WOOL FABRIC CARE

WOOL FABRIC CARE


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CARE FOR WOOL FABRIC: A BASIC GUIDE

As with most fabrics, your wool fabrics will look good for years to come with proper care. While certain general rules of wool fabric care must be observed at all times, there are also certain specialized routines that you should know about.

The most important general rule in your wool fabric care routine is to let all wool clothing rest for at least 24 hours once you wear them so the fibers shed their wrinkles and return to their original shape. For this reason, it is best to hang woolen garments in a damp bathroom after wearing so that the moisture will remove wrinkles. However, if your woolen garment gets seriously wet, you should dry it at room temperature away from a strong source of heat.

While woven garments should be hung on padded hangers with the closures zipped, knits should be lightly folded in placed in drawers. If your woolen garment picks up loose particles of soil or dirt, use a moderately stiff brush to gently remove them. For knit wool fabrics, you can use a moist sponge to remove soil. At any event -- as with any other fabric -- you must promptly remove spots and stains from wool fabric.

If you need to clean your wool fabric more thoroughly, you are advised to follow the manufacturer's care instructions closely. Though most wool fabrics require dry cleaning, some can be hand- and even machine-washed. In the latter cases, use only mild detergents and avoid hanging up a woolen garment to dry when wet. Instead, spread out to dry away from direct sunlight.

As many of you will know to your cost, wool fabrics are vulnerable to damage from the larvae of moths and carpet beetles, which feed on keratin present in the fibers. However, if you keep your wool fabrics clean, there is no reason why such damage should occur. Basically, the larvae are drawn to patches of fabric soiled with food stains or body oil. Thus, the best method for protecting wool fabrics from insects is to keep them clean. As a thumb rule, brush your fabrics after you wear them every time and preferably store them in clean, airtight places. Though this may be difficult to arrange in a domestic setting, storing wool fabrics at temperatures under 4C significantly reduces chances of insect damage.

When pressing wool fabrics, always use steam and set the iron on wool. Do not press wool fabrics totally dry and whenever possible, press on the reverse side. If you absolutely must, press on the right side of the fabric using a press cloth. Instead of sliding the iron back and forth, lower and lift it.

If a wool fabric is soiled, remove the stain promptly. Usually, wiping gently with a damp sponge soaked in soapy cold water or a mild dry cleaning solvent does the trick, but some stains may require special attention. Here's a list of some of them:

Blood: Blot with common starch paste and rinse from back with soapy water
Coffee/Tea: Sponge with glycerin or warm water
Glue: Sponge with alcohol
Iodine: Treat with cool water followed by alcohol
Rust: Sponge with weak solution of oxalic acid until stain disappears. Then sponge carefully with household ammonia and rinse with cold water
Lipstick: Gently rub white bread over area

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