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Blankets made out of wool are oh-so-cozy, but it needs a good cleaning as soon as disaster strikes. We’re human, and accidents are bound to happen, even though wool is naturally stain and moisture resistant. But you can’t wash a wool blanket like a regular one. It will shrink drastically and be ruined if you toss it in the wash in hot water, just like your clothing and cotton blankets.
However, when a wool blanket is properly cleaned and maintained, it can last your entire life. After all, this natural fiber is hypoallergenic, flame retardant, and durable. If you find yourself googling “how to wash a wool blanket” in a panic, we’ve got your back with this detailed tutorial so that your wool looks brand new after every clean.
Materials Needed to Wash a Wool Blanket
- Brush with soft bristles
- Comb for depilling
- Vinegar/wool detergent
- Washing machine
- Several towels
- Clothesline/drying rack/shower rod
How to Wash a Wool Blanket
1. Shake it out in the open air to lift dirt and debris.
2. Use your brush to remove more dirt, stroking in the same direction
3. Remove stains by soaking them with vinegar and water and blot dry when complete.
4. Unless it says “dry clean only,” you can wash it at home.
5. Using a wool-safe detergent, set your machine to a gentle or delicate cycle, letting it run for a couple of minutes before canceling and switching to a rinse cycle, which is run till completion.
6. Repeat rinse if you see suds.
7. No washing machine? You can also hand wash with lukewarm water and wool soap, soaking for 10 minutes.
8. Once the cycle is done, place your wool blanket on a bed of towels to remove extra water. You can also roll it in towels to absorb the water. Lay flat and don’t wring.
9. Now it’s time to air dry since a dryer will damage the wool. Either hang on a clothesline in sunlight or somewhere in your home using either a shower rod or a drying rack.
Wool Blanket Maintenance Tips
- If your blanket has holes, sew them up, as these holes will just get bigger during washes and lead to a more expensive repair.
- Regularly shake your blanket out, brush it with your soft brush, and hang it somewhere outside to air it out. This dramatically reduces the need for washing.
- When it’s not in use, store it in a dark place like a lidded bin, protecting it from moisture, sun, and moths. Consider adding cedar chips, which are a natural moth deterrent and less stinky than mothballs.
- Use sparkling water on fresh stains, as the air bubbles can trap and pick up the mess.
- Don’t wash your blanket too often, as it can decrease its lifespan and cause damage.
- Never wash your blanket in hot water or put it in the dryer, which can shrink it.
Best Detergents for Wool Blankets
1. Woolite Delicates Hypoallergenic Liquid Laundry Detergent
Woolite is pretty much the holy grail of pre-formulated wool cleaning products, and it has been for decades. Unlike other regular detergents, this one contains zero harsh ingredients like bleach and phosphates. Instead, their uniquely delicate ingredients multi-task, working to enhance color and smoothes out fibers while reducing pilling. This detergent is suitable for both HE and regular washing machines, keeping your wool blanket looking new. You can also use it on satin, silk, and cashmere.
2. Perwoll for Wool & Delicates
Another solid alternative to Woolite is Perwool, which rinses clean and never over-suds. One buyer says, “I’ve been using this product ever since I lived for a period in Europe. It’s noticeably better than Woolite and was one of the first to be able to use in a front loader machine”. If you don’t live in Europe but want to get your hands on high-quality wool cleaner that won’t strip your blanket but cleans it effectively, consider this soap.
3. The Laundress New York Wool & Cashmere Shampoo
BEST FOR CASHMERE
The Laundress has made a name for itself as one of the most trusted brands in the luxury laundry space. Designed for sweaters, this cedar-scents shampoo works just as well on more oversized blankets. If your mouth is agape at spending this much on a bottle of detergent (one where a little goes a very long way), just Google the cost to clean your generously sized wool blankets at your local dry cleaner. We’d put money (that you saved) on this light detergent keeping your blankets in great shape and smelling better than any dry cleaner out there.
4. Eucalan Lavender Fine Fabric Wash
BEST FOR HANDWASHING
This bleach-free, premium fine fabric wash for machine and hand-washing is scented just the right amount with relaxing lavender, earning it almost exclusively 5-star reviews on Amazon. One buyer was intimidated to tackle cleaning a 45-year-old vintage woven wool rug. Rather than shelling out cash on an expensive professional clean, got the same results by using Eucalan at home. It also contains lanolin, an oil that can help preserve the softness of your blanket over time.
5. KnitIQ No Rinse Delicate Wash Liquid Detergent
BEST FOR CROCHETED BLANKETS
Fortified with lanolin, this plant-based wash for delicates isn’t just advertised to work on wool — it’s specially formulated for crocheters and knitters, so you know they mean business. The size and shape of the bottle and the style of dispenser make it easy to customize liquid and ensure that you don’t pour too much. It comes in a small, travel-sized option, as well as a bigger bottle if you have multiple wool goods at home.
6. Woolite Detergent Pacs
BEST LAUNDRY PODS
If you’re traveling with your wool blanket or wool clothing and need something less messy than a liquid wool detergent, consider these convenient little spill-proof packets that keep delicate fibers clean and intact. Woolite Detergent Pacs are also suitable for home usage, as over 3,000 highly-rated Amazon reviews indicate. Remember that these packets are only made for the washing machine, not for hand washing.