Caring For Wool

Wool is an excellent fabric for all seasons. This article offers some hints to care for your wool clothing.

Clothing Basics: Caring for Wool

Wool is a wonderful fabric to keep you warm in the winter and provide a lightweight natural fabric for spring and fall. A fine, lightweight wool is also a great fabric for cool summer evenings near the ocean or lake. Wool is an expensive fabric and you will want to wear favorite items more than one season. This article offers some suggestion for keeping your wool items in perfect shape year after year.


Prince Charles' valet claims that the royal's suits need to be cleaned no more than once a year. The valet brushes the clothing and steams any wrinkles before the garment is put away. Quality wool will need little cleaning if taken off after wearing and folded or hung on a sturdy hanger. The valet recommends spot cleaning for small areas and major cleaning only when necessary.

The key to keeping wool in good shape year after year is to take the items to a quality dry cleaner. A quality cleaner is one that changes the cleaning fluid frequently and steams the items without heating the item to an extreme degree. When clothing is returned from a quality cleaner it will not have any odor. Many times cleaners will delay in changing cleaning fluid and this creates a chemical smell on wool garments. It is best to avoid these establishments.

Some wool is designed to be washable. Wool hiking and ski clothing is designed to face wet and water. When cleaning washable wool, use an appropriate mild detergent designed for wool. Do not hang the item on a hanger where the edges of the hanger can distort the wool. Place the wool item on a flat surface. Special mesh screens can be laid out so that the wool garment can be laid flat to dry, exposing both the back and front to air circulation.


Wool experiences the most damage from pests during the spring and summer months. Larva or insects damage wool when exposed to air. Bag wool sweaters in light, cloth storage bags. Cedar chests are an excellent place to store wool clothing. If you do not have space for a cedar chest, consider a cedar-sided clothing bag for the closet, or fold wool clothing and place a mesh bag of cedar chips in the closed container. Some hangers are designed for wool storage with a padded section filled with cedar chips.

Never place wool clothing in a damp place without ventilation when putting clothing away for the summer. This is the perfect climate for mildew and insect damage.

Some people place mothballs in storage with wool garments. If you add this insect product, make sure it does not directly touch the wool clothing or it could cause discoloring and weaken the fibers.

It is a good idea to air items before they are put into storage for the summer. Placing the items in sunlight will quickly destroy any odors or insect larva. It is also important to air wool clothing when it taken from storage. This suggestion is true whether the garments were stored in mothballs or simply put into an airtight storage place.


Wool can be worn for many years of enjoyment, if it cared for properly. Wearing clothing made from wool requires a little more care than cotton or synthetics, but it is well worth the care. Avoid wearing over-clothing that bunches the wool where it will wrinkle. If you carry a briefcase or computer over your shoulder, make sure it does not stretch the wool out of shape. The repetitive movement over a small area of the fabric causes damage to the coat or wool sweater.

Wool Repair

Defuzzing, defurring, or fur ball removal are all terms to describe a technique to remove the small wool balls that are created around wool surfaces that are frequently used. The cuffs, sides of a sweater or jacket where the arms touch, and around the collar are all places that can develop tiny wool balls. The area above men's back pockets, where the wallet is kept, and the arm where women carry a shoulder purse are frequent areas that need "defuzzing."

Special small battery powered devices are sold to remove the tiny wool balls. Some people recommend using a small razor to cut the balls from the wool, but this should be left to a specialist, since it is easy to cut into the wool fabric underneath.


If insects damage wool, it can be repaired quite easily. Wool clothing usually comes with a small package of fabric threads. While most people throw this into a drawer or discard it into the trash, it is important to save this package to repair wool clothing. If the package is lost, don't despair. Your clothing can still be repaired if there are any large seams or hems on the garment. Re-weavers are trained to take a small number of threads and carefully interweave them into the fabric. It is impossible to find the repair, when done well. When the repair is made, professionally dryclean the item.

Wool is a fabric that has kept its popularity for hundreds of years. Taking time for proper storing, caring and wearing of your wool garment will mean years of wear.

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