How To Wash A Wool Blanket (And Keep Them Soft)

As the cooler months slowly creep in, it’s only natural to grab a cozy and warm wool blanket or don a wool sweater. The fabric is long-lasting and doesn’t hang on dirt as much as others. Thus, you don’t have to do much to keep them clean. Wool should be washed sparingly. At most, all it needs is a bit of airing out in between each use.

However, even if they don’t collect much dirt, there will still come a time when you need to wash them. Unlike linen, wool blankets or sweaters can be pretty temperamental when it comes to washing and drying. Indeed, a wool garment needs careful attention to detail. 

To Wash or Dry Clean?

Wool fabrics are resilient but need gentle handling. New wool is hypoallergenic and fire-resistant. However, it can still catch a few stains here and there. Wool blankets should be handled gently during the wash.

Before you wash or dry clean any wool garment, you should check the product care label first. Some wool can handle hand washing or even machine wash. However, some wool items are dry-cleaned only. If you worry about deforming them, it’s best to let expert dry cleaners do the job. If you want your wool to last a lifetime, you should take the time and effort to care for them.

How Often To Wash or Clean Your Wool Blanket

If you are frequently using your wool blanket, you can wash them once every three months. Fresh wool blankets are hypoallergenic. Mold, mildew, and bacteria can’t thrive on their surfaces. This characteristic makes them suitable for people with allergies. They are also water repellent and thus require less cleaning. Indeed a wool sweater or blanket is resilient, but washing wool needs utmost care. 

Because they are delicate, a wool garment doesn’t need frequent washing. The easiest way to clean them is to hang them outside for a few hours. It’s best to air-dry your wool blanket or clothing under indirect sunlight. Doing so will keep them clean and fresh longer. Unless there is a stain, you can opt-out of washing a wool sweater or blanket with water. 

How To Clean a Wool Blanket

You don’t have to wash wool blankets or garments every time after use. A lot of times, wool prefers to be left alone. This fabric contains lanolin, which is a waxy material that protects it from outside elements. Thus, wool blankets are considered self-cleaning. But, it’s still good practice to maintain your wool garment clean, even between washing. Here are some tips you can do to keep your wool sweater or blanket fresher in between washes:

Use proper ventilation

By simply airing out your wool blankets or sweaters, you can get rid of loose dust and dirt that clings to the fabric. The air that flows through the wool fibers gently removes the solid specks of dust from its thread. Let your wool sweater or blanket hang outside for a few hours. Make sure you shake off the fabric before taking them inside.

Scrub wool fibers gently

A soft-bristle brush works great in removing dirt. To clean a wool garment, lay the item on a flat surface and brush the wool in the direction of the grain. 

Use a special de-pilling comb

Wool is notorious for pilling. It’s a result of the normal wear and tear of fabrics. Pills are formed when wool fibers start to come loose. It’s best to remove pills using a bobble remover or a special de-pilling comb. Doing so will keep your wool blankets looking good. When used on wool, bobble removers untangle the fibers to make them soft and smooth.

Spot cleaning a wool blanket

Wool has natural water-wicking properties. However, it doesn’t exempt them from catching stains. Once you spilled something on your wool blanket, it’s best to act fast and deal with the mark right away. Before you deal with the wool stain, always check the product care label. If it says the wool garment or blanket is dry clean only, then take it to a professional dry cleaner. Here’s how you can spot clean your wool blankets or garments:

  1. Fill a spray bottle with 1/2 cup vinegar and one cup cold water. Never use hot water as this will expand the wool fibers.
  2. Spray the affected area with the vinegar solution. Using a clean cloth, blot the wool blanket gently. Observe for any color transfer. If there is color bleeding, it’s best to take the wool garment to a professional dry cleaner. If the color does not transfer to the cloth, you can repeat the process until there’s no stain.
  3. When it comes to drying wool, it’s best to use a clean, dry cloth to remove any excess moisture from the garment. You can then let it air dry afterward.

How To Wash a Wool Blanket

When it’s time to give your wool blankets a much-needed wash, you can opt to hand wash them. If you don’t have the time, you can use the gentlest cycle in your washing machine to clean them. Washing wool can be tricky. Here are tips to help you get by cleaning your wool blankets without damaging the fabric.

Hand washing wool

Delicate wool fabrics such as virgin lambswool, cashmere, and Merino usually need hand washing. Here’s how to hand wash delicate wool sweaters or blankets:

  1. Fill the sink with cold water.
  2. Add some wool detergent to the water and mix it well.
  3. Soak the wool blanket in soapy water for 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Rub any stained spot with your fingers. Avoid rubbing wool fibers together to prevent pilling.
  5. Rinse the wool garment with cold water.

Machine washing wool

Most wool blankets or garments cannot be machine washed. All the spinning and tumbling in the washer can ruin the delicate fabric. However, you can machine wash wool fibers that are sturdy such as a Pendleton blanket. Here’s how you can wash sturdier wool fabrics in the washing machine:

  1. Fill the washing machine tub with cold water. 
  2. Add a wool-safe detergent into the drum.
  3. Soak the wool blanket in soapy water for around 15 minutes. 
  4. Set the washing machine to the wool cycle if available. If your washing machine doesn’t have this option, you can use the gentlest cycle to run your load. Let the washer run for two minutes.
  5. Cancel this cycle after two minutes and switch it to rinse.
  6. Complete the rinse cycle. If there are any remaining suds, set the machine to another rinse cycle.

How To Dry Wool 

Always remember that the hot water from the dryer can shrink wool fabrics. Thus, it’s imperative to ditch this process. To dry wool properly, follow the tips below:

  1. After rinsing, lay down a light-colored dry and clean bath towel on a flat surface. Make sure the towel is lint-free.
  2. Place the rinsed wool blanket on top of the blanket and roll the blanket with the bath towel. 
  3. Knead the towel gently to remove excess water. Never wring the wool blanket to retain its shape.
  4. Gently knead the towel by hand into shape and size, and remove as many creases or folds as possible.
  5. You can use a special garment drying mesh to dry the wool sweater or blanket fast. This drying mesh can fit in most bathtubs.
  6. It’s best to lay down wool sweaters out of direct sunlight and allow them to air dry. Line drying wool or knitted clothing can cause them to stretch because of the water content. 

Storing Your Wool Blanket

  • Before storing your wool blankets for autumn or winter, make sure that they are completely dried.
  • You can then store them in a cotton bag or a breathable container. You can add a few cedar shavings to repel any insects that may infest wool blankets. These wood shavings leave a pleasant smell to the fabric. Mothballs were previously used to prevent insects from infesting wool blankets. However, mothballs leave a distinct smell that sticks to the cloth. 
  • Store them in a cool, dry place that is away from direct sunlight. 

In Conclusion

It’s completely fine to wash your favorite wool blankets once the cold months are over. Just be extra gentle when dealing with them. Don’t forget to bookmark this page so you’ll know what to do the next time you need to wash your cozy wool blanket.

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About Margaret Croom

Peggy is a contributor and editor at Tidy Diary. She is a proud mother of three children who inspired her to level up her tidying skills. She enjoys her me time by lounging in her favorite nook with a lovely cup of tea. She also keeps a handy diary.