Caring for Wool Blankets

Caring for Wool Blankets

There is nothing better on a cold winter night than snuggling up under a warm wool blanket. Wool is the soft curly hair that covers certain animals. Generically called wool, this natural fabric can come from sheep, rabbits, camels, or goats, but most common wool blankets come from sheep hair. Wool blankets are known for their durability and warmth, but there are a few things to keep in mind when caring for your wool blankets so they will continue to keep you toasty for several winters to come.
 
Follow the Manufacturer’s Label Directions
Above all else, follow the directions carefully on the manufacturer’s care label. Some wool blankets can be machine washed, while others must be dry cleaned. If the incorrect cleaning method is used, the wool can be damaged causing the fibres to break down. This will lead to the wool blanket deteriorating much faster than it should. It’s important to follow the directions carefully for washing and drying to avoid permanently ruining your wool blanket.
 
Hand Washing
If you have purchased a wool blanket, or have been given a blanket with no care label, it is best to try hand washing it as this is usually the least damaging way to clean a material. Steps to hand washing wool blankets are:
  • Place the blanket in large sink filled with warm water and a mild detergent. If possible, use a brand such as Woolite that is made for using with wool and delicate materials.
  • Cover the blanket completely with water and soak for approximately three to five minutes.
  • Gently agitate the blanket and carefully squeeze all sides of blanket, but do not wring.
  • Rinse the blanket completely with cool water. It is important that no soap should be left in the blanket when you have finished rinsing.
  • Gently squeeze it to remove all the water. Again, do not wring.
  • Dry on a flat surface away from heat and sun. Do not hang a wool blanket, as the weight of the water can cause the blanket to stretch and become misshapen.
  • Do not put wool blankets in dryer, as this can cause them to shrink.
Removing Stains from Wool Blankets
If you spill something on your blanket, it is best to clean it up right away so it will not set. Use a cloth to soak up spills, but do not rub the area as this will drive the stain farther into the wool fibres. There are several wool fabric cleaners on the market to help with deeper stains. If your blanket is dry clean only, it’s best to take it to the dry cleaner immediately.
 
Dust and dirt can be removed by brushing the blanket lengthwise with a brush. Summer is a good time to clean blankets, since you won’t be using them anytime soon. Once clean, store wool blankets in an airtight blanket storage bag to keep fresh until the first chill comes back in the air.
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