment to desired sizing,
Garments with Mouton should be spot cleaned, or cleaned by professionals.
Australia's Merino Industry Marketing and Outreach Arm, Woolmark, has lots of information on wool in general and care and cleaning of wool in particular.
Spot Removal: Here are some suggestions from various sources. We have not tried them all! Wool will naturally repel a lot of things, and some of the following items will sit on the surface of the wool for a while, and can be wiped or hosed off for a while before these cleaning treatments might even be needed
- Food, Beer, White Wine, Alcohol, Urine, Vomit – Remove as much as possible with blunt edge. Gently dab spot with carbonated water and white rag, moving to the center of the stain. Place towel under area. Repeat as necessary. If this is not satisfactory make a solution of white vinegar, wool soap (or liquid dish soap or baby shampoo) and lukewarm water. Soak cloth in solution and blot from outside in. Rinse area with clean water.
- Blood – Dab with cold water cloth to remove as much as possible of the stain, then dab with white vinegar and let sit a few minutes. Dab with absorbent pad until clean.
- Grease/Butter, Make-up, Oil, Wax – Sprinkle oily stain with cornstarch. Remove excess with blunt edge. Dab with dry-cleaning fluid until clean.
- Grass -- Use mild bar soap or flakes mixed with lukewarm water. Dab with saturated clean cloth until clean.
- Mud – Allow to dry and then brush off dirt. Sponge with cold soapy water.
- Red Wine – Dab with cold water or immerse in cold water
- Ink -- Immerse in cold water
- Lipstock --Gently rub with white bread
- Pine Sap -- A customer told us he uses isopropyl alcohol to remove pine sap from his clothing. We found that neither isopropyl alcohol nor nail polish remover (acetone) affected the wool or the color, but we haven't tested with actual pine sap.
Store your wool in airtight containers or garment bags. You can put cedar chips, moth balls or lavender in the containers if you like the smell. Don't let mothballs contact the wool directly. And be careful with any moth balls because some moth balls have a smell that impregnates the wool. If you do use moth balls, pull the garment out, away from the moth balls, and if the garment has picked up the camphor smell you may want to try a different method of storage.
Dry cleaning will kill any larvae or eggs hidden in fabrics. Another way to kill moths, eggs and larvae is to put the garment in a plastic bag or airtight container and then into a deep freezer (0F / -18C or colder) for at least three days. Follow up the freezer treatment with storage in an airtight container with cedar chips.
You can fold the wool or hang it. If you hang, you will be best advised to use a large wooden hanger, particularly a hangar with formed shoulders. The wool is relatively heavy and using a typical "dry cleaner hanger", can pucker the shoulders before long. You can also hang the wool by crossing the sleeves over a peg.
Be sure your wool garment is totally clean and dry before storing.
Putting wet wool into storage will cause problems.
Knit Gaiters and Watch Caps
Unlike our woven fabrics, the knits can be machine washed. Use a mesh laundry bag, and insert knits inside out. Compress bag so there is not a lot of room for the knit to move around in. Use gentle soap, warm water, gentle cycle. Dry flat or in a dryer on gentle setting if you want it to shrink a bit. Do not use dryer sheets or fabric softener. You can use an aluminum foil ball (size of baseball) added to the dryer tub to minimize static electricity. Of course, you can also hand wash, room temperature water, gentle soap.
Spot clean with plain water and clean cloth. Brush with natural boar-bristle brush to freshen nap. Professionally dry clean when necessary.
Overall, though, the wool doesn't require a lot of maintenance and you don't need to be kid-gloves careful. My buddy Brad, an outdoors-media professional who wears his Anorak an awful lot, sent me this photo and description of his cleaning method:
This is how I "wash" my anorak. I leave it hanging in a tree over night after I beat the dust out of it with a stick. Sometime the wind and snow blow it around and off the tree. It's like a cold dry spin cycle, hahaha! - I didn't really mean to leave it out [in the snow] but we had some freak squalls blowing around recently.
22 May 2023 --- Debby and Ralph