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Those winter nights are going to be with us for a good while longer if the Met Office’s predictions for snow this week are anything to go by.

Any stains are best treated as soon as possible, either by spot cleaning with a gentle stain remover like ACE, working inwards so the stain doesn’t spread. Use the reverse side of the stain, handle carefully and remember: rubbing = piling. ACE is suitable for use on woollen items and has been approved by Woolmark – just make sure you follow the instructions and directions on labels sewn to the garment.

It’s vital to check the item’s care label whether it’s a cosy jumper or soft blanket – and whatever you do, don’t be tempted to chuck your garments in the dryer!

If your jumpers or blankets definitely need to be dry cleaned, it’s best to limit the amount of times you take them to get them done so their lifespan is maximised and wear and tear is minimised.

Items that need handwashing can benefit from being turned inside out and washed in cool/lukewarm water with an appropriate, gentle detergent. If you’re tempted to use your standard laundry liquid, be aware that while the formulation should be alright with ordinary wool, it might contain high levels of carbonates rather than phosphates. This can sometimes result in calcium deposits, making very soft fibres feel rough.

Give your woollies a little gentle stir, then leave to soak for a few minutes. Make sure you don’t rub or pull as you will damage the wool. Rinse twice and press to remove any remaining water. As tempting as it might be, do not wring it out. Keep your wash time to a minimum. Once the garment is submerged and gently washed, take care to get it out of the water fairly swiftly. The longer you keep your garments wet, the more they are likely to bleed or fade.

If you’ve got the time and energy to hand wash woollen items it’s worth getting rid of most of the water by using a clean towel as a sort of blotter. If you roll up the towel with your woollen clothes in it to create a wool-filled burrito/Swiss roll shape, this will help to absorb any excess water.

Once you’ve unrolled the item it’s best to try and air dry it flat to avoid misshaping. Keep it away from direct sunlight and away from heaters.

The easiest to care for are machine-washable woollies, which should be washed on the ‘wool’, ‘gentle’ or ‘delicate’ cycle. If your washing machine lacks these settings then you can use a pillow case to put the soft fabric in and put it on a cool wash.

After machine washing simply give your jumper or blanket a gentle shake, reshape and dry flat.

Finally, make sure you know your ABCs of the different fibres that make up your winter wardrobe.

  • Alpaca comes from the softer fur of Alpaca’s, the cuter cousin of the llama
  • Cashmere comes from the hair of a Cashmere goat
  • Merino is a very soft, fine type of sheep wool
  • Mohair is from Angora goats, while Angora is rabbit hair

  • Fun fact

    Did you know: Moths hate cedar so if you are in a position to keep your woollies hanging up it’s worth investing in hangers made from this wood, above plastic versions. But don’t hang them up while still damp as hangers will stretch wool.

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