The thought of incorrectly washing a crocheted or knitted project after spending countless hours on it can be quite daunting. In this blog post, we will provide you with a comprehensive step by step guide on how to wash wool and how to care for your finished pieces for years to come.

Wool is a popular yarn choice for knitting and crochet projects due to its warmth and durability. However, washing wool can be a daunting task for beginners as well as experienced crafters.

Improper washing can result in shrinkage or damage to the fibers. In this step by step guide, we will walk you through the process of washing your wool project to ensure it stays soft and beautiful for years to come. Follow these simple steps to properly care for your woolen creations.

In this blog post, you will learn:

  • what materials you need
  • how to wash wool by hand
  • how (and when) to wash wool in a washing machine
  • how to dry wool properly

Washing Your Wool Creations

Washing wool yarn is an essential part of caring for your knit or crochet project. Wool fibers are prone to gathering dirt and oils, which can cause your project to lose its shape and become stiff. Proper washing ensures that your woolen creation remains soft, flexible, and beautiful.

Additionally, washing removes any excess dyes or chemicals that may have been used in the manufacturing process, making it safe and nice for you to wear or use your finished project.

There are several ways to wash wool yarn. Regardless of the method you choose, it is essential to use a gentle detergent (for example this one) and to avoid using hot water or harsh chemicals. Be sure to use a detergent specifically designed for wool, as other detergents may damage the fibers. Also, try to be mindful when handling fabrics - avoid rubbing or agitating the fibers, as this may lead to felting.

By following these simple steps and taking the time to properly care for your woolen creations, you are extending their lifespan and ensuring that they remain in top condition for years to come.

Materials Needed

  • Wool soap or wool detergent (try this one)
  • Cold water or lukewarm water
  • Sink or tub
  • Towels for drying and shaping
  • Optional: Mats for blocking (have a look here)

Getting Ready

Once you have determined that your project is in fact made of wool (so far, so good), check the label for any specific yarn care and washing instructions. The label will most often indicate whether the yarn can be washed by machine or by hand. It will also give you very important information on water temperature. For most wool yarns, the label will tell you not to wash your wool at a water temperature higher than 30°C (86°F).

Before washing your project, remove any dirt. You can use a lint roller or a soft bristled brush to remove any loose fibers or pet hair. This step will help prevent any dirt from getting embedded in the yarn during washing.

Step by Step: How to Wash Wool by Hand

Before you get started, note that some wool wash detergents, like Eucalan, should not be rinsed out of your wool garment. These wash detergents contain lanolin and essential oils which help keep your wool soft and free from static electricity, as well as protecting it from moths. If you are using one of these wash detergents, just skip step 5 and move on to step 6.

Here is how to wash your project by hand:

  1. Fill a sink or basin with cold water or lukewarm water, depending on the care label instructions.
  2. Add a small amount of wool wash detergent to the water.
  3. Gently place your wool project in the water and submerge it completely. Be careful not to agitate or rub the fibers, as this can cause felting.
  4. Let your project soak in the water for 5-10 minutes, then gently squeeze the water out of the fibers. Be sure to support the weight of the project as you do this, as wet wool can become heavy and stretch out of shape.
  5. Drain the sink or basin and refill it with clean water. Rinse your project in the clean water, gently squeezing out any excess water. Remove your project from the sink or basin.
  6. Unroll the towel and reshape your project as needed. Lay it flat on a clean towel or on top of a drying rack to dry, away from direct sunlight.

Step by Step: How to Wash Superwash Wool in a Washing Machine

Superwash wool is a special type of wool yarn that has been treated to maintain its shape and size even when you wash it in the washing machine. It won't shrink or felt, so it's perfect for making garments that need to be frequently laundered. However, make sure to wash it on a delicate or gentle cycle.

Here is how you do it:

  1. Choose a detergent specifically designed for wool. Avoid using fabric softeners, bleach, or any other laundry additives.
  2. Set your washing machine to the gentle or delicate cycle with cold water. Hot water can damage the fibers of your superwash yarn.
  3. To protect your superwash yarn from tangling, place it in a mesh laundry bag. This will also prevent any loose fibers from clogging your washing machine.
  4. Add a small amount of wool wash detergent to the washing machine. Follow the instructions on the detergent packaging for the correct amount to use.
  5. Start the washing machine and get yourself a nice break! You could work on your next project ... just saying.

Learn more about superwash yarns here.

Step by Step: How to Dry Wool

You’re almost there! Once you have washed your wool project, it's important to dry it properly to ensure it maintains its shape and texture.

Here's how to do it step by step:

  1. Gently remove any excess water from your project by rolling it up in a clean towel and pressing down gently. Avoid wringing or twisting the fibers, as this can cause the piece to become misshapen.
  2. Lay your project flat on a clean, dry towel. Make sure the towel is large enough to accommodate your entire project without folding or bunching it up.
  3. Reshape your project as needed, pulling it gently into the correct shape and size. This is especially important for items like sweaters or blankets that need to fit a specific size.
  4. Avoid placing your project in direct sunlight or near a heat source, as this can cause the fibers to become brittle or discolored. Instead, choose a cool, well-ventilated area to dry your project.
  5. Allow your project to air dry completely before handling or wearing it. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a full day or more, depending on the size and thickness of your project and room temperature.

Overall, the key to drying your project is to handle it gently. With a little patience and care, your wool project will be ready to wear or use in no time! Yay!!

Let's Recap

That's it! Congratulations on taking the time to learn how to properly care for your wool piece! With a few simple steps and care, you'll be able to keep it looking its best for a long time to come.

To sum it up, here are the key points:

  • Washing and drying your wool project properly is essential to maintaining its shape and texture.
  • Use a detergent specifically designed for wool and avoid using hot water, fabric softeners, bleach, or other laundry additives.
  • Gently remove excess water and reshape your project before leaving it flat to dry.
  • Superwash wools can be washed in a machine. Remember to place your project in a mesh laundry bag to prevent tangling.
  • Be patient and handle your project gently to ensure the best results.

Happy washing!