Being a natural fibre, wool is great at keeping itself clean and therefore does not need to be washed frequently. Many stains can be removed by gently removing excess dirt with a soft brush, rinsing the spot with cold water spot-cleaning and airing. You will be amazed at how well they last with very little care, and very infrequent washing.
However wool does not like to be mechanically cleaned and therefore you have to be exceptionally careful when doing so. We want your product to last for generations and therefore we have compiled the ultimate guide to wool blanket care.
Why does wool shrink when washed?
If you were to look at a woollen fibre under a microscope you would see that the fibre is not smooth but made up of interconnecting scales or links.
If during any stage of the cleaning process these fibres are rubbed together too much, they slide underneath one another, ratcheting up into tight links of fibre which produces the shortening of the length of the woven yarn. This also produces the visible felting, which is permanent and not reversible.
What detergent should I use to wash wool?
Use a proprietary brand of woollen detergent which normally will contain silicone. This coats the fibres during washing, enabling them to slip against each other rather than rub, which reduces felting.
The biggest cause of damage to wool garments when washing comes from using biological detergents or detergents containing bleach or bleach activators as these are all strong alkalies which can seriously damage the structure of the wool fibres.
How should I wash wool?
This is how to wash our picnic blankets by hand. Use lukewarm water only for all stages. Lukewarm feels just warm on your hands.
1. Fill a bath with lukewarm water.
2. Add the suggested amount of mild, wool-safe detergent and mix around. Do this before putting the blanket in to reduce the agitation to the wool.
3. Lay your blanket on top of the water and push down into the water.
4. Let the blanket soak for a couple of hours. This allows the wool to become completely saturated, which helps stop it shrinking whilst washing.
5. Do not rub, scrub or wring your blanket! Doing so will cause the wool fibres to rub against one another and felting will occur.
6. To wash the blanket, push it down under the water, lift it out and gently squeeze out the water. Repeat as necessary.
7. When done washing, lift the blanket up and gently squeeze out the water.
8. Run another bath of lukewarm water (this time without any detergent and use the same motions to rinse the blanket.
9. Rinse by using the same motion of pushing down, lifting and squeezing until the water runs clear.
10. Squeeze out as much water as possible without wringing.
How should I dry wool?
Wool can easily lose it's shape when wet, so take great care when transferring it from the washing area to the drying area.
Lay your blanket flat face down on some thick dry towels and roll up the towels. Unroll and squeeze the towel to remove more moisture. Leave to air dry. Lie as flat as possible to help retain it's shape and out of direct sunlight to avoid discolouration.
How should I store wool blankets?
Wool blankets should ideally be stored flat, but given this isn't possible in most cases, they should be folded carefully with no weight on top of them.
The straps on the King blankets should be untied to avoid the wool directly underneath becoming crushed.