Caring for Wool Articles 3

Earlier this week we made a Wool Wash Bar and a Wool Conditioner to take better care of our wool items. Today I will show you how to properly wash your wool items to avoid felting them (causing them to shrink), stretching, or otherwise distorting their shape.


To start, fill a sink with tepid water. We don’t want hot water, but we do want it a little warm so we can make sure the garment or article gets clean. Use your wool wash bar to soap your water, agitating gently to get some suds going. Once your water is slightly soapy, then it’s time to add your wool item.

Ready to Wash Wool Vest

Wool vest ready to be washed.

Filling sink with tepid water

Filling sink with tepid water.

Soaping the water

Soaping the water.

Pressing wool garment under the water

Place the wool garment in the sink and press it under the water.

Once you have added your wool article to the sink of soapy water, gently press it under the surface of the water. Continue to press the wool item under the water for a few minutes. Doing this helps make sure that the item is not agitated. Agitation will cause the wool to felt. You want to be super gentle with wool once it gets wet.

When you are finished with the wash, drain the water. Do not lift the wool item out of the sink. Now that the wool is wet, it is very easy to distort the garment.

Refill the sink with fresh water to rinse all the soap off the fibers. Again, gently press the garment under the water, then drain the sink.

Vest in Soapy Water

Wool vest sitting in soapy water.

Rinsing Soap from Vest

Rinsing the soap from the vest after draining the soapy water.


Carefully transfer the item to a different sink or a colander. Rinse the empty sink and fill with water again. Take about a lima bean-sized amount of the wool conditioner and mix it into the water. I find rubbing the conditioner into my hands prior to adding to the water prevents large particles of conditioner from not mixing into the water.

Filling sink for conditioner

Filling sink for conditioner.

Adding a SMALL amount of wool conditoner

Adding a SMALL amount of wool conditioner.

Water ready for wool vest

The conditioning treatment water is ready for the wool vest.

Pressing vest under water with wool conditioner

Pressing the vest under water with wool conditioner.

Place the wool item  into the water. Gently press under the water. Continue to press for a few minutes. You will be able to feel the texture change under your finger tips. It is similar to using conditioner in your own hair.

Drain the sink again without disturbing your wool article. Fill the sink again with tepid water. We want to rinse any excess conditioner from the fibers. Press the garment under the water to insure it is rinsed well. Drain the sink for the final time.


Gently fold up your item and transfer it to a bowl or colander. Lay a large bath towel out on the floor. Place your wool garment on it and lay it out. Starting from the bottom of the garment, roll upwards towards the top.

Once it is rolled up in the towel, press the water out of the wool garment. You can even kneel on the towel if you need to. Remember to just press. We are not wringing it out. Just pressing.

Rolling up vest

Rolling up the vest in the towel.

Pressing out excess water

Pressing out excess water.

Unroll the towel. Gently transfer your wool garment to a flat surface where it can dry. Do not hang it or hold it up. This can stretch and distort the shape of the item. Allow the garment to dry. Placing the wet garment in an area that has a lot of air circulation speeds up the drying time.

Once your garment or wool article is dry, you can now wear and use it like normal. It just has the added bonus of being clean and soft! How wonderful is that?


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About Taylor

I'm a twenty something happy, animal loving, curious experimenter. I love reaching back into history and trying old recipes for cosmetics or foods. I'm constantly asking "Why?" My curiosity has me trying new things. I love taking walks with my dog as well as staying at home to cuddle with the dog and my cats. Some of my favorite scents include Hinoki Wood, Rose Garden, Jasmine and Gladiator.

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3 thoughts on “Caring for Wool Articles

  • Grey Dove

    Lovely piece, thank you.

    If I might add a couple of tips? Wool has good memory so unlike other fibres (cotton, alpaca llama) it will spring back into shape if you treat it right. So if you want it to retain and display its best shape allowing it to soak undisturbed for at least half an hour (to allow the fibres to fully absorb the water) is very helpful.

    As you stated not agitating is important, as is not shocking the garment with any dramatic switches in temperature. If your water has cooled then best to use a slightly cooler water when you rinse or continue washing.

    And nothing wrong with squeezing! A lot of lace knitters like a salad spinner to help get excess water out of their smaller items, and many do what I do, give it a spin (ONLY SPIN) in the washing machine. Absolutely amazing how much faster drying goes after that.

    (And for anyone who wonders if my knits are then not worth having, you are welcome to checkout my ravelry page ( where Every garment shown has gone through the processes I am describing.)

    Positioning the garment just right to dry is so important. If it is lace or a sock (for example) gently pressing, tugging and shaping the garment can be very helpful in returning it to the correct size and design. But even a sweater is best after it has been “blocked”, make sure the sleeves are the same length and that the front and back fall correctly from the shoulder seem. It is amazing what a wash and block can do to restore a mishandled piece of clothing.

    For lots of fabulous information about wool you may want to visit: where knit designer and spinner extraordinaire Jackie E-S has many articles about the fibres she loves and the best way to handle and care for them.

    Grey Dove

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