Wool Care for Your Handknits

The New Year is the perfect time to go through all of the knits in your wardrobe (handmade or otherwise!) and maintain them the way they deserve: Wash them with Wool Soap and tidy their storage area, protected with the sachets in the Wool Care Kit. Do any mending using the Darning Mushroom, Bone Tapestry Needle, and Double Ended Crochet Hook. Prepare your wardrobe for another amazing year of wear and have them looking their best! 

We’ve made it easy with our simple, step-by-step guide below! You can explore our curated collection of wool care products here.

Step 1: Set Up & Take Stock

Take an inventory of your wardrobe (handmade or otherwise!). This is a good time to tidy up your current storage situation and set aside a workspace for cleaning and mending your garments. Do you have enough storage space for the garments you intend to wear? Can you pack away some clothing for another season? It’s never too early for a little spring cleaning and/or Konmari moment (or two). Can't see yourself wearing or using a handmade item or some stash yarn in the near future? Contact your local thrift stores and nursing homes to give them a good home in your community.

Step 2: Inspect & Assess 

Now that you’ve organized your clothing storage and set up a workspace, it’s time to dive in. Identify the needs of each piece—does it have loose yarn, holes, runs, pilling, or stains? Set yourself up for success by creating a checklist of to-do’s with notes for each piece. This can be a little overwhelming at first, but once it’s down on paper, you can prioritize what to work on first.

Step 3: Mend It

Now that you’ve identified all the needs of each piece, it’s time to get out your mending toolkit. There are many ways to approach this step, but we take inspiration from Katrina Rodabaugh’s book, Make Thrift Mend, which is chock-full of slow fashion inspiration. Whether you are a sewer or not, this comprehensive book has all the information you need to embellish and extend the life of your wardrobe. Repair your go-to jeans, use a Darning Mushroom to repair holes in your handmade sweater or socks, add decorative patches or embroidery to pieces to extend longevity, fix runs with our Bone Tapestry Needle or a double-ended crochet hook—you’ll never run out of ways to express yourself while you mend. Have a garment that’s pilling? Place it on a flat surface and then use a small pair of scissors or a razor blade to carefully remove fluff and pills.

Step 4: Clean It

We suggest this simple method for washing and lanolizing your wool and wool-blend garments—here's what you'll need: 

  • T&H Wool Soap or Wool Soap Bar
  • Lukewarm water
  • Basin or sink big enough to submerge your entire garment
  • A garment in need of refreshing, cleaning, and/or lanolizing
  • Mild detergent and a clean rag (optional)

First, if any of your woolen garments have stains, we recommend addressing them by spot-cleaning with a mild detergent and clean rag. To avoid any discoloration, be sure to spot test your garments with the detergent in a discrete area. Once stains have been removed, garments may be added to the washing queue.

To clean your woolen garment, start by filling an appropriately sized washbasin with enough lukewarm water to cover your garment. As you fill it, pour 1-2 capfuls of liquid Wool Soap into the water (more for larger basins and larger garments). If using the Wool Soap Bar, lather your hands and gently squeeze the suds through your garment, or softly run the soap bar over its surface and work in gently. Add more soap as needed.

Submerge your garment in the basin and give it a gentle squeeze and swish or two. This will help clean the yarn and allow the fibers to take the lanolin in. Do not agitate too muchkeep it gentle! If the water clears, your garment is probably still “thirsty” for more lanolin. Add another capful or two. Soak for 5 to 15 minutes.

Our Wool Soap and Wool Soap Bar are gentle enough that rinsing isn't necessary. If you prefer a light rinse, or if there’s significant dirt, grease, or grime in the water, take your garment out of the tub, drain the remaining water, and add fresh water. Submerge the garment once more and then remove. Gently squeeze out excess water—do not wring out or twist your piece, as this may stretch out or damage the wet fibers. 

Lay your garment flat on a towel, and roll the towel up firmly to blot out excess water. Unroll the towel and wet-block to desired measurements. Do not hang your garment to dry, as this will stretch it out.

Once dry, squish the garment in your hands, bring it up to your nose and face, and take in the loveliness of your clean, refreshed, softened garment. (This step is mandatory).

Step 5: Store It

Keep your woolen garments safely stored, ideally in a cedar-lined chest or drawer. Take care of your prized knitting and yarn with our Wool Care Kits, available in either Rosemary & Lavender or Maine Pine & Red Cedar scents. Both herbal options are a fantastic natural alternative to pesticide-laden moth balls, and effective at keeping damaging pests at bay. Each Wool Care Kit comes with a Wool Care Guide card, one herbal sachet, one 5ml glass dropper of organic essential oil (to keep sachets refreshed and effective), one medium muslin bag (for storing accessories or special skeins of yarn), and one bottle of unscented Liquid Wool Soap.

Step 6: Wear It

Now that you’ve prepared your wardrobe for the new year, it’s time for the fun part: wearing it! We hope you found this guide helpful, and feel prepared to get your wardrobe ready for the new year. Explore our entire line of quality wool care products in our Wool Care Collection. Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below!

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