Friday, March 01, 2013

Cleaning My Woollens

I have been slowly eliminating synthetics from my wardrobe for the past few years, while at the same time developing an even keener appreciation for wool, magical fibre of wondrousness.

A lot of people think of wool clothing as difficult to launder, but this isn't true. Wool, being originally created to cover an animal, is also constructed to naturally shed dirt. So, a lot can be done just with a natural-bristle brush and maybe the odd mist of water from a spray bottle. If you've been sweating in it, a little cool water and an hour or so hung in a breezy spot will take any unpleasantness right out.

My favourite way to clean my woollens is to hang them outside - dry - on a windy day. This time of year is perfect - damp air and constant breeze make every day a laundry day. And if it should come on to rain while your stuff is hanging outside, all the better. Just make sure it's dry before you fold it and put it away, and you'll be golden.

The camera did some weird things on this shot.

Another great thing about this method is that it really discourages moth activity in your house. Moths like to be left alone in a dark, undisturbed corner to sleep in their little flossy cocoons, and then to emerge hungry and munch on your wool. The more you can get your wool outside and moving around - and here I'm referring to yardage, too, if you're a knitter or a sewist - the less appealing it will be to moths.

I left my four sweaters, three skirts, and my husband's suit jacket out for around three hours in a cracking wind. By the time I brought them back in, my arms were full of clean, cold, and almost unbearably fresh-smelling wool. No chemicals, no washing machines, no detergents, no dry-cleaning bill. The next time I see a good windstorm brewing, I'm going to run four wool blankets and two duvets out on the line.


Thanks, sheep!


Dave Hingsburger said...

That sheep is thinking: Ah go knit yourself.

Anonymous said...

one little caveat - this isn't a great thing to do for those with allergies in the spring. Learned that the hard way (sorry honey).

Otherwise I love putting almost anything out on the line in the wind!

kristieinbc said...

If you are trying to convert your wardrobe to wool have you considered buying wool underwear? I'm perfectly serious! Icebreaker makes some wonderful merino underwear. They are a bit pricey, but last for a long time. I have some I bought over two years ago that are just like new.

Shan said...

Kate - allergies definitely an issue. I'm blessed to be free of them.

Kristie - I used to have some wool underwear...they do last a LONG time. Not too available around here, except undershirts, of which I have three!!

Dave - that sheep is HAPPY to help!

Gwen said...

Why do I love this post so much??? I can almost smell the fresh outside smell on your woolens!

This post also reminds me of your [very old] post called "A Stitch in Time," or something similar.

Gwen said...

Ahh, it's "Saving Nine," and it's here:

Shan said...

Ah....I remember that post, too. Jeepers, it was more than four years ago! Hey-day...25 comments or something. Whaddya know about that!

kristieinbc said...

Shan, Icebreaker has an online store. :-)

Shan said...