How to Care For A Wool Jumper: Washing, Drying & Storing

With its warmth and rugged resilience, wool is a cornerstone of our collection. Knitwear is a timeless wardrobe staple that offers natural breathability, enduring style, and warmth that carries you through the winter. When properly cared for your wool jumper could be with you for decades, and in this guide we’ll talk you through exactly what to do to keep yours going for as long as possible.

How Often Should I Wash My Wool?

With its natural antibacterial properties, you actually need to wash wool garments far less than you’d think. The fibres are naturally anti-microbial and anti-odour, so can feel fresh again simply after being hung outside for an afternoon. 

Before the modern washing machine, woollen clothing wasn’t washed at all during the winter months – instead being hung out, beaten and brushed to give them a refresh. When spring eventually came, the garments would be soaked in cold or lukewarm water with simple lye soap, rinsed and hung back out to dry, before being put away ready for the following winter.

How To Wash Your Wool Jumper

Despite needing less washing than most people expect, eventually your wool jumpers will need a little TLC. When you do eventually come to wash your wool jumpers, there are some key factors to keep in mind and common mistakes to avoid.

Use cold water: Wool fibres have microscopic scales on their surface that interlock and contribute to wool’s natural strength, elasticity and ability to resist water. Hot water can cause these scales to lift and open up, which can result in fibres moving and potentially binding together more tightly as they cool. Washing at temperatures of 30°C or lower will help to keep the wool fibres more settled and less likely to shrink or lose their shape. 

Mild detergent only: Despite its strength, wool is still a natural fibre and harsh chemical detergents can take their toll quickly. We recommend using a mild eco detergent that is wool-friendly to ensure your garment retains its softness and the colour is not affected. 

Hand wash or machine wash with care: Gentle hand washing in cold water is probably the best way to care for wool jumpers. If you’re machine washing, however, turn your jumper inside out and pop it in on a cold wool setting – with no spin cycle, as this can felt the wool.

Watch Our Knitwear Washing & Drying Tutorial:

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How To Dry Your Wool Jumper

This is where many people encounter problems, and drying incorrectly is one of the most common ways to shrink or warp your knitted wool jumpers. Using too high a heat or spin cycle will cause the fibres to become agitated and re-bind more tightly when they cool, resulting in a shrunken jumper. Here’s how you do it without risking the life of your favourite wool jumper: 

Towel blotting: This simple technique helps to get excess moisture out of the jumper before flat drying – without wringing out, which can also lead to misshapen garments. After washing your jumper, lay down a towel and place the knitwear flat on top of it, before rolling them both into a sausage. Gently squeeze your towel sausage to absorb the water from the jumper then unroll the package and lay your knitwear flat to dry.

Flat drying: Drying knitwear by hanging it on a clothes hanger or line can lead to the fibres extending under the pull of gravity, stretching out your jumper. To maintain its shape, dry your knitwear flat and out of direct sunlight. You can even help reshape the knitwear whilst it’s damp to make sure it springs back into the desired shape as it dries. 

Do not tumble dry: Tumble drying is a sure fire way to shrink your wool jumpers. The high temperatures and intensity of the spin will agitate the fibres, causing them to felt and shrink. Simply put - never tumble dry woollen knitwear.

How To Store Your Wool Jumpers

When putting your wool jumpers away for the summer it’s important to remember they’ll be stored for quite a while. So it’s essential that we prep them properly before putting them away to avoid unwanted damage. 

Before tucking your jumper away for the season, make sure it’s completely clean and dry. Any lingering dirt or moisture can attract unwanted guests like moths, and you won’t find out until you break out your jumpers the following winter.

As when drying a jumper, try to avoid hanging it as this can lead to stretching. Instead, fold it neatly and store the jumper flat on a shelf or in a drawer.

Use breathable storage places and try to avoid plastic storage bags. If there is even the slightest bit of moisture left in the wool this can get trapped in plastic storage and lead to mould or moth infestations.

For added protection against those troublesome insects, there are natural solutions that will thwart any invasion. Cedarwood is a natural moth repellent, whilst Lavender is also effective as a preventative. Both are relatively cheap, natural and leave your knitted jumpers smelling of forests and meadows. 

Beyond Washing: Caring For Your Wool

We’re committed to keeping our knitwear going for as long as possible, and stand by the quality of their construction. Beyond the day-to-day, sometimes your wool jumpers may need a little extra care, but we’ve got you covered… 

Darn that hole: small holes in knitwear are easily mended, so don’t throw that jumper away at the first sign of wear and tear. Either jump into our at-home tutorials to learn how to darn yourself, or book in a repair with our expert menders through the Lived & Loved service.  

De-pilling made easy: over time most knitwear will develop small balls of fabric over the surface of the jumper known as bobbling or pilling. Use one of our handy wool combs and run it over the surface of the fabric to remove these bobbles and keep your wool jumpers looking fresh. 

Always, always read the label: if in doubt, always check the instructions. Incorrect washing and drying is often the way that good knitwear gets ruined, so before throwing it in the washing machine always make sure you’ve read the instructions carefully.

Quality From Sheep To Shelf

We love wool, and we also love the sheep who produce it. We work closely with our partners to ensure the quality of our wool is of the highest standard and the sheep who grow it are treated well. That’s why 99% of the wool sourced for our collections in 2024 was certified non-mulesed, and we want to increase this to 100% by 2025.

Built to stand the test of time (when cared for properly) we hope you enjoy your knitwear for years to come.